Outdoor Advertising Ideas

Outdoor Advertising Ideas

When done correctly outdoor advertising can be one of the most impactful forms of marketing there is. The right advertisement can act as a monument to your brand that exists in the physical space your clients live their lives in. Outdoor advertising is harder to ignore than many other forms of advertising, but to achieve the maximum impact, it should be creative. A basic billboard might get your message across, but if you really want people to stop and think about what you have to say, then you need to present you.

Donatos Pizza Billboard

Consider the power of cross-promotion.

Outdoor advertising really takes off when it plays with people’s expectations. We’ve all seen two advertisements placed side by side, but they never interact. This unique ad from pizza brand Donatos plays with expectations to create a hilarious and eye-catching ad. It’s also worth noting that this sort of idea opens up all sorts of opportunities for cross-promotion. Creative companies can team up to create a billboard that delivers twice the punch at half the cost. That’s thinking outside the box.

Mars Tongue Billboard

Turn two billboards into one ad.

Here we have another advertisement that is created by combining two separate images. It takes full advantage of three-dimensional space to create an image that is impossible to ignore. It also presents a unique and vivid take on the subject matter, one look at that stretched out tongue is enough to tell you that it’s licking one cold candy bar.

Fedex Creative Billboard

Convert a vehicle into a moving billboard.

Drawing comparisons between your business and your competitor is always tricky, but FedEx found a brilliant way to turn their delivery trucks into ads with a cheeky message. A simple decal turns an average truck into a humorous and attention-grabbing jab at the company’s competition. Just putting your company’s logo on your vehicles might be fine for some, but there’s power in going beyond what’s expected of you.

Tailgating Billboard

Go beyond the flat image.

Take full advantage of the fact that outdoor advertisements don’t need to be completely flat! It might cost extra to add depth to a billboard, but if you’ve got a great idea, then the return on investment can be tremendous. People see flat ads all day long, give them something that comes out at them, literally!

Electronic Billboard Ad

Use electronic ads to tell a story.

Any one of these images would make a fine advertisement on its own, but when you see all three images in sequence, you get a message that is more than the sum of its parts. All too often people are content to purchase just one of three slots on a board like this and hope that they’ll stand apart from their competition. This ad shows that this sort of technology can be used to convey simple but powerful messages using sequential storytelling.

Hotwheels Billboard

Build off of what’s already there.

When creating an outdoor advertisement, you don’t have to build everything from scratch! By working with whatever is already in place you can increase your impact without dramatically increasing your budget. Look at this ad and imagine how much more Hot Wheels would have had to pay if they wanted to put up an entire fake bridge. But instead, they used an existing structure and made a big point at a relatively low cost.

Mini Outdoor Advertising Idea

Put up ads that work with people around them.

This ad from Mini Cooper does a great idea of telling people that their vehicle is more spacious than it looks at first glance. It does this by taking advantage of the space it is in and the way people exist within that space. When planning your next outdoor ad, you need to think about how it will exist in the chosen space and how people will interact with it.

McDonalds Creative Billboard Idea

Use technology to remind people that it’s time for them to pay you a visit.

McDonald’s gets a lot of business by staying open around the clock, but not all of their locations is open around the clock. This is tricky to deal with, when people are up late at night they might be hungry but they don’t want to waste time visiting a restaurant that isn’t open. This sort of message encourages people to pay McDonalds a visit while assuring them that they’re open and ready for business.

For more outdoor advertising ideas check out our other article on the best outdoor advertising campaigns.

Advantages of Digital Billboard Advertising

Advantages of Digital Billboard Advertising

The billboard is changing. The use of computer screens as advertisements has been around for a while but in recent years billboard-size digital displays have reached a new level of affordability. Digital billboards aren’t just for high-end brands with big pockets; it’s time for everyone to consider whether or not digital billboards are right for their marketing campaign. Digital billboards offer a range of benefits over their traditional counterparts and in this article, we’ll look at each specific advantage of digital billboard advertising with some examples that show the power of this cutting-edge advertising tool.

Target Pollen Billboard

Digital billboards can update in real time

Thanks to the internet people have different expectations about how advertising works. They spend hours staring at screens that display advertisements tailored to them. Ads today know our names, our locations, and what we’ve been looking for. Digital billboards might not be able to reach this level of customization, but they can still utilize the latest technology to deliver a timely message. This is one of the major advantages of digital billboard advertising.

Look at this digital billboard advertisement from Target. It’s a powerful reminder of allergy season that utilizes the latest pollen count. It’s a brilliant combination of useful information and powerful marketing that is sure to stand out in a world flooded with advertisements.

Fox Time Sensitive Billboard

Digital billboards can display time-sensitive messages

Have you ever gotten excited by an ad for an event only to realize that its time had already come and passed? Many companies waste money paying for advertisements that will outlive the events they are advertising. Digital ads can cut down on waste by automatically switching over at certain times.

Take this advertisement for the TV show “Hell’s Kitchen” as an example. Traditionally advertisements for a weekly TV show would have to run all week long, even though the show wouldn’t be on six out of the seven days. But with digital billboards, a TV channel advertising on a billboard can make sure that it always advertises the shows that viewers can watch immediately after they see the ad. It’s a great way to increase the ad’s return on investment.

Digital Billboard Strategy

The same digital billboard can display two entirely different advertisements just minutes apart from one another

A traditional billboard can only display one advertisement at a time, and it can take hours of work to transition from an old ad to a new message. This isn’t the case with digital billboards. A digital billboard can be loaded up with multiple messages that it cycles between on a set schedule. Companies that advertise on digital billboards can buy the perfect amount of advertising for their needs and budgets. This means that there’s no reason to pay extra to monopolize an entire billboard if you think you can do just as well sharing the space. Say goodbye to one-size-fits-all ad buys!

Dogers Digital Billboard

Digital billboards can convey a sense of urgency

Most people are procrastinators by nature. If they can put something off, they will. Companies lose sales all the time because of this. Customers might plan on making a purchase, but they decide to wait until later and end up never spending a dime. To overcome this tendency it’s important to create a sense of urgency, and digital billboards are uniquely equipped for this task.

Just look at this advertisement for Dodgers Baseball. It has a timer ticking down, which can have a big psychological impact on those who pass. It reminds them that time isn’t unlimited, that they need to act quickly if they don’t want to miss their chance to see a game. A traditional billboard might be updated every day, but a digital billboard has the advantage of ratcheting up the urgency with updates by the hour, minute, or even second.

Digital Billboard Advantages

Digital billboards can engage with customers on a grand scale

One of the best ways to ensure repeat business is by building a deeper connection with your customers. In the past billboards used to be a highly impersonal type of advertising but digital billboards can facilitate interaction between you and your customers. Just check out this campaign by Pattison Onestop and Spacing Magazine. They asked for people to tweet out love letters to Canadian cities and then broadcast those letters across the cities. Traditional billboards might have been able to display a single message, but the digital billboards could display hundreds of messages a day.

People got to see their own words on billboards across the country, news outlets got a patriotic story to tell, and Pattison’s shopping centers gained plenty of fantastic PR. It’s the sort of marketing-win that digital billboards enable.

bMedia Digital Billboard

The world is moving quickly and billboards need to keep up with the change of pace

Information travels faster than ever in the age of smartphones. Traditional static billboards were invented in a world where news traveled at the speed of the newspaper. Today even 24/7 cable news channels are too slow for media consumers who are hooked into a constant stream of social media messaging. If you want to keep up in this environment, then you need the sort of flexibility that digital billboards can offer.

Spotify 2018 Funny Ads

Spotify Funny Billboard Ads

Billboards are a popular advertising medium because they’re a great way to get a simple message to a lot of people quickly and affordably. They can target people based on the location where they will be viewed, and they often have a captive audience who has no choice but to notice the sign.

But, in the internet age, are they becoming less useful? Do we depend on electronic targeting and digital technology to get our point across?

No, not with a little creativity. In fact, one recent campaign of Spotify funny ads is a perfect example of how outdoor advertising can be even more successful than something posted online.
Spotify Funny Ads

Thanks 2016, it’s been weird

In November of 2016, the online music streaming service Spotify launched a global campaign of funny ads using billboards. Each sign contained messages that were localized for the markets where they appeared. The messages were crafted using Spotify data to find what people were listening to, and they often matched with specific and memorable events that occurred that year. Then they added in a strong mix of humor to make sure they were entertaining, and splashed them proudly on billboards.

Some messages were specifically for the local audience, such as this one in the UK:

“Dear 3,749 people who streamed “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” the day of the Brexit vote, Hang in there.”

Others showed where the data came from, but still could work anywhere in the world, like:

“Dear person in L.A. who listened to the “Forever Alone” playlist for 4 hours on Valentine’s Day, you ok?”

Spotify 2018 Funny Ads

Indirect Brand Advertising

One thing you’ll notice about these Spotify funny ads are that they don’t say anything specific about what Spotify does. They all refer to people listening to songs, so they imply that the company has something to do with playing music, but it doesn’t have any other information about why you would want to use the service. They assume that everyone who would use them to stream music already knows about their offering and how it works, or is smart enough to pop the name into a search engine.

This saves valuable real estate on the sign to show the new look of their brand, and it doesn’t distract from the humor.

Funny Music Ads Spotify

Showing Their Fun Side

One of the biggest reasons that companies go with ads that deliver some sort of emotion is because they give personality to a brand. This works in the case of Spotify, because one of their main purposes is to offer entertainment. These signs weren’t music to your ears, but they probably caused you to laugh a little bit. This adds to an overall image of a company that will make you happy, and you’ll subconsciously remember that when choosing which website to get your music from.

Funny Spotify Billboard Advertisement

Relevant to the Time

Another brilliant aspect of this campaign was how it was relevant to the time. 2016 was a busy year in the world, and there were many celebrity deaths, unexpected political situations, multiple international crises, and a lot of other difficult or surprising events. Social media users had become used to blaming everything on 2016, and this campaign played right into that – in a non-depressing way. It even managed to take all that distress and turn it into something funny.

Billboards Going Viral

One of the common concerns about billboards is that they’re not as likely to go viral as something that’s easy to share online. This campaign helped prove that not only are billboards not outdated, but the number of digital cameras out there may make them more likely to go viral than an image saved on a website. A campaign has to be made correctly, but physical objects can be less likely to get lost in the noise.

Spotify Hilarious Billboard

Big Data in a New Way

Speaking of going viral, this Spotify funny ads campaign used another buzzword that’s popular in the internet era: big data. Many companies are gathering and cataloging massive amounts of data from their customers, and most are still trying to figure out what to do with it. This information is a dream for marketers and advertisers (especially in the online space), but this is a creative use of it that many hadn’t thought of. Big data in an ironic way really stood out.

Brexit Spotify Billboard

Grab Attention with Your Billboards!

This example with Spotify is just one of many recent campaigns where outdoor advertising was still going strong in the 21st century. It’s often a good idea to balance it out with the other advertising media you use, but it can be a strong way to boost sales and build brands in many different industries.

Reach out to us if you have any ideas you’d like to discuss seeing on a sign, and we’ll be overjoyed if it’s a funny campaign like this that will spread the laughs around!

Billboard Technology Puerto Rico

Billboard Technology

It is a common misconception held by many people that billboards are an “outdated” and “old school” form of advertisement. Oftentimes television ads, websites, or even social media platforms are pushed as the most current and relevant forms of advertising. Despite this, billboards have not gone away and have not become any less useful for spreading a message. Instead, the medium of physical billboards has advanced from new technology becoming available. We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of billboard technology examples which show some of the options which are possible and how they can be used effectively.

New Billboard Technology

Digital Screens And The Power Of Movement

Screen technology has changed the world. From televisions, to phones, to computers- screens are everywhere. High quality digital screens allow for moving, non-static video to be displayed virtually anywhere, and billboards are no exception.

The ability to have a short video play on a billboard gives advertisers so much more power when it comes to both grabbing an audience’s attention and sending a message.

Video billboards effectively manage to combine all of the strengths of a television ad with the benefits of physical billboards.

bMedia Billboard Technology

Static vs Dynamic Content

What’s more is that digital billboards also make it easy to display and change content. Instead of having to worry about the costs associated with the manual labor of actually putting up a billboard, the content can instead be sent directly to the billboard. Digital billboards are also capable of changing between multiple messages, allowing advertisers to alternate between different ads. This has allowed for digital billboards to completely change their pricing format given that such billboards can now host many more advertisement slots at once.

Individual ads are also able to display content which may be time sensitive or reliant upon outside data. While in a traditional billboard the message must be static and hold true at any time during all conditions, the message on a digital billboard can change depending on the time of day, weather conditions, or some other factor.

When messages are able to be tailored around certain fluctuating factors, many opportunities for very convincing marketing strategies open up.

Billboard Technology Target

People Looking At Billboards, Billboards Looking At People

While billboards are things to be looked at, what if a billboard were to do some looking of its own? Technology these days does not stop when it comes to displaying dynamic information, as digital cameras and pattern recognition make it possible for billboards to identify trends within a crowd and change their information accordingly.

While this type of functionality might sound far fetched, one such example of it includes the Picadilly Lights display in London. On top of having a huge display space, with the ad’s 4K LED screen being the size of two professional basketball courts, the ad is able to detect ages, emotions, and vehicles in order to adjust the content it shows.

As digital ads online have taught us, the best advertisements are targeted. Being able to leverage ad targeting with billboard technology continues to escalate the strength of billboards as an advertising medium.

Digital Billboard Screens

Big Screens For Big Events

The huge size and quality of new digital screens allow them to be incredibly versatile and multi-purposed. In addition to displaying ads with dynamic content on them, it is also possible to leverage the space in order to display important or popular events, such as a baseball game or concert. Those wanting to draw people to a public space with their event will find their efforts greatly enhanced by making use of such digital billboard technology.

Coke Advertising Error

Funny Advertising Fails

Advertising is all about creating associations. People who see a clear message alongside your brand will connect the two in their mind even if they don’t consciously realize it. But this effect is a double-edged sword; if someone attaches their brand to a poorly made advertisement, it can really hurt their image. Of course, if an advertisement is so bad that it’s funny then people share it online. So these advertisements are either fails or successes depending on whether or not you believe that all publicity is good publicity.

What Does That Say?

If you’re having trouble reading this on a screen that’s standing still imagine trying to read it while you drive past at more than sixty miles per hour. This sign seems like a real traffic hazard. Even if you can read it the slogan “see your teeth as we do” doesn’t feel worth the effort required.

Funny Advertising Fails

Hunters and Hygienists

So I’m confused, are they holding my dental hygienist hostage? Listen, it’s great if you have hobbies and sometimes you can even work your favorite pastime into your ad campaign. But your job and your hobby need to align in some way for it to work. All this sign makes me think of is my teeth mounted on the wall beside some antlers.

Hitchcock Dental Advertising Fail

Quality Control is Crucial

Even great designs can blow up in your face if the idea isn’t executed correctly. This ad must have looked great on the screen it was designed on but because the people putting the sign up didn’t put care into their work the whole impact was ruined. It just goes to show how important everyone, from the ad executive down to the person who actually has to physically put the ad up.

Coke Advertising Error

Diabetes, Straight Ahead

This sign placement is either incredibly unfortunate or ingenious. If the diabetes sign was there first, then McDonalds made a huge mistake. But if the McDonalds sign was the original sign then the people at the Ad Council found a great way to spread their message and make people question their unhealthy eating habits.

Diabetes Straight Ahead

Join the Fun!

Because of the way the picture was cropped we can’t tell what the full sign says. What we can say for sure is that this sign seems to be encouraging people to die, and that’s always going to be a bad advertising move.

Funny Advertising Error

Celebrating Remarkable Women

Mixing social issues and personal promotion always requires a tricky balancing act and the people behind this sign handled the challenge with the grace of a boozed-up bull in a china shop. Honoring women is a worthy goal, but when that’s your goal you probably don’t want to make it look like your company doesn’t have any female leadership.

Billboard Advertising Fails

Love Your Curves

On the topic of mixed messages, here we have another case of good intentions and poor execution. If you want to sell your product to women who identify as curvy, then you should probably hire some models who aren’t so skinny. This advertisement manages to feel pandering, tone deaf, and insulting all at once. In that way, it’s actually quite an accomplishment!

Love Your Curves Billboard Fail

This is Bland Flavor

Always triple check your font choice. Look at it yourself, show it to a friend, then show it to a stranger. If the designer behind this ad followed those steps, someone might have pointed out that the cursive I and S come together to look like a B, turning “island” into “bland.” It doesn’t help that the food in the picture ranges from black to brown to white. A little bit of garnish might wouldn’t have hurt.

Bland Flavor Advertising Fail

Technical Error

Just as technology has opened up new avenues for success, it has also created plenty of new chances for failure. In the old days, a billboard ad would never need to be rebooted. Then again, this might be a good advertisement if it was put up by one of Intel’s competitors as a way to paint their products as faulty.

Technical Error Billboard Advertising Fail

1-800-CALL

Last time I checked 1-800 numbers needs a few more numbers than this. What are the last three numbers? I know that CALL translates into 2255 but what three numbers do you get out of four generic looking lawyer types? Who thought this sign was complete? So many questions, so few answers.

Hilarious Billboard Fail

For more humorous advertisements check out our article on: Funny Signs and Billboards.

Toyota Climbable Billboard

Toyota Billboard – A Climbable Billboard

A good advertisement is not just about pushing a product- it’s about solving a problem. After all, at the core of strong businesses is the desire to change the world in some fashion, not just to make money. When an advertisement comes along and is able to challenge the way its audience sees the world, it promotes the vision of its company. An example of such an ad can be found in the form of an innovative campaign run by Toyota some time back.

Toyota Billboard

The Climbable Billboard – What Is It?

There are multiple layers to this advertisement. First, an incredibly large amount of billboard space was bought depicting the vehicle in front of a cliff face. This works on a traditional billboard level, as the car in front of the cliff is supposed to evoke a feeling of wonder and adventure- all normal stuff for a car ad.

You know those artificial rock walls that can be found inside of recreational sports centers? Something similar to that was created for a billboard advertising the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

While parts of this advertisement indeed resemble your average billboard, don’t be so easily fooled. Unlike your usual billboard with faux 3D elements, the rocks on this billboard are designed to handle the weight of a human body and are fully climbable. The height of this artificial rock wall clocks in at a dizzying a 120ft.

Three professional rock climbers and one brave amatuer climber took on the trial to scale the side of this wall, surrounded on all sides by the towering skyscrapers of New York’s Time Square. Each of the climbers demonstrated their climbing technique to amazed onlookers in real time, encouraging them to go out and seek adventures of their own.

Billboard Toyota

Who’s Behind The Ad?

The ad agency responsible for this campaign is none other than the LA branch of the famed Saatchi & Saatchi. Despite being based out of Los Angeles, they decided the best spot for such a large and innovative campaign would be New York’s Time Square, which has been home to some of the most creative (and expensive) physical media ads over the years.

It was here in Times Square that Saatchi LA were not only able to capture the attention of the denizens of New York, but the entire world as reports of the impressive campaign spread across the internet through articles such as this one.

What Were The Results?

Toyota New York Billboard

The ad itself stood as the largest outdoor climbing wall ever built in New York city, earning itself a record which will certainly give New Yorkers and record buffs a reason to remember it for quite some time. However in terms of pure fiscal results- the sales of the Toyota RAV4 hybrid in 2016 and 2017 have shot up in comparison to previous years. It’s annual sales figures for 2016, the year in which the ad aired, were the highest in the vehicle’s history.

The campaign was bold enough that famed advertising publication, Adweek, suggested that such an ad may have “redefined the billboard.”

Toyota’s commitment to the message behind their lines of outdoor SUVs was conveyed through the passion that was put into this ad. Given the increased sales figures, it’s only safe to assume that this passion was properly conveyed and inspired many to go on adventures of their own.

For More Outside the Box Marketing Ideas Click Here.

Best Outdoor Advertising Campaigns

The Best Outdoor Advertising Campaigns

Creativity is a crucial part of any successful outdoor media campaign. With billboards being a very popular form of marketing all over the world, there’s no shortage of great examples to choose from. We’ve analyzed a variety of outdoor media from all over the world and put together our list of the best outdoor advertising campaigns out there!

McDonalds: What Time Is It Billboard

McDonalds What Time is It Billboard

Sundials have been a method of telling the time since some of the earliest parts of human history. This creative outdoor advertising campaign uses this method of time tracking in order to bind together the “time aspect” of its message, by linking the actual Earth time dynamically with the ad.

Tylenol: Wrecking Ball Billboard

Tylenol Wrecking Ball Outdoor Media

For whatever reason, painkiller commercials and billboards seem to be in love with visual metaphors. Most of the time, this is in an attempt to show empathy for those that struggle with frequent headaches and migraines. It’s as if they are saying, “We get your pain- we have a solution.”

Pond’s:  Little Pore Cleaning Guys Billboard

Ponds Pores Creative Billboard

Speaking of visual metaphors, here’s another good outdoor advertising campaign. The concept of “little men” doing tasks beyond the range of the visible eye is a very common one which helps allow people to have trust and understanding in the process that takes place.

McDonalds: BIG Mac Billboard

Big MAC Creative Billboard

This ad doesn’t even need to use words to get its message across. “This burger is so big, it can’t even fit on two billboards.” While of course, the burger’s depiction on an ad isn’t representative of its actual size, it serves as an easy visual shorthand which clicks with the brain naturally.

YMCA: Basketball Billboard

Creative Basketball Billboard

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA~ Nostalgic 1970’s throwbacks aside, this outdoor advertising ad campaign is an effective combination of form and function. Instead of simply showing an image of the inside of one of the YMCA facilities, this ad instead deigns to bring a piece of the facility to the viewer themselves.

LEGO: Constructing With Bricks Billboard

Lego Construction Billboard

This creative outdoor media is less of a billboard and more of a dynamic outdoor art piece. This ad uses the contrast between the concept of LEGO as a child’s construction toy and the serious nature of real-world construction in order to grab the attention of its audience.

Nestle: This Candy’s For The Birds Billboard

Nestle Bars Billboard

Anyone who lives in a major metropolitan area will no doubt be familiar with wild flocks of birds terrorizing parks and restaurants in the attempt to scrounge up food. This ad uses this familiar visual in an attempt to demonstrate how desirable and delicious these Nestle candy bars are.

 DHL: Unpacking The Ad Billboard

DHL Creative Billboard

Hello, your billboard has arrived! Given how iconic DHL’s packaging and branding is, this creative billboard ad doesn’t really need to do much other than remind people that the brand exists. People like to receive packages, so seeing a giant package unboxed with an express label on it triggers a specific subset of endorphins within the brain that the audience will then associate with the brand.

Science World: Diamonds Aren’t Rare Billboard

Science World Diamonds Billboard

In the world of writing, there’s an age-old adage which is show don’t tell. This concept can be held up to many other mediums and industries, even advertising! In this case, this outdoor advertising campaign comprised of diamonds makes for a quite effective means of getting their point across. It’s one thing for someone to say a fact and another for them to prove it.

Denver Water: Maximum Efficiency Billboard

Denver Water Billboard

Usually the flashier the billboard, the better. In this case, the exact opposite is true. While this creative outdoor media ad still defies audience expectations and grabs your attention, there’s no denying it’s simplicity. Given that this ad is to spread awareness about a serious issue and not to sell a product, there is also a level of gravity and somberness imparted by its stark nature.

Classic Retro Billboards

Best Vintage Billboards

Advertising has evolved much over the ages. Before the advent of cheap, high-quality photo printing, painted illustrations were required to cover the large area of billboards. This meant that vintage billboards were works of art in and of themselves. Due to the limitations imposed by the use of illustrations, even the design of such ads was different. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most effective, beautiful, and well-crafted vintage billboards to analyze and deconstruct.

Vintage Pepsi Billboard

Pepsi Vintage Billboard

For anyone who has seen the classic 1985 popcorn science fiction film, “Back to the Future”, this billboard might bring back a bit of nostalgia. There’s a scene in which the main character travels from an empty lot in 1955 to the same space in 1985, except the area is now occupied by a newly built suburban neighborhood. While this ad is clearly about Pepsi, it still manages to be highly representative of its era- a time when suburban development was on the rise as the American middle class prospered.

Perhaps the most interesting and striking aspect of this billboard is that it uses scale in order to defy the expectations of the viewer and catch their attention.

Small objects such as the Pepsi bottle cap are drawn to dwarf traditionally larger objects such as the house being constructed. The technique is quite subtle, yet still manages to disarm and interest viewers.

Vintage Coca-Cola Billboard

Coca Cola Puerto Rico

Of course, if we are to look at old Pepsi ads, it is inevitable that vintage Coca-Cola ads be brought up as a contrasting point. The evolution of the marketing behind Coca-Cola is an always fascinating subject. Here is a rare snapshot of the brand’s humble beginnings. Simple, yet ever present, this ad was found in Puerto Rico and was among the first of the brand’s international marketing efforts.

Coca-Cola’s presence has been felt around the world for decades, this image highlights just how long Coca-Cola has been in the forefront of popular culture.

1920’s Spanish Tile Billboard

Vintage Spanish Tile Billboard

The ad pictured above is from a relatively recent photograph, meaning that this ad has remained intact for almost 100 years at this point, all thanks to the quality of craftsmanship and the materials used.

This billboard found in Sevilla, Spain dates back to the 1920’s and is a beautiful and quite rare find. Comprised of painted tiles, it has more in common with traditional Spanish art than advertising materials. The amount of detail, care, and raw artistry that has gone into this piece comes off as incredibly uncharacteristic with what audiences have come to expect out of ads. Thrilling and interesting they may be- modern ads are ultimately understood to be disposable and fleeting.

Motorcar Silhouettes Retro Billboard

Vintage Billboards

Flat design is highly distinguished by shape and color instead of perspective, lighting, and detail. These two elements are commonly found being manipulated in vintage ads. This ad is a prime example of how shape can be used and taken advantage of in an ad.

This ad for some motorcars is focusing specifically on the shapes of the front of each car, relying upon the highly distinctive and iconic silhouettes of the vehicles to add impact to the billboard’s message.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Vintage Billboard

Camaro Vintage Billboard

This famous ad for the then brand-new Chevrolet Camaro is worth highlighting thanks to its striking use of bold colors.

As previously mentioned, color is the other side of the coin when it comes to flat design. While the last ad made great use of shapes and silhouettes, this Camaro ad chooses to shift the focus mainly to its usage of color, though the shape here is still very distinctive and clear.

The high contrast between the yellow, red, white, and black, makes it stand out and leaves an impression in the mind of the viewer. Such imagery has had a drastic impact on popular culture, inspiring visual effects in movies such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” and in video games such as “The House of the Dead”.

2.5D Oldsmobile Retro Billboard

Oldsmobile Vintage Billboard

The beauty of billboards as an advertising medium comes from the fact that they exist within three dimensions. Many modern billboards take advantage of this by making use of models and other 3D constructs. As previously mentioned, however, many vintage billboards favored flat designs and thus approached the use of the Z-axis in a different way, utilizing a method

In this example, the billboard is comprised of multiple 2D elements layered in such a way to give the impression of depth, guiding the eye from the front left to the back right.

Billboards Around the World

Billboards Around The World

Not all billboards are created equal. The market and the audience of certain billboards must be taken into careful consideration in order to maximize their effectiveness. Because of this, billboards around the world are designed in different ways and seek to capture different audiences. We’ve compiled some examples of different billboards across the world and how they attempt to reach out to their respective audiences.

Asia

Mt Fuji Billboard

Location: Japan

Billboard: Mt. Fuji’s Litter

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this billboard is that it technically isn’t a billboard. Sure, it has the frame and structure of a billboard- but it’s missing the actual content of a billboard. Of course, the position and intended viewing angle of the board attempts to turn Mt. Fuji- as in the actual Mt. Fuji itself, not a drawing or a recreation of it, into the content. Given the cultural significance and sheer recognition of Mt. Fuji to its target audience, the effect is substantial.

Qik Billboard

Location: Philippines

Billboard: Skype Qik Live

Mobile devices and social media are huge in Asia. Whether it be a mobile game, the hottest new trending app, or just chatting with friends- the smartphone is a gateway into a world of almost endless entertainment. This company created a billboard which allows mall goers to record themselves on a nearby mobile phone installation and have their clip appear on the ad. This manages to make physical advertising media relevant to the many enthusiastic smartphone users in Manila.


Europe

England Broken Billboard

Location: England

Billboard: Broken Screen

How many times have you interacted with a person, only to see that have them pull out their phone and noticed that it was broken or that the glass was “spidered”? Usually this is pretty noticeable and just as disconcerting. By replicating this effect on the billboard, it catches the viewer’s attention and reminds them of their broken phone screen if they have one.

Denmark Ocean Levels Billboard

Location: Denmark

Billboard: Rising Ocean Levels

This one is interesting as the viewer has to see this billboard multiple times at different points in the day to get the full effect. Basically the awning on top of this billboard is supposed to cast a shadow- the shadow that is cast will change depending on the sun’s relation to the billboard. As the sun moves throughout the day the shadow will change in accordance, making it seem as if the water line on the board is moving upwards. Given that Denmark exists next to the Atlantic, rising ocean levels actually do affect them as they change the shoreline of the country.


North America

Adam Ruins Everything Billboard

Location: USA

Billboard: Adam Ruins Everything

Anyone who has spent long enough time on Facebook has probably seen a video snippet of Adam Ruins Everything, a new series dedicated towards dispelling half-truths and common misconceptions. While one can imagine that such an “in your face” ad might not be incredibly popular with all Americans, there’s no doubt that it’s effective in attracting the attention of its home audience.

Silberman's Fitness Billboard

Location: USA

Billboards: Silberman’s Fitness Center

Obesity is currently an issue which many Americans are confronted with. The US has some of the highest obesity rates across all countries. This ad is very relevant for its home market and does its best to grab the attention of obese Americans who are looking to slim down.


South America

Clean Air Billboard

Location: Peru

Billboard: Clean Air

The city of Lima located in Peru was estimated to have the highest pollution levels in all of South America back in 2012. This billboard was created in response- a billboard which actually takes the surrounding polluted air and purifies it, spitting back out fresh air. Since this billboard has gone up, the city has experienced a 50% reduction in pollution. As one can imagine, it was incredibly well received by it’s target audience due to the fact that it actively improved their lives.

Amphibious Billboard

Location: Argentina

Billboard: Amphibious

Who said billboards needed to be roadside? These billboards can be found either on the beachside, or out in the water themselves. Given that South America is known for its fair share of beautiful beaches, it only makes sense to play up to the region’s natural strengths and advertise in popular beach spots.


Australia

Porsche Billboard Advertisement

Location: Melbourne

Billboard: Porsche Ads

If you have enough money and the inclination to buy a Porsche, you probably feel good about the purchase and enjoy it when other people notice your car. The Porsche company itself understands this and put up an ad in Melbourne that can tell when a Porsche is approaching. The ad calls out Porsche drivers and compliments them on their car, making them feel good and adding a little bit of additional value to their purchase.

Cannon Safety Inspector Billboard

Location: Perth

Billboard: Cannon Safety Inspector

Finding the right person for the job can be tough, especially when the person you need has to have an incredibly specific and obscure skillset. This billboard put up in Perth might not be the fanciest, but is still entertaining and effective. The imagery gives off sentiment that would feel at home in a “Monty Python” skit, appealing to the sensibilities and humor of Australians.

Snickers Monroe Billboard

Snickers Billboard

Billboards aren’t always used to continue a previous ad campaign, but it can be a great idea. Also, billboards don’t usually insult or scare the customers watching them. Not only was that seen as impossible throughout most of advertising history, but it was also viewed as a bad idea to hurt the feelings of the people who you want to buy your product.

However, one well-known candy bar brand managed to do all of the above with their Snickers billboard, and it worked out well for them.

Marilyn Dafoe Scaring People

A digital Snickers billboard was set up on a street in New York City. The image showed the famous scene from the 1955 film Seven Year Itch when Marilyn Monroe was standing over a blowing subway grate in a white dress. But, when passersby stopped to look a little bit closer, something happened. Marilyn suddenly looked, well, different.

She would quickly change into the face of Willem Dafoe, but he was still wearing the white dress and recreating the scene. He’d be looking right into their face, and he’d have a big frown – quite different from the lovely smile worn by Marilyn. It may have freaked out quite a few pedestrians, but it certainly got people talking.

Part of a Bigger Snickers Campaign

This may sound like a bit of a random thing to have a billboard do, but it makes complete sense if you know the whole story. Snickers has had a long running campaign of famous people being angry in situations where they didn’t quite fit, and then someone around would give them one of the candy bars. After eating a bite, they’d turn back into someone who made complete sense in the situation.

The whole concept is that “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” but the Snickers bar can bring you back to life. So, the brand decided to use that concept to make that a Super Bowl commercial in 2016, and they went with the whole scene of Dafoe reenacting the iconic image before some tasty chocolate turned him back into Monroe. They made the billboard a few months later, and it served as a brilliant continuation of the ad.

The Snickers Billboard Was Watching

It may seem like this was just a random changing billboard, but that’s far from the truth. It actually had facial-recognition software built in, so it knew when people were stopping to look at it. If it didn’t have this capability, it wouldn’t have had such an impact because it wouldn’t have been able to startle people. But now, the timing was perfect, and the angry Dafoe was glaring right at the people who would soon subconsciously purchase a Snickers bar when in a bad mood.

Snickers Billboard

Reaction in the Ad World

Both ads were created for Snickers by BBDO New York, and they got a lot of praise throughout the ad industry. Many were impressed at how they were able to resurrect a Super Bowl ad months later, and it’s used as a case study about the successful implementation of facial-recognition software in a billboard. It seems that’s something that people are going to see quite a bit more of.

Snickers Monroe Billboard

Billboards Are Still Relevant

In a world where technology seems obsolete about a week after it’s introduced, many people think that billboards are an advertising form of the past. However, this is a perfect example of why they’re not. Most of the people walking by the billboard were interested in it just because it was digitally moving and recreating a famous movie scene where it would’ve taken place. The rest of the world took notice of the campaign because of what happened after that, but the people who saw it would have been interested even if it didn’t have Willem startling them in such a memorable way.

More Media is Better

Another big lesson to learn from this campaign is that you don’t have to limit your advertising to one type of media. Different ads can serve various purposes across multiple different platforms, and this can help to increase engagement and spread your message. This situation even shows that they don’t have to be made at the same time. The Super Bowl commercial came out months before the billboard, but it was brought back to life by the new sign that pushed its way into people’s lives.

Get Creative with Your Own Campaigns

Even if you’re not a producer of candy bars with a budget able to hire celebrity endorsers, putting some creativity into your advertisements can really help your bottom line. But, you don’t necessarily need to pay top dollar to an advertising agency to make it happen. If you have an idea you’d like to see turned into a reality, just get in touch with us for some help. Just make sure to grab a Snickers first, we prefer to deal with people in a happy mood!