McDrive Billboard

McDonald’s Put Up a Billboard for Burger King

Billboards are a classic site alongside roads throughout the world, but most of them are fairly similar. They have roughly the same dimensions, don’t contain too much information, and are designed to get a simple message across to people who won’t have much time to view it.

On the other hand, quality billboards go much further. They follow a strong strategy, and they’re put together in a way to be very memorable. Some even go to extreme lengths to make them unique enough that people want to talk about them.

Some advertisers in France recently decide to go big with their sign, and it caught the attention of plenty of people.

McDrive Billboard

Directions to a McDrive

This situation is unique because the billboard was put up not by the company it was advertising, but by its competitor. The sign was a giant ad giving directions on how to get to the nearest Burger King, and it happened to be 258 km away. But, they did it because they could put a sign next to it showing the distance to the nearest McDonald’s, and it was only 5 km away.

This whole little plan would’ve worked without any spectacular show, but it wouldn’t have received the major attention it ended up getting without its unique aspect. The billboard showing the major distance to Burger King also included the directions that a GPS would give drivers, so the BK sign was about 10 times taller than the McDonald’s ad.

Getting the Message Across

It may seem like a weird sign for a fast-food chain, but these two billboards really communicated the main message that McDonald’s wanted customers to know.  There are around 1,000 drive throughs with golden arches on the sign, but less than 20 with a king advertising the burgers. So, rather than making people think the food was tastier, the prices were better, or any other value they’ll receive while eating there, McDonald’s wanted to remind customers how much more convenient it is to swing by one of their restaurants. This was an unusual way to show it, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

Mcdonalds vs Burger King Directions

The “Wow!” Factor

There are a lot of ways for billboards and other ads to be interesting enough for people to talk about them. Sometimes they make use of extremely advanced technologically, so they’re a conversation topic because people are impressed. Other times they somehow solve a problem that people face in their lives, so they’re interesting because of the good they do.

In this case, the billboard was talked about because of how ridiculous it was. It didn’t have any fancy technology, and it hardly had anything pretty to look at. It didn’t do anything new, and it definitely didn’t solve a problem (it’s unlikely anyone would actually use this as their key source of information on how to get somewhere so far away). Instead, people liked it because it was so dramatic. It was funny and silly, and yet it still made the point.

Risks of Mentioning Competitors

Another tricky situation involved here is mentioning the competition. When planning your advertising, this is an important thing to decide about for a few reasons. First, you need to find out what legal restrictions you face. A small mistake could cause you to end up with a costly lawsuit, and that’s not usually worth it.

More importantly, this gives direct advertising for your competitor. Everyone knows that these two chains are against each other, but some companies need to be careful about helping customers realize that other organizations offer similar products or services. Plus, if you’re too mean, it can leave you with a negative impression in the eyes of some customers.

Creative McDonalds Billboard

Outside-of-the-Box Billboards

When designing a billboard, it’s a good idea to get a little creative with the style. Remember that you don’t have to be old-fashioned and boring with what you make, and creating something that looks different from all the other signs on the road can really help yours stand out.

The Product Doesn’t Have to Be There

Another good lesson to take from this has to do with the content of the billboard. They generally need to have less information since many people see them but for only a short amount of time, so it’s a good idea to pick only one message. And, it doesn’t have to be about your product. McDonald’s does a lot of marketing about its food, so sometimes they can highlight other values that they can offer to customers – such as convenience.

Want to Make a Billboard that Stands Out?

We love working with creative ideas for our billboards, and we’ll be happy to take on the challenge of something exciting you’ve come up with. Even if you don’t want to build a tower giving directions to your competitor, we can help make your idea a reality.

Anti Smoking Apotek Billboard

A Billboard that Coughs at Smokers

Doctors used science long ago to prove that smoking is an extraordinarily unhealthy habit, and it can lead to a large number of medical conditions. Also, it’s expensive, causes damage to buildings, bothers others, and has many other negative effects.

Even with all of these reasons to stop smoking, people still do it. A lot of people. Why? Because it’s very addictive.

Anti-smoking advertising has been going on for quite some time, but maybe a new strategy will help. After all, it’s quite embarrassing when a sign gives you a hard time while you’re walking down the street, as one in Scandinavia just did.

Anti Smoking Apotek Billboard

Creating a Coughing Billboard

One of the most creative anti-smoking signs ever created was recently placed in a busy square in Stockholm, Sweden. This location was chosen because it happens to be a place where many people go to smoke.

The sign itself was a digital display showing a simple image of a person in black and white, and the name of the business was displayed across the bottom. It’s the kind of ad you see all over the place, and you may not even register it above a subconscious level.

However, what you don’t notice while just looking at it is that a smoke detector is hidden inside of the sign. When a smoker walks by, the machine picks up on the smell, and the image changes to a coughing man. It’s a very clear message that the guy is bothered by the harsh smell of the burning tobacco. Then, it shows some ads for some common products that will help people quit.

Two Ads in One

This sign was done in such a clever way that a lot of people took notice. It was clear that it was reacting to the people walking by, and that unusual behavior led to some funny (and uncomfortable) reactions from the general public.

The whole thing was a creative plan that was well executed, but the creators didn’t stop there. They also had a film crew around to discretely make a video of people’s reactions to the sign, and that was entertaining in itself.

They shared the video online, of course, and this meant that it went from outdoor advertising to something that could freely spread around social media.

Anti Smoking Billboard

It Fits the Brand

It’s not uncommon to see stop smoking billboards created by governments or other non-profit organizations, but this one was made for a business. It was put together by the agency Akestam Holst, and they made it for the Apotek Hjartat pharmacy. When you think about it, it’s a perfect match for the brand. The purpose of a pharmacy is to help you stay healthy and live a longer life, and quitting smoking really contributes to that.

So, not only was it funny and eye-catching, but the billboard remained relevant to the messages that the company wants to put out.

A Reason for the Timing

Just as the location was chosen because it’s a place where many people light up, there was a specific reason of why they released it in January. This is the month when people are trying to follow their recently made New Year’s resolutions, and quitting smoking is one of the most common goals that people set. It’s also one that many people fail to follow through on because of how difficult it is. This is a fun, catchy reminder to help people remember what they’re doing, and it would still work in August, but it wouldn’t work as well without the extra timing element.

Coughing Billboard

Brand Building Can Benefit Society

This campaign accomplishes some pretty standard goals that companies aim for when investing in advertising. It helps their brand become known, increases sales, and gives updates about current products. However, it also takes things a step further by doing something that contributes to society.

From a business point of view, a pharmacy will probably be able to sell products to smokers and non-smokers alike, so it’s not like it’s chasing away customers. But, if they build the image of being a trusted friend and valuable member of the community, they might just end up with more customers (even those who have never been interested in tobacco).

It’s Not Just for Pharmacies

Hopefully this campaign will serve as an inspiration to you in more ways than one. It’s a clever example of how you can mix outdoor advertising with a viral video, and it’s another case that proves that signs aren’t limited to being one-sided, static images. On the other hand, it should be a good challenge for you to find some social causes that can help boost your business. You don’t have to be in a field related to medicine in order to do something positive for the world, and even a small amount of effort can be enough to help you win some customers.

Best Super Bowl Ads 2017

The Best Super Bowl Ads of 2017

The Super Bowl is the time of year when the best teams prepare to compete with each other. Tons of planning has gone into a specific strategy, and they want to be the most talked about group after the game is over.

When it ends, only one advertisement can be the best, but it can be hard to choose. Oh, and there’s an NFL game being played when the commercial breaks aren’t showing…

Types of Commercials

This really is a big stage for commercials, and the price range shows it. In 2017, the cost for a 30-second spot was $5 million. When you’re spending that kind of money, there isn’t much room to make an error. The styles vary from funny to serious to utterly absurd, and sometimes they even try new methods such as filming during the show.

For a variety of different reasons, here are the best Super Bowl ads of 2017.

Cam Newton vs. a Buick

Buick seems to be refreshing its brand image, in quite an entertaining way. The popular quarterback Cam Newton shows off his skills around some kids who are much newer to the game than he is, and even a supermodel makes an appearance.

Mr. Clean is a Ladies’ Man

The trusty old Mr. Clean is back, but he’s a little more risqué than he’s been in the past. Plus, this commercial gives a valuable insight to any man wanting to be sexier for his wife or girlfriend.

The Accepting Airbnb

The vacation rental website decided to go the serious route with their big commercial this year, and they focused on highlighting their value when it comes to dealing with people who are different. The ad was made in a very simple way, but the message came across clearly.

John Malkovich Needs a Squarespace Site

This clever ad takes two parts to tell the story of John Malkovich trying to get the correct web address for the website of his new fashion line. The extra clever part is that he actually did launch a men’s clothing line, so we can only assume that he uses Squarespace and had an awkward time getting the rights to his own name.

Hyundai Puts Off Filming Until the Last Minute

The car maker Hyundai followed a fairly common Super Bowl theme of being patriotic and supporting soldiers, but they managed to work another gimmick into the ad. Instead of filming it beforehand, as was the strategy for every other commercial ever made, they had two crews on opposite sides of the planet putting it together while the players were on the field.

It worked.

LIFEWTR Gets Artistic

This bottled water company believes that creativity and design are crucial to their brand, and they have a special edition set of bottles designed by certain artists. The commercial itself is very image driven, shows art being created, the music is great, and water manages to have a starring role.

Skittles Romance

One of Skittles’ trademark strategies is to always have funny ads, and this one doesn’t disappoint. You start by rooting for the teenage boy who wants to impress his girlfriend, and then you end up being jealous of her family.

Sprint Continues to Go After Verizon

In one of the stranger and more traumatic ads of the 2017 Super Bowl, Sprint shows a dad faking his own death in order to get out of paying his Verizon bills. This ad will definitely be noticed and talked about, but it also runs the risk of feeling too intense.

An Action-Packed Ad by Wix

This one really felt more like an action movie than a commercial for a website platform. The main character is a chef who is so involved in the building of a beautiful site for his business, that he doesn’t even notice Jason Statham and Gal Gadot destroying the place while battling some bad guys. They even help him move his company in a new direction!

NFL Super Bowl Babies

The NFL follows up last year’s ad about babies who were born 9 months after a Super Bowl, by showing actual babies dressed up as iconic NFL legends. It’s a good test of your knowledge – can you identify them all?

Man and Machine by Lexus

Lexus goes a lot more modern while comparing a man and a machine, and it makes you wonder which is which. It’s crisp and creative, and it’s impressive enough to watch over and over.

#DriveProgress with Audi

Audi went with a very touching ad that had a message from a father concerned that he’ll have to tell his daughter that men aren’t equal to women in the workforce. However, she inspires him so much that it ends with bright hope for the future.

TurboTax and Humpty Dumpty

Have you ever wondered why Humpty Dumpty was sitting on the wall before he took his great fall? Well, TurboTax finally got to the bottom of it.

What Was Your Favorite?

These are some of the best commercials shown during the Super Bowl, but there’s no mathematical formula to prove which was the winner. Which did you like the most?

Resting House Billboard Featured

A Billboard Sleep Station for Tired Drivers

Outdoor advertising has the possibility to do a lot of different things. The primary purpose is to create awareness of brands to people who are out living their lives, but they’re capable of doing much more than just that. It may sound slightly dramatic, but billboards have saved lives before, and keeping the creative ideas flowing means they can do it again.

Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not. Here’s just one of many examples where a clever billboard took steps to save lives.

The Peruvian Highway Problem

Resting BillboardTo properly understand this problem, you would have to know about the driving situation in the country of Peru. There’s a very long stretch of highway that goes from the capital city of Lima to the neighboring country of Chile, and it goes through a very empty area. It’s part of the Pan-American Highway, which is a road that not only crosses two continents, but also travels the entire length of this specific country. It comes in from Ecuador, travels down to the capital city, and continues south to Peru.

There’s one big problem along this stretch, though, and that is that there aren’t many places to stop and rest. That wouldn’t be too big of a deal if it was a short part of the road, but the fact that it’s more than 700 miles makes things extremely dangerous.

About a third of all road accidents in Peru are caused because drivers are tired, but what can be done about this? It’s expensive and difficult to build rest areas, and then they have to be maintained and have the appropriate security for people to feel comfortable using them.

If only there was a cheaper solution… Well, there is one thing, and Sodimac Homecenter did it.

The Billboard Became a Rest Area

This became known as the resting house billboard, and that’s basically because it’s a billboard that has a house where people can rest. Under the sign (which advertises the spot), there is a series of little garage areas where drivers can park their cars. They are only enclosed on three of the four sides, and they’re decorated like little houses inside. The place is run by staff members to keep things organized, and they provide little things, such as sleep masks and WiFi access, to help the tired drivers successfully get some rest. This allows the travelers to rest, sleep, and get the relaxation they need to continue their long drives.

Providing the Safety

Resting House Billboard

The resting house billboard was specifically created for the drivers of the Panamericana Sur Highway by Sodimac Homecenter and their agency McCann Lima. One of the most important reasons it was successful is because of the safety it provided. The first thought about it is that it kept people safe from car accidents because of fatigue (which is true), but it also kept them secure. It has 24-hour security in place, so drivers don’t have to worry about themselves or their property while they get some sleep.

Billboards on this Highway

Despite the fact that this is a long, empty road, it doesn’t have any shortage of billboards. There are so many them that advertisers compete very heavily to get their signs positioned in a good spot, while also making sure that they have a memorable message that will be successful. With so much competition, it’s not an easy task. But, the resting house billboard seemed to work.

What is Sodimac Homecenter?

If you’re not from Peru or one of the surrounding countries, you may not even be familiar with Sodimac Homecenter. It’s a major home improvement chain that comes from Chile, but also sells things in other South American countries. That’s the big reason why this billboard, complete with little houses, was a relevant concept for the store.

Resting House Billboard Builds the Brand

Peru Resting House Billboard

This billboard builds the Sodimac Homecenter brand in multiple different ways. First, it just gives a positive image to the company, and people will remember it as a place that helps them. This will make shopping decisions easier when they need to work on their homes.

Also, it fits in with the industry of the company. They sell home supplies, but that also means they try to make people have a safe and happy place to go to at the end of a long, tiring day. In a way, that’s exactly what they’re doing here. They became a little bit of home in the middle of nowhere, and the garages were decorated in a way that remind people of that.

Third, it really got a lot of attention because of how creative it was. This made it so that many consumers could get the message, even if they didn’t drive down the road.

Build Your Own House!

The moral of this story is that brands can solve problems with their advertising, and they manage to get twice as much publicity because of it. No matter what industry your company is in, how can you use outdoor advertising to improve lives, and get noticed?

The Mosquito Killer Billboard

Humans have spent all of history protecting themselves from dangerous predators, but one specific animal brings fear into the hearts of people all over the globe. There are ways to fight back against this creature, but no one knows how to stop it completely. Because of a number of factors, it’s becoming a major hazard to the health of the public.

But, in the most unsuspected of places, a solution was found.

A billboard is saving the day in the global battle against mosquitos.

Mosquito Killer Billboard

Basics About the Mosquito Killer Billboard

The billboard itself looks normal enough at first sight, but it has a little more than your average sign. It is white with cut out letters, and it contains a message that says “This billboard kills hundreds of Zika mosquitos every day.”

There is some sophisticated machinery built inside of it, and that’s what gives it some teeth. First, it has internal containers that emit carbon dioxide and lactic acid into the air. These are attractive to mosquitos because they’re the same scents that come from humans, so the insects flock to the source. And, it’s so strong that mosquitos will come from distances of up to 4 kilometers (2.48 miles) away.

Once the little animals get closer, they notice the fluorescent lights inside the sign, and that makes them even more interested. Then, they have a little entrance that’s easy for them to find, so they fly right in. Unfortunately for the insects, it’s not so easy to get out. They remain trapped until they die of dehydration.

Why Mosquitos Are a Problem

Mosquitos are a big problem around the world since they act as mini carriers of disease, and they’re extremely hard to stop. This really came to light in 2015 when a major outbreak of the Zika virus began in Brazil, and the world took notice since so many people would be traveling there for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Since the virus can cause birth defects in babies born to mothers who have had it, it was significant enough to be called a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” by the World Health Organization.

Billboard that Kills Mosquitos

The Agencies Behind the Billboard

When creating outdoor advertising, it isn’t normal to make a trap for a dangerous animal. It’s common to try to promote causes related to public health, but they aren’t usually this direct and efficient. However, the creativity that comes out of advertising companies seems to be never ending. This whole project was created by Periscope and NBS, two agencies in Brazil. With the threat of the Zika virus causing so much trouble, they made this solution and taught others how to do the same.

Giving the Design for Free

One very noteworthy part of this billboard is how the agencies who created it gave away the instructions on how to make the mosquito killer billboard. They went so far as to build a website that contains detailed information on how it operates, as well as how to make one yourself.

This was so important because it took it from a publicity stunt and turned it into a gift for humankind. Following a similar strategy can really serve as an inspiration for other organizations to do something similar. And, they can use this as an example if they need to justify investments they’re making in their own projects.

Mosquito Killing Billboard Construction

Not the First Helpful Billboard

A billboard was built in 2013 that helped a major problem in Peru. The area suffers from very low amounts of drinking water because there’s hardly any rainfall. What water the people are able to get is often polluted, but there is often a humidity level over 95%. Seeing a problem and a potential solution, an ad agency partnered with a local university to see what they could do. They ended up creating a billboard that collected water from the air, purified it, and stored it into tanks. Then, people were able to come with bottles and collect the drinking water for their families. It didn’t quite solve the entire issue, but it was a creative solution that helped a lot of people.

Are You Able to Solve a Health Problem?

Even if you don’t think that mosquitos are a major threat, do you have any problems you’ve thought about solving? If so, you don’t necessarily have to do it alone. Sometimes someone has already come up with a solution (like what has happened in this case), and other times you will be able to find help with it. Organizations that are fighting against diseases and other hazards on an everyday basis are usually more than happy to help you turn a dream into a reality.

Let’s try to save the world, one billboard at a time.

Saltwater Brewing Edible Six Pack Rings

Almost everyone has pulled a can out of those little plastic holders that keep six packs together, and most people are slightly aware that these often end up in the oceans. It’s easy to ignore this fact and assume the fish will be fine, but is that really the best course of action? One brewery didn’t think so. They solved the problem and earned some more customers because of it. Read on, and maybe it’ll give you some inspiration to do something similar!

Saltwater Brewing Edible Six Pack Rings

The Six-Pack Rings That Can Be Eaten

Every year, humans produce hundreds of millions of tons of plastic, and a small percentage of this ends up in the oceans. Unfortunately, that small percentage is still a large number.

It’s one thing to have trash floating in the sea, but the big problem comes from the fact that it turns into fish food. The animals don’t know that they shouldn’t eat it, so they try to munch away. Then, they get trapped in things like the six round rings that hold cans together, and both of these issues can end up killing them.

So, a brewery went to the trouble of manufacturing at an alternative to the plastic, and this is what holds their cans together. It’s both biodegradable and safe for sea creatures to eat. In other words, it becomes fish food if it gets in the ocean, and if no one’s biting, then it simply dissolves. It doesn’t leave a negative impact on the environment.

If that’s not enough to be impressive, they make it from a byproduct of the brewing process. Instead of needing a new material, they just take some leftover grains that they don’t need anymore, and they give a new life to it. It brings recycling to a whole new level.

Not a Random Innovation

Thinking up an incredible idea like this is a lot of fun, but it’s much more beneficial to a brand if it’s not related to a completely random subject. If this was a brewery located in the middle of the desert, it would still be nice, but it wouldn’t make as much sense.

Instead, this was made by Saltwater Brewery which is located in Florida. They have a direct connection to the water, and many of their customers are surfers who drink cans of beer while sitting in the sand. So, by helping preserve the aquatic environment, they were solving an immediate problem that their community witnesses.

Saltwater Brewing Six Pack

An Edible Competitive Advantage

This is so important because it gives them a direct competitive advantage over other breweries. Many of their competitors grab some beer and head to the beach, and which brand do you think they’re going to choose at the store? Most require more maintenance and still may harm the environment, but one makes their life easier in an exciting way.

Outside-of-the-Can Thinking

Saltwater Brewery is not a company that relies on the sea. They are located near the home of the fish, but it’s not their job to solve this problem. Shouldn’t this product be developed by plastic companies? Or fishermen? That would be logical.

The brewery impressed a lot of people by being open minded about what they can do, and many took notice. Take this as a lesson that your business could become popular by working on a problem that you’ve never felt responsible for before.

Free Media Coverage

It’s safe to say that they were rewarded for this effort. Saltwater Brewery got more than 3.5 global media impressions in less than a week, and they didn’t even make a large investment to get there. This trend continued, and they had millions of shares and views on social media.

You can buy that type of media coverage if you want to spend enough, but something like this will earn it for free.

Edible Six Pack Rings

Even Judges Noticed

A lot of people liked the idea, and that included the judges who handed out advertising awards. Together with the agency WE BELIEVERS, this project won for creative innovation at the Cannes Lions Festival in 2016, as well as multiple other awards for PR and innovation.

Ideas Help Advertising

It’s well known that good advertising can sell mediocre products, but even the best ideas don’t sell if no one knows about them. That being said, it’s a lot easier to advertise something that people want and like. This is a perfect example of how a small advertising budget can achieve much bigger results if you really understand your customers.

Make Sure Everyone Wins

This example was good for the company, the consumers, and the ocean, so it was a win-win situation for everyone involved! Do you have any similar ideas for your company? Set your goals high, and we’ll be happy to help communicate your message. Let’s make a positive change in the world, together.

REI’s Anti Black Friday Campaign: #OptOutside

Black Friday is a tradition in the United States that isn’t always thought about in a positive way. In fact, when talking about the day, most people first think of shoppers getting in physical fights over good deals on random products.

Companies constantly try to outdo each other with better sales, earlier opening hours, and other stunts. But, one company managed to rebel against the practice, and they did so in a spectacular way.

Not only did REI skip the discounts on Black Friday, but they didn’t even open their doors. And people loved them for it.

rei-black-friday-final-hed-2015 (1)

Inside the #OptOutside Campaign

REI is a major retailer that sells high-quality outdoor equipment, and they’re a perfect example of the type of company that could take advantage of Black Friday. They could generate publicity and get customers through the doors by offering extreme discounts on expensive merchandise, and many of their competitors do just that.

In 2015, however, REI went the opposite direction. They decided to close all 143 of their retail stores, as well as their headquarters and distribution centers.  This isn’t completely unique since other companies have been known to do the same, but they took it one step further. The company decided to pay all 12,000 of its workers as they would any other work day.

Why Did They Do It?

It does sound a little crazy, right? After all, it makes sense to be closed on the day after a major holiday so that employees can spend time with their families, but why pay them?

It was part of their bigger campaign: #OptOutside. They really value getting into the great outdoors (the reason for selling the products they do), and they wanted to encourage their employees to take their families and friends into the wilderness for the day. A paid day off is a good way to make that happen.

Two Years in a Row

The campaign was such a success the first time around, that they decided to continue it again in 2016. They boosted awareness of their cause the first year by giving plenty of advice on hiking trails and other ways people (not just employees) could get outside, and they still maintain the #OptOutside website that hosts all this information.

It looks like this is an REI tradition that won’t go away anytime soon.

rei-one-show-hed-a-2016 (1)

Plenty of Free Marketing

It probably won’t shock you to learn that this whole campaign has generated tons of media attention, or in other words, plenty of free marketing. The #OptOutside hashtag allows people to communicate about it on social media (with more than 1.2 billion impressions in the first year), and plenty of news outlets covered the initial announcement and follow-up activities related to it.

Taking it one step further, REI has teamed up with a large number of brands and non-profit organizations to help turn the concept into a movement. News organizations will take notice when Subaru or national environmental organizations get involved, but they’ll always mention how the idea was started by REI.

Even though the purpose wasn’t just a marketing campaign, it’s safe to say that REI didn’t mind all the positive attention.

How It Matches REI’s Message

An important aspect of this campaign is that it wasn’t just a completely random publicity stunt. Any retailer could easily have given their employees a paid day off and received some positive recognition for it. But, it was key that it matched REI’s message.

The company is known for caring about its customers, employees, and the outdoors, and it often contributes to helping preserve nature. That’s what really made this so memorable. They found a genius way to put their money where their mouth is, and people loved them for it.

Benefit of Multiple Forms of Advertising

Another key takeaway from this campaign is how it was so successful because of multiple forms of advertising. They had signs in and out of their stores, online content, a social media hashtag, and much more. Using this made it easy for the idea to make it to a diverse group of people, and it helped spread the message far and wide. If they had promoted it in a way that was too basic (such as using only one advertising channel), it may have only resulted in a program that made employees and loyal customers happy, without managing to tell the general public about it.

What Movement Can Your Company Start?

This success story should serve as an inspiration to you. If you find a cause that closely matches the value of your company, then a little creativity can turn it into a brand-defining campaign. And if you use the right marketing mix to spread the message, you could end up getting tons of free media attention for years to come.

REI has decided to #OptOutside. What can your company do?

Ikea Red Cross Campaign

A Syrian Home from IKEA

Most people would like to help a good cause if they are able, but sometimes they’re not sure how to go about doing it. Instead, they go on with their daily lives and tune out the misfortunes of others. But, since they don’t really think about it, their conscious remains clear.

However, one major retailer recently teamed up with a large charity to bring a war zone to a peaceful country. Shoppers in Norway went to buy furniture and housewares in a local IKEA, and they encountered what it feels like to live in the middle of the war in Syria.

Ikea Syria Home

Syria in Norway

The display inside the Norwegian store was a 25-square-meter replica of an actual home in Damascus. It was built of realistic materials (not just false backdrops), and it was mixed in with the other kitchen displays selling Scandinavian housewares. The price tags looked just like the others around the store, but they actually contained information about how people are living in Syria right now. Since that didn’t quite meet the whole goal, they also provided instructions on how people could donate to help the Syrian residents.

The Important Partnership

This was a major effort by IKEA, but they made sure it wasn’t all about them. It was done as a partnership with the Red Cross, and that was helpful for a few reasons. First, it added a lot of depth and credibility to the campaign. It’s obvious that IKEA doesn’t have a direct presence in Syria, so they would have to partner with some organization to make an impact. Next, both brands generally have a positive image (even though they’re very different), and putting them together will build a comparison in the minds of consumers that’s likely to last a while.

Ikea Red Cross Campaign

Advertising Is No Longer Just Advertising

There was a time when advertisements were fairly simple, and their whole purpose was to increase sales. Those times are gone. Consumers now want to feel connected to a brand, and they want to know that they share similar values. Advertising has to be a way to get into lives of average people, and only then will it influence their purchasing decisions. Shoppers aren’t always only interested in the lowest price or the highest quality. We’re seeing a growing trend that people want to be part of ethical movements, and unique marketing campaigns like this can be the way to convince them.

Results of the Syrian Home

This display was set up for less than a month, from October 17-31, 2016, but it made a big impact during that time. It raised about 22 million euros of donations that went to the Red Cross in order to help in Syria. Plus, more than 40,000 people visited the display each week, so it likely made a lasting impression on all of them.

Ikea Red Cross Syria

IKEA’s Social Causes

IKEA, like many other large corporations, tries to have a positive image with regards to Corporate Social Responsibility. They often focus on sustainability issues, which is logical since they are primarily a manufacturing company. However, they also try to help people and the planet, so this matches with one of their clear goals. It wasn’t just a random publicity stunt.

Charities Can Benefit

In this case, the Red Cross could have set up a similar house on a street corner in a major city. That would’ve attracted a lot of attention, but it’s unlikely it would’ve had as much of an impact as it would in a store that many people are familiar with. Charities can usually benefit from any help that they are offered, but assistance from a popular company can turn customers into humanitarians.

Ikea for Syria Guerilla Advertising

Brands Can Bring Problems Closer to People

This was especially powerful since it was based on a real home, and the display gave information about the people who live in it. Also, the contrast was highlighted by the fact that it was next to the normal scenes of Scandinavian homes that shoppers were used to. While they were imagining they’re own kitchens and bedrooms, they faced the hard truth of seeing how so many unfortunate others are living.

Ethical Companies Have Strong Brands

Marketing isn’t always about raising sales. In this case, shoppers sent money to the Red Cross, not to IKEA. But, this will benefit their brand as a whole. Now they’re viewed as a company that helps those in need, and that will motivate shoppers (often on a subconscious level) to purchase from the company that’s trying to save the day.

Can Your Company Help?

Have you ever thought about a similar campaign for your company? You don’t have to help someone who’s on the other side of the world, and instead you could offer support to someone right here in your own community. We would love to give you the assistance you need to bring positive change to the world, so give us a call, and we’ll be proud to be part of your marketing mix.

McDonalds Pick n Play

McDonalds Pick n Play Billboard Game

From a young age, McDonald’s does a great job of pushing its image of a playful wonderland right into your head. That works pretty well, but eventually you grow up, and Ronald McDonald becomes less and less interesting as the years pass.

But, it’s not only children who like to play. Adults may be too shy to order a Happy Meal, but they enjoy having some games in their life.

A few years ago, the fast food chain managed to get full grown adults to unleash their inner child. They even managed to make it happen in a crowded square.

But, how did they do it?

McDonalds Pick n Play

A Playground for All Ages

To set the scene, take yourself back to the year 2011, and imagine you’re walking through the streets of Stockholm, Sweden. Now, look up at the giant Golden Arches on a billboard, and pull out your smartphone.

Are you ready for a game? It’s not difficult. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty similar to the game of Pong. The digital display will bring up a video game in which a ball starts bouncing from one side to the other. Using your phone, you move a paddle up and down so the ball doesn’t escape.

Who wouldn’t want to give it a try?

The Details of the Game

This stunt was put together for McDonald’s by DDB Stockholm, and it was quite a hit. Many people participated because it was so easy to do, and if they played well enough, they could win a prize.

The game didn’t require an app download or any other complicated procedure. All people had to do was go to the website that the billboard advertised, and it used their location data to make sure they were actually there.

Consumers got to play, and they had to survive for 30 seconds. If they did, they were rewarded with a coupon for free food at one of the nearby restaurants.

McDonalds Billboard Game

Lack of App Was Key to Success

One of the major reasons this campaign was successful was because of how simple it was. When doing something like this today, many people will instinctively decide to ask consumers to download an app to play along. They even try to build that app in a way that the users can take it with them and play later, and it’s seen as a great reminder of the brand.

While that method can work, it causes a major entry barrier to anyone thinking about participating. That was the real beauty of this one. There weren’t any downloads necessary, and the players didn’t have to register. They just visited the website, played the game, and (hopefully) won.

Then, they popped into a McDonald’s to enjoy their delicious trophy.

Gave Unexpected Interaction to Customers

Another great feature of this campaign was the interactivity it offered. Billboards are often used to advertise a competition or communicate results of something happening, but they’re very rarely the actual game board. Good signs are passively seen and melted into the subconscious of the potential consumers, but it’s proof of a great idea when people want to stop and actively discuss it with each other.

Pick n Play Billboard Game

Free Prizes!

An additional clever aspect of this plan was the call to action that was disguised in the form of a prize. Instead of just suggesting that customers stop by for lunch, they gave them the incentive of free food. They may or may not buy lunch during that visit, but they’ll remember the location (and hopefully the good experience they had) next time they’re in the area.

Also, bragging to friends about winning something for free is always a great way to encourage word-of-mouth communication.

Do You Use Mobile in Your Campaigns?

If you haven’t ever tried integrating mobile experiences in your campaigns, this is a great example of why you should. Don’t forget that it can go far beyond mobile ads or having an app that makes it easier for your customers to interact with your company. Smartphones are a major part of life in the 21st century, so consider them just as strong of a medium as billboards, radio/TV, print, and online channels.

 Not The First McDonald’s Billboard Game

A year before this billboard happened, the same agency created a similar sign for the burger chain. It was less interactive because it only required customers to snap a photo of fast moving foods, and they could show that for a real version of the item for free in a local McDonald’s. As mobile technology improved, the fancier version was possible. Just imagine what we can do now!

Game On!

Have you ever had a similar idea for your business? At bMedia Group, we love to be a part of making these amazing concepts come to life, and we’d be happy to talk about how to turn your creative thoughts into a reality.

Chicago Cityskyline

Puerto Rico Melting the Chicago Snow

Chicago is a great city, but you’re going to have a hard time finding someone who doesn’t complain about the brutal winters. The intense cold and constant days of snow really start to get to the residents, and they eventually begin to dream of an escape. Naturally, many think of sitting on a sunny beach somewhere, and they imagine feeling the sand against their skin.

Well, if that’s what they want, then why not give it to them? Puerto Rico figured out a way to do just that, and it let to quite a few residents of the Windy City throwing sandals and sunscreen into a suitcase.

A Competitive Problem

Chicago Cityskyline

Like most islands in the Caribbean, the warmth and sunshine of Puerto Rico make it a popular place for tourists to visit. Not surprisingly, many of these people come fleeing the colder winter months in the US, and a lot of them call Chicago home. But, the challenge for Puerto Rico Tourism is always how to motivate people to come to their beaches when so many others are about the same distance away.

Many times, the plan has been to go after the ease which US citizens can visit, and they highlight that it feels like an international trip, but a passport isn’t required. However, this message tends to get less exciting over time, and it can really pay to try a new strategy every now and then.

Fortunately, JWT Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Tourism came up with a clever solution for this problem.

Puerto Rico Melts the Midwestern Snow

Puerto Rico Melts the Midwest Snow

February of 2016 saw a van driving through the snowy streets of Chicago. The pictures on the side showed a tempting beach scene, and there was a very strong contrast between that feeling of warmth and the cold air outside. But, this particular campaign was more than just a rolling billboard.

The van was loaded with sand that had been shipped from Puerto Rican beaches, and it was held in specially designed little buckets. These were handed out to the cold residents, and the lid proudly proclaimed that “Puerto Rico Defrosts Chicago.” It went on to talk about the average yearly temperature on the island, and it had some special offers for anyone thinking about making a trip.

But, Why Sand?

It may seem strange to go to the trouble of sending sand such a long distance, but they had a specific reason in mind. The aim was to let the residents use the salty substance to melt the snow on the walkways in front of their houses. In fact, many people returned home to find a bucket sitting there waiting for them.

Extra Points for a Clever Name

Puerto Rico Melts Winter Away

Their message that “Puerto Rico melts winter away” is witty because it follows an unusually literal strategy. It’s easy for a tourism organization to make a claim about that, but when it’s a fact (not just an exaggeration), people really start talking about that.

Take it as a lesson to search for similar sentences in your advertising.

Who Need’s Fancy Technology?

A lot of the hottest ad campaigns use cutting-edge technology, but this is a perfect case to show why that isn’t always necessary. The fanciest bit of machinery in this one was a van, and the primary piece was sand. Sand is basically free, and it’s the complete opposite of the fancy tech we have in the 21st century.

In other words, spending a ton of money isn’t always necessary to get some attention.

Media Mixtures

Another aspect of this campaign that really made it stand out was the mixture of the types of media involved. Usually, the only way to demonstrate travel is with photos or stories. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to bring anything to potential customers or interact with them in any other way. So, this was a genius way of doing it.

Plus, it’s always great to have many different dimensions for campaigns. Your customers can see your billboard, read your email, get a coupon in a store, or hear an ad on the radio, and it will all connect together to gain some loyalty.

Do You Have a Similar Idea?

Don’t worry if you don’t think your business will benefit from handing out sand – that’s not the message we’re trying to convey here. The point is that creative thinking can go a long way, and the most basic ideas can see great results.

We believe that billboards are a critical piece of any campaign in Puerto Rico, and we really love being a part of something creative and fun. If you have any ideas that you’re trying to figure out how to pull together, go ahead and reach out to us. We’re happy to do some brainstorming to help with your brand building.