It’s hard to drive a mile without seeing a billboard or outdoor ad. Most have a repetitive message, familiar color scheme, or seen-it-before motif. They’re easy to tune out.
Sometimes, however, companies design truly creative outdoor ads. They’re original enough to penetrate consumer ad fatigue, and innovative enough to convince you their product might actually be worth checking out. We’ve compiled 35 brilliant ads that make you do a double-take:
1. Bite: Ogilvy & Mather
This Indonesian billboard makes it clear that Formula Toothcare gives you really strong teeth.
2. Engagement Ring: Robbins Diamonds
Robbins Diamonds reminds drivers that no engagement ring means angry girlfriend. The sign is on the way to the Philadelphia airport.
3. Barbell: Fitness Company
This German metro advertisement adds levity to weight-lifting.
4. Nail Biter Bag: Jung von Matt Berlin
Image: How Advertising Spoiled Me
The woman on this bag is supposed to be biting nails, not eating a hand. Either way, she catches attention for the nail-biting balm Stop n’ Grow.
5. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
Source: Frederik Samuel
A Mississippi resort and casino brings much-needed tranquility to the baggage claim.
6. Smoking Bus: Nicotinell
As long as this bus is moving, this man is smoking. And suffering. The solution? Nicotinell gum.
7. Cracking the Sidewalk
Image: Highly Optical Illusions
Placed around Singapore, these martial arts school ads make good use of sidewalk cracks.
8. Lettuce Billboard: McDonald’s
Yep, that’s really lettuce growing on a McDonald’s billboard. Fresh.
9. Mini With Boobs: FHM
British men’s rag FHM Magazine painted boobs on this Mini. Eye-catching and genre-appropriate.
10. Shaving the Lawn: BIC
Image: Brian Sibley
A giant BIC razor shaves grass in England. The razor mows well, but unfortunately, the brand name is hard to see.
11. Clean Sidewalk Stripe: Mr. Clean
Image: Branding & Marketing
Mr. Clean keeps one stripe on this Italian crosswalk clean. And he’s proud of it.
12. Miele Vacuum Cleaner: Miami Ad School
Two art students from the Miami Ad School created this vac-tastic Miele billboard.
13. Lego Crane: IDB-FCB
14. Weighed Down: Silberman’s Fitness Center
Obviously overweight? Silberman’s offers a solution.
15. Goalkeeper: Adidas
Image: Say No to Crack
Drivers literally can’t miss this massive Adidas ad, which the company posted at the Munich airport during the 2006 World Cup.
16. Big Idea: The Economist
Image: Funny Billboards
The Economist posted an award-winning London ad whose motion sensor light illuminates when someone passes by.
17. Dropped Call: Cingular
Located outside the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, this Cingular ad makes the dropped call issue very visible. (Source)
18. Popped Gum
This kid in Mumbai had a nasty pop.
19. Strong Tape
The tape “holding up” this billboard is really strong. Simple, yet effective.
20. Kill Bill
Ad designers did a bloody good job with this Kill Bill-board.
21. We’ll Match It: Benjamin Moore Paints
Benjamin Moore paints gets the hue right.
22. Leaky Mascara: Max Factor
Image: Say No to Crack
The eyes in this Max Factor ad cry mascara when it rains. Catchy–and, to women, scary.
23. Checkmate: Santa Monica BMW
The real message here: Do not mess with Santa Monica BMW.
24. McDonald’s Time
Source: Chicago Business
It’s always McDonald’s time, according to this sundial-like billboard in Chicago.
25. Paint Spill: Coop Paint
Columbus, Ohio’s Atlas Building just didn’t look the same after a Coop’s Paint spill.
26. Not American: Smart Car
This Smart Car ad pokes fun at American auto engineering.
27. Hidden Danger: Mexico Unido
Mexico Unido reminds innocent passerby that danger lurks around every corner.
28. Coca Cola Ladder
This Coca Cola ad embodies desperate thirst using only a bottle, a ladder, and a giant straw. Kind of makes you want one, doesn’t it?
29. Run: Nike
For a transparent billboard, this Nike ad is mighty eye-catching.
30. Mars Chilled
Mars Chilled will transform your tongue into a frog-like appendage. Or it will capture and freeze your tongue. It’s that good.
31. Giant Cork: Heye & Partner
This advertising pillar turned into a giant cork for a German wine trade fair. It works–as long as nobody pins flyers on it.
32. Accessories: Saatchi & Saatchi
This guerilla marketing campaign took place in Geneva, for an accessory store. Saatchi & Saatchi replaced chains with giant jewelry in several locations. (Source: Adverbox)
33. Irresistible Scent: Gain
Image: Say No to Crack
You can just see the fresh smell on this 3-D billboard.
34. Rubber Duckies: Adidas
Image: Thomas Rockstar
Adidas filled a Copenhagen fountain with blue rubber duckies for Copenhagen Fashion Week. The bottoms of the ducks said “Reward for my return at Adidas original store.” People would keep the cute ducks…and wander into the local Adidas store. (Source: Thomas Rockstar)
35. Butt Billboard
Image: Creative Juice
This billboard is eye-catching…in a bad way.