35 Brilliant Billboards, Signs, and Outdoor Ads

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

Image: Comunicamos

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

Image: Billboardom

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

Image: GroovyGreen

Yep, that’s really lettuce growing on a McDonald’s billboard. Fresh.

9. Mini With Boobs: FHM

Image: AdFreak

British men’s rag FHM Magazine painted boobs on this Mini. Eye-catching and genre-appropriate.

10. Shaving the Lawn: BIC

soccer (2)
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

Image: AdArena

Two art students from the Miami Ad School created this vac-tastic Miele billboard.

13. Lego Crane: IDB-FCB


In Chile, building companies don’t work on weekends. So one ad agency hung a giant Lego from a crane in a visible Santiago location. The result: A sweet ad. (Source)

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

Image: AdFreak

Located outside the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, this Cingular ad makes the dropped call issue very visible. (Source)

18. Popped Gum

Image: Billboardom

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

Image: Toxel

Ad designers did a bloody good job with this Kill Bill-board.

21. We’ll Match It: Benjamin Moore Paints

Image: Billboardom

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

Image: Hojimoto/Flickr

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

Image: Coloribus

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

Image: Billboardom

For a transparent billboard, this Nike ad is mighty eye-catching.

30. Mars Chilled

Image source

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

Image: Bored.com

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

Image: Bored.com

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.

Written by Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.