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You are here: Home / News & Blog / BLOG / 20 Brilliant Outdoor Billboard Advertising Attract Your Audience

20 Brilliant Outdoor Billboard Advertising Attract Your Audience

Views:511     Author: Laura Busche     Publish Time: 2018-04-08      Origin:Site

With digital ads taking over our lives, it’s easy to start questioning how long other forms of advertising are going to last.


Don't worry: billboards are going nowhere. They are alive, well and getting increasingly creative.


Here’s a scenario: you’re cruising on the highway, pretending to be focused on your driving, blasting some nostalgic hits as loud as it gets. It’s going to take some serious interruption to steal your attention. All of a sudden there it is: an irresistible, overwhelmingly cheesy pizza the size of your car. You *suddenly* remember that you are starving. (Are you really?). Next up you’re looking for an exit number, address, website, coordinates…something! You really do need to get your hands on that pizza. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the magnetic power of a brilliant billboard ad.


Unlike other forms of advertising, billboard ads are competing against truly extreme distractors: speeds by the order of dozens of miles per hour, open (and potentially dangerous) roads, distances that make them illegible, just to name a few. To defeat these challenges, designers have come up with all sorts of rules of thumb and best practices that often result in similar, uninteresting approaches. Truly remarkable unique ads are a somewhat rare find. They masterfully combine legibility, memorability, an eye-catching power.

01. “Lightbulb” by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO for The Economist

01 lightbulg billboard.jpg

Takeaway: The best advertising techniques actively involve their audiences. In this case, bypassers are an essential part of the message.


02. “Bite” by Ogilvy & Mather Jakarta for Formula Toothcare

02 strong teech billboard.jpg

Takeaway: To reinforce a claim (like “builds strong teeth”), rethink the format and make it part of the message.


03. “Nose Hair Trimmer” by Saatchi & Saatchi Indonesia for Panasonic

04 nose hair trimmer billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Go beyond the format’s dimensions and let quotidian elements (like electric poles and wires in this case) interact with the ad.


04. “Change” by Leo Burnett for Koleston Naturals

06 creatively advertising billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Using negative space creatively can help you break through the advertising clutter.

05. “Chalkboard Menu” by DDB Warsaw for McDonald’s

07 chalkboard menu billboard.jpg

Takeaway: In an industry where ultra modern and eye-catching typography reigns, grab your audience’s attention by going retro with hand lettered elements.

06. “Penny Billboard” for Chevrolet Aveo

12 Penny billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Let users interact with your ad in meaningful ways. While freebies (or free money) won’t always be possible, there are many creative ways to involve your audience.

07. “Giant Chocolate Billboard” for Cadbury

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13 Giant Chocolate billboard.jpg


Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to escape pixel-perfection. Rather than displaying an immaculate image of the product (like a sealed chocolate bar), play with the idea of showing the product in use. Even if that means tearing your packaging apart, as in this case.

08. “Look at Me” by WCRS for Women’s Aid

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17 look at me billboard.jpg


Takeaway: Interactive ads are taking over. This example shows that involving your audience with a digital ad can be a powerful strategy to reinforce a message.

09. “Oreo Eclipse” for Oreo

20 Oreo Eclipse billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Let your brand’s advertising interact with current events. If an eclipse is garnering some major public attention, join the buzz and give your audience something else to talk about. This is true for natural phenomena as well as city-wide activities, holidays and other major events

10. “Probably The Best” by Fold7 and Mission Media for Carlsberg

24 probably mission media billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Don’t feel the need to fill up every single pixel in your design. Instead, leave some white space and set the stage to feature a strong design concept, front and center.

11. “Magic Mop” by Ig2 for The Quebec City Magic Festival

26 Magic Mop billboard.jpg

Takeaway: If you’re selling magic, bring some of it to your advertising. When it comes down to eye-catching techniques, it doesn’t get any better than visual illusions

12. “Story of the Open” by DDB New York for the U.S. Open

28 Story of the Open billboard.png

Takeaway: When your advertising becomes a living storytelling device, you can expect the audience to look forward to checking it out again. And that’s already more than we can say of 99.9% of billboard ads.

13. “Bic Razor” by TBWA UK for Bic

31 Bic Razor billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Explore ways in which the product can interact with the environment to portray it’s key value proposition. Go a step further and think figuratively: while we would never use a razor to cut grass, this brand definitely made a point that this one is as sharp as they get– and that’s a need we can connect with.

14. “Trust In Your Hands” by Y&R Chicago for Craftsman

34 Trust in your hands billboard.jpg

Takeaway: While everyone else focuses on the actual art board (30% of the space, at most), think about ways to take advantage of the full structure holding your advertising. Get creative and find the relevant approvals to get more bang for your buck.

15. “You Made It” by Tony Godzik for The Detroiter Travel Center

35 you made it billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Strong design concepts can also be simple. Transforming a formal symbol like the bathroom graphic to reflect more genuine human needs (like, “I need to pee NOW”) can be both eye-catching and hilarious.

16. “Cleans Pores, Fights Pimples” by Mike Sicam for Pond’s

36 Cleans Pores billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Sometimes the best way to activate a need (“I need a facial scrub”) is to use some empathy and let viewers identify themselves in your design. Case in point: raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to cover up your entire face because of a pimple. 

17. “Get Back To Normal” by JWT Toronto for Tylenol

37 Get Back billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Hyperbole is a dangerously useful term for designers. Used incorrectly, it can strike as annoying and over the top. Used properly, it’s the door to persuasion heaven. Play with a little exaggeration and see where it takes you.

18. “The Slide” by Walz Tetrick for The Kansas City Royals

41 The Slide billboard.jpg

Takeaway: Find the core value that you are trying to communicate and ask yourself: how can I show this without saying it?

19. “Reveal Candice’s Secret” by Viktor Angwald for Victoria’s Secret

46 Reveal Candices secret billboard.jpg

Takeaway: The radical feminist that I am, I thought I couldn’t find one valuable takeaway in this otherwise highly objectifying ad. I did, however, spot something worth replicating: the curiosity gap. Offer a piece of missing information and watch people interact with your ad in novel ways.

20. “Strong Tape” by Euro RSCG for Penline Stationery

48 Strong Tape billboard.jpg

Takeaway: What if the product you are advertising could actually have a utilitarian function for the ad? Tape, paint, paper, metal, frames, inks. Consider how the ad could become a living sample of your quality.

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