Outdoor Advertising That Gets Noticed


In the year 1965, there were no smart phones or laws concerning texting while driving. Heck, most cars didn’t even come with safety belts. The most dangerous things on our roads were the billboards. U.S. First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, was campaigning to regulate the number of billboards that could clutter our nation’s beautiful highways. She prevailed. The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 was voted into law. Since then, outdoor advertising has had rules to obey. And since then, advertising agencies have been busy looking for ways to break whatever rules they can. Here are the success stories:

The Minnesota Clear Way action committee erected a billboard that has successfully stopped its share of traffic.  Using three-dimensional cigarettes to create prison bars, this head-turning outdoor ad communicates without a single word: smoking is a prison. The board is part of an integrated effort that drives Minnesotans to a website that advances the group’s anti-tobacco agenda.

Caribou Coffee used this clever bus shelter idea to communicate that they were introducing hot breakfast sandwiches to cold Minneapolis commuters. If you have ever spent a winter in Minnesota you can well appreciate the functional value of this heated shelter. Toasty!

Wonderbra uses this powerful bus shelter idea to break some rules and a bit of glass.

A few years back Nationwide Insurance launched this over-the-top reminder that things can go bump in the night or in broad daylight, for that matter. The campaign pay off line: “Life comes at you fast.” Wow, not very good advertising for Coop Paints, huh?

IBM did a series of functional outdoor ads for their “Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities” campaign. They included a sign that functioned as a bench, a poster that added a ramp beside some steps and a wall mural that had its own awning to help pedestrians get out of the rain. A big hit in Seattle.

This witty Winter Olympics promotion for VitaminWater turns a bus bench into a ski lift. Nice skis.

Kit Kat candy bars couldn’t help but notice that a transit bench looks an awful lot like a candy bar. Excellent choice, sir. I believe I’d sit on the wrapper side, too.

This amazing makeshift aquarium uses live fish to promote Fisch Franke, a Frankfurt-based seafood restaurant. See any floaters? No? Wait a day.

This stunning bit of trompe l’oiel wraps a city bus in graphics that simulate a giant boa constrictor at the Copenhagen Zoo. I sure hope it’s not a petting zoo.

Ready for a cold one? So is the giant hand on the other side of this Heineken vinyl wrap. Very cool! And a little creepy.

Looking for ways to make your brand stand out in a crowd? We’d be happy to help. Check back for more ideas.

We are a Dallas Advertising Agency specializing in integrated marketing.

Artie Megibben is the Executive Creative Director at Agency Creative, a full-service strategic advertising agency committed to connecting brands to customers through idea-driven solutions.