Everywhere you turn, there is a billboard waiting to catch your eye. We’re overwhelmed with them daily, the only issue is, the billboards themselves are usually very underwhelming. Most of these billboards are boring and unoriginal. But, every once in a while, there comes an ad that is so witty, beautiful (or just plain smart) that you can’t help but wonder what genius mind created it. Check out 30 of our favorite examples!
For those who don’t know, The Economist is an English-language weekly newspaper based in London. They are known for their witty articles, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that they decided to take a smart approach when creating their billboards.
Other than the fact that this billboard is visually aesthetic – its minimalism is brilliant. Having a giant light bulb with a motion sensor built-in is bound to make you look twice as you drive by.
As children, we would make up our imaginary worlds in our heads – one where anything was possible. We would turn those worlds into reality, thanks to Lego. The creative team at Lego understood this when they went about designing this billboard.
Other than the fact that they did an excellent job perfecting a replica of this street, this ad brings us back to our childhood and makes us want to go back to our parents’ house to spend hours building our own Lego worlds.
Once again, McDonald’s knows how to make an advertisement. Just looking at this billboard makes us want to get up and go to our local Mickey Dee’s. McDonald’s knows that their french fries are famous globally and that they may as well be the world’s most delicious french fries.
Placing a large photo of french fries on a skyscraper as a human chain steals one is giving us all the feels. Yes, keep your eyes on your fries before someone steals one!
We are genuinely surprised that Coca-Cola still think they need to advertise themselves. The beverage can pretty much sell itself, in fact, every time we see the Coca-Cola shade of red, we get a sudden urge to indulge in the soda-pop.
Somehow, the Coca-Cola company outdoes itself in advertising time and time again. We’re not sure if they paid for this crane to be placed perfectly behind the billboard or if it was a sweet coincidence – either way, it is working for them.
Cingular is known for its slogan, “raising the bar” when it comes to cellular service. They should also be known for raising the bar when it comes to billboards as well. Yes, we hate dropped calls, and double yes, we love everything about this.
It is exactly what we want when we think of a good advertisement. It would have been good even if the word “calls” wasn’t on the ground, but the fact that they went the extra mile and added this small touch has us applauding.
Royal Baking Powder
What better way to advertise baking powder than by baking a huge cake? Ok, so maybe Royal didn’t bake a cake, but they did manage to awaken our craving for a delicious layered birthday cake.
By the looks of it, this billboard was displayed on an apartment building, and the apartment to the far top-right was not willing to give their window up. It’s either that or the incomplete cake was meant to look like someone took a bite out of it.
Advertising the police is a challenging move to make. Law enforcement is usually a controversial subject, and ads dedicated to them usually get covered in graffiti or, worse, ripped down.
This Korean billboard shows that the police are there to protect and reassure, “holding up” the swing as the policeman looks down at it. We don’t even need to know what is written to completley understand the message. This positive and heartwarming message is inspirational and has got to be one of our favorites.
We admit, it took us a couple of moments to understand exactly what was going on in this ad. Siemens, you have outdone yourself. Seriously, who is the genius that came up with using revolving doors as cake mixers? It makes so much sense.
We feel as if every time we look at revolving doors, we’ll be seeing cake mixers and vice versa. We’re just glad these doors don’t spin as fast as an actual Siemens cake mixer…
No, this isn’t a hoop on a basketball court, it is a very clever and straightforward YMCA ad. The organization used its billboard sign (that looks slightly higher than the appropriate height) and turned it into a hoop.
We like that they decided not to use any words and just added their infamous logo – it speaks for itself. It’s a shame they didn’t turn this whole field into a basketball court – but then again, that may defeat the purpose of trying to get people to sign up for the Y.
Calgary International Film Festival
The Calgary International Film Festival came out with a series of billboards that looked like this. The tears on these models’ faces look so real, and that’s because they are.
They aren’t real tears, but the billboards featured a 3D effect of “tears”, as if you were to look at this sign from up close, you would see that the tearlike drops are coming out of the signs! We love that they are proud to be the best – publically announcing that only the best films make it.
At first, we thought this was a paint ad, but then as we looked a little closer, we realized it was, in fact, a Nationwide insurance billboard. Since insurance is a product that is hard to advertise, insurance companies have to get creative, and that is exactly what Nationwide did.
Not only does it catch your eye, it is original and witty. We’re guessing this billboard is one of a kind seeing as it doesn’t seem likely that parking lots around different cities would allow this – unless maybe they were covered by Nationwide?
Timing is everything when it comes to billboards like the one displayed here. Something as simple as a construction site turned this plain advertisement into a very sharp one. It’s hard to be original when it comes to advertising gyms – there is not much room for “thinking out of the box” after all, they’re attempting to sell you your own potential.
Powerhouse Gym managed to spin the placement of this billboard to their favor, and it genuinely looks as though this guy is lifting this crane. We’re not big gym buffs – but sign us up!
The San Francisco Zoo
Imagine being this close to a bear – well, at The San Francisco Zoo, you can (most likely behind glass). This billboard is a rather beautiful one, it emphasizes the similarities between animals and humans while hinting at the fact that animals add extra color to our lives – the bear paws are colorful in comparison to the human feet, which are grey.
The connection between animals and humans is often a nonverbal one, and this advertisement manages to depict that special bond.
It’s all fun and games until your car is dangling off the side of a parking lot. The first thing that comes to mind looking at this is, “we hope they have car insurance.” Allstate got creative when they thought up this billboard. They also succeeded in giving us a mini heart attack!
They did an excellent job of advertising their product – insurance. We hope no one is ever in a scenario quite like this, but if they are, Allstate has got them covered.
Everyone remembers Axe – if you’re a guy, you would spray it on, how can we phrase this lightly, generously. And if you’re a girl, you probably remember that your high school crush smelled like the deodorant, which could be easily mistaken for a cheap cologne.
We’re pretty sure that is the angle Axe was taking with this billboard. We’re not sure that we like it, but we do understand it… If you use Axe, so many girls will want you, you’ll have to start keeping a calendar.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Sometimes, you need more than one billboard to make a point. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science rented out three billboards – one placed after another as if you were unwrapping a chocolate bar.
Yes, this hits our sweet tooth – but it also makes us want to check out the chocolate exhibition they are advertising. Most people spend their weekends in front of the television, or going to the movies, when’s the last time you went to a museum?
We have so many questions when looking at this billboard. First of all, how did they manage to stick a Mini onto a brick wall? And more importantly, how did they succeed at making a Bat-Signal that projects as far out as what looks like outer space?
We understand the “let there be xenon” reference, but other than that, this billboard is beyond us. It looks like a safety hazard, and although it is original, it also seems like they could have taken a different route (literally) when creating this.
You have got to love an interactive billboard, companies get to advertise while knowing they are reaching people in various ways. IBM nailed this concept – making a series of very minimal, “smart idea” billboards.
It didn’t take much, just a couple of plaques shaped differently, each perfectly fit for its cause. We love that each one of these ads has a different color scheme. Whether you need a bench or are seeking shelter from the rain, IBM is looking out for you. So effortless – yet so effective.
Colorado State Patrol
Although many billboards are used for advertising products and companies, some are used for public announcements and warnings. The Colorado State Patrol takes tailgating trucks very seriously and made that very clear when they put up these two signs.
Their message sticks the hard truth straight in your face, but it is an important one nonetheless. What we love most about this billboard is that you can feel the message without reading what’s written – the lower image is worth a thousand words.
Lego outdid themselves again with this beautiful billboard. They turned something as simple as blue and white legos and turned them into a beautiful blue sky with plush fluffy clouds.
The toy company managed to take something designed for children and transform it into a dream world for adults. Looking at this billboard makes us want to drive to our local toy store and buy all of their Legos, in hopes that somehow we build something that resembles this.
The Day After Tomorrow
At first glance, it looks like this billboard accidentally washed up on this shore. If you’ve seen the movie, The Day After Tomorrow, you know that this is no weird coincidence. This billboard was strategically placed to make it seem like it was washed up on the shore.
The movie focuses on a sudden storm that begins to plunge the entire planet into an ice age. This billboard placement is genius. It makes us feel like we are living in the film.
Ikea is known for its ready-to-assemble furniture. Over the years, it has become somewhat of a worldwide joke. The world is divided into two different kinds of people, ones that know how to assemble Ikea furniture, and those who don’t. We know which of the two groups of people this add is catered to.
We love it – they took what would have been a very simple billboard and turned it into a smart, witty way to make fun of their customers while advertising something beneficial.
Carnival Cruise Line
This is the perfect example of the proper utilization of space. Carnival Cruise Line used a fire escape to make it look like it was a part of their water park billboard. Ads for cruises aren’t usually that original, in their defense, it is kind of hard to be original when you are trying to sell a boat ride.
Carnival had this wonderful idea, and we hope no one walked up the stairs in hopes of sliding down a slide and make their way to The Bahamas.
It took us a couple of minutes to realize this was a billboard and not a ruined building. We don’t understand what is written on this billboard, but we do know it is a public announcement warning people to remember to turn off the gas when they leave their homes.
It is hard to look at, we know, but nothing hits the spot much like the truth. We’re sure that since seeing this, the residents of this city checked the gas twice before leaving their homes.
We’re sure you’ve been on a road trip or a long ride where all you could think about was stopping at the next rest stop and chowing down on a burger. For us, most times we realized that there was a rest stop, we missed the exit and had to drive another 30 miles before getting off of the highway.
Oldtimer made sure no one would ever miss their rest stop by turning this tunnel into a woman’s mouth. It seems like a win-win situation for us.
Remember, whenever you put open something with your teeth, your mom would scold you and say that you would end up breaking your teeth? Well, imagine what she would say if she saw this billboard. We wonder what went into perfecting this billboard.
It’s more than the idea, and it’s the execution that went into this ad. It is a pretty smart advertisement if you ask us, it makes us want to buy the toothpaste – we want stronger teeth!
Just looking at this, we can smell the freshly baked batch of blueberry muffins. It looks so delicious we almost want to bite out of the perfectly placed muffin that “accidentally” fell on the hood of this red car.
We’re guessing that is what Bloom was going for when they decided to make a 3D pan of muffins their featured billboard. For those who don’t know, Bloom is a grocery store, and we find it amazing that they went above and beyond with their advertisements.
What better way to advertise a courier and mail service than turning their billboard into a box? They are giving the people exactly what they are selling – and they are advertising themselves most accurately.
You cannot drive by this billboard without thinking to yourself, “wait, did I ever mail back that book my uncle lent me back in Christmas of 1999?” Ok, maybe that was a bit specific, but something like this must have come up for you at some point.
Yes, they are our star advertisers on this list, but look at this, can you blame us? McDonald’s made their infamous M using two lights. How simple, right? Simple, and yet it has our minds blown.
No sign or advertisement spells out that this is a McDonald’s ad, and yet we instantly knew that this was none other than a McDonald’s billboard. Every time we see a McDonald’s ad, we don’t think it can get any better – but then it does.
Benjamin Moore Paints
Selling paint doesn’t seem tricky, does it? Now, try coming up with an original idea for a paint advertisement. Harder than it initially sounds, right? Benjamin Moore Paints came up with a simple, original billboard for their paint, and it works.
At first glance, it looks like they put up a paint sample that matches the sky. If you look a little harder, you notice that the sample is seethrough, and you are looking at the sky itself. They have a color for every shade and with a slogan like, “we’ll match it,” we believe it.
McDonald’s are back at it again with their genius advertisements. We don’t know who is in charge of advertising at the franchise, but we want to be their best friend, we need this type of brilliance in our lives.
Their team turned this billboard into a sundial, proving that every hour is a McDonald’s hour. Whether it is coffee or a bagel, McDonald’s knows what you want, and they are waiting for you to come and get it.
Nose Hair Trimmer
This August 2009 outdoor billboard was created by the advertising firm, Saatchi & Saatchi Indonesia. Produced for the electronics company Panasonic, this advertisement goes beyond the format’s dimensions, allowing everyday elements — electric poles and wires, in this case — to interact with the ad.
While trimming nose hair isn’t necessarily anyone’s favorite activity, as it can be painful and risky, letting your display interact with the environment the way this one is can be a clever tactic to draw attention.
Call us crazy but this McDonald’s billboard advertisement is giving us some old-school feels. After all, it is a chalkboard. Created by DDB — an advertising agency in Warsaw, Poland — this ad was designed to grab people’s attention by going retro with “chalk” hand-lettered elements.
With its eye-catching graphics and ultra-retro typography, it would come as no surprise if someone saw the ad and decided to pull over for a Big Mac at good ‘old Macky D’s. This is one way to take a different approach…
Back in 2008, Chevrolet created absolute chaos when the automobile company released a 20-foot interactive billboard advert made up entirely of one-pence coins on New Oxford Street in London.
The ad itself, which consisted of 20,000 pennies, was designed to advertise the 769,500-pence starting price of the new Aveo Chevrolet at the time. And while it may not have taken very long for passer-byers to strip the billboard clean of all change, it was most definitely the way to attract attention.
While this ad itself may seem simple, there’s no denying that it’s also eyecatching. Edina Realty Home Services, a real estate company in Minnesota, wanted to create the illusion of stacked boxes. While they may have gone with a more traditional route or method with a horizontal billboard space, Edina still played with dimensions in order to catch some additional attention.
Where users might expect another flat board ad, this one provides a 3D experience that leaves passer-byers wondering what the brand is all about.
There’s no denying that Coca-Cola uses cutting-edge innovation in order to advertise the brand successfully. Coca-Cola, together with Ogilvy & Mather, installed a “drinkable billboard” in New York that literally shot soda through a massive straw into a public drinking fountain.
During each cycle, the liquid flowed from a giant bottle through the undulating straw that spells out “Taste It,” and right into a sleek seven-valve dispenser unit located at the foot of the billboard. The brand designed and developed this entirely drinkable campaign in order to get more people to try Coke Zero. Nothing like combining outdoor advertising and sampling in one…
This Mazda sticky note billboard was created leading up to the opening of the LA Auto Show in 2014. It was designed and brought to life by Ree Nguyen, who won an OBIE award for this, as he successfully demonstrated out-of-home advertising expansion into digital.
After creating the billboard itself, Nguyen covered it in giant 3D post-it notes “next to a large parking lot, a.k.a., the 405 freeway. We then removed the post-it notes one by one throughout the week slowly revealing the All-New Mazda3.”
Okay, guys — is this advertisement super creative or what? Not only is it completely functional in which it digitally displays the exact time for anyone that’s driving by, but it’s so innovative that it may even be able to attract an audience that wouldn’t normally be interested in the brand.
An outdoor ad created by Bernstein-Rein, this Micky D’s campaign promotes their round-the-clock hours. Now that we’re thinking about it, this advertisement is probably dangerous for anyone who’s trying to stay away from late-night snacking…
This outdoor advertisement was created for BIC by TBWA London, an award-winning international creative agency. And after having a look at this specific ad, we can honestly understand why they’ve received accolades for their work.
This billboard explores the ways in which the product can interact with the environment so while we would never actually use a razor to cut the lawn, BIC makes a point of basically stating that their razors are as sharp as it gets.
When You’re Coming Apart at the Seams
Colorado Crisis Services has worked with Lamar — an outdoor advertising company — to take creativity to new heights with their bulletin campaigns. The top billboard is a great example of using brain teasers in order to get a message across whereas the bottom ad integrates the copy by using a thick piece of “rope” to hold each side of the board together.
And while Colorado Crisis Services does deal with grave situations, the company does an exceedingly good job at advertising their services and grabbing a person’s attention without bringing too much emotion into play.
Get Back to Normal
Together with the help of JWT Toronto — the world’s best-known marketing communications brand — Tylenol created an advertising campaign that suggests their medicine is the best way to help you overcome the worst of headaches and “get back to normal.”
Through this picture of a man in agony and the creative use of a wrecking ball, this billboard demonstrates just how severe this guy’s headache actually is. Luckily, Tylenol is here to save the day and take all that pain away!
Nothing spells out joy quite like a trip to Ikea. Ikea knows this and used it to their benefit in the most Ikea way possible – they turned their billboard into a living room that literally spells out JOY! This billboard was put up around holiday season – the color scheme they chose to use was a very festive yet homey one.
Looking at this sign we feel like we’ve been magically transported into our grandparent’s house on Christmas eve, waiting for our grandma’s famous cooking and our grandpa’s famous hugs!
When elections come around, political parties pull out all stops in order to ensure their party gets as much headway as possible. This kind of exposure usually includes buttons, hats, shirts, poster and sometimes even billboards.
We’re used to seeing pretty bland political billboards, that feature the name of whoever is running along with the year and a catchy tagline.This has taken political publication to a whole new level – this elephant is so lifelike we thought someone actually put an animal up there!
If you’re looking at this billboard in broad daylight, it may confuse you. It confused us. But as the sun goes down, you start to notice the scattered wood sticking out of the billboard turns into the shadow of Dracula.
This type of advertisement takes more than just a brilliant mind – it also takes talent and an artistic touch. We can’t help but wonder if the BBC may use this trick again in the future, it seems like something too good to give up.
Looking at this shoe, you know it’s an Adidas as the three signature stripes give it away. This environmentally friendly billboard helps alleviate air pollution while managing to sell what it sells best, shoes.
It is beautiful and inspiring, we hope that more major companies take this sort of advertisement as an example and do the same themselves – if you do it right, you’ll manage to sell your product. Just as Adidas succeeded in doing.
Leave it to Spotify to use our weakest moments and make phenomenal billboards out of them. This billboard speaks volumes (literally) – showing us that we’re just like everyone else, and listening to “sad indie” playlists on our Spotify accounts is what everyone else does when they go through bad breakups.
This is exactly what those playlists were made for – for you and those 641,802 people who are currently pushing through a “mutual” breakup.
What we love most about this billboard is that it can be read in two different tones. Either the Robbins brothers are hinting you better get it together and buy her that ring (you know who you are). Or, that you and your soon-to-be-fiancé can pick out the engagement ring together.
This billboard is not so much about the design as it is about the message you receive when you read it. We’re guessing that whoever this billboard applies to knows exactly what they are supposed to do!
Philly Wants LeBron
These three billboards, paid for by a Pennsylvania-based company, popped up in Ohio, urging LeBron James to sign with the 76ers as a free agent. The best thing about this billboard in our opinion is that a Pennsylvania company paid for them to be propped up in Ohio – talk about a savage move!
Not one, but three consecutive billboards, coming one after the other to prove their point. We wonder if LeBron ever ended up seeing this strategic move!
For those who may not know, Rama is a South African butter company. Knowing this puts this billboard into perspective, giving it a whole new meaning. Other than the fact that this billboard is aesthetically pleasing and so high-quality, it looks like this scene is happening as we look at it – what a great way to advertise butter!
Instead of using the typical approach to selling the dairy product, Rama managed to turn their advertisement into a real dream come true!
Surprisingly enough, Sarova is a hotel and resort company in Kenya, Africa. At first glance, we were sure this was a PETA ad – it has that much of an impact.
Leopards are known for eating their lunch in trees and seeing as though there are no more trees, they have no choice other than to hang out on a streetlight. Although this is an ad, it’s a great way to get their message across!
Tell us you aren’t licking your lips just looking at this billboard? We know we are! Bloom has a way of making their larger-than-life food ads look appetizing.
This one’s so appealing in fact, that we just want to climb up this huge fork and take a bite out of this steak. We wonder how much the meat sales went up at the Bloom supermarket closest to this billboard following its debut.
Do you think the person living in this apartment got a lifetime supply of Coca-Cola after agreeing to let the company use their window for this creative billboard? If Coca-Cola were to approach us with such an offer, we would have no choice other than to agree! We love almost everything about this!
There is just one detail we aren’t big fans of…and that is the fact that Coca-Cola decided to advertise using a plastic straw instead of a reusable one…
Paradise Pools & Spas, Inc.
To any parent driving past this billboard sign with their children in the backseat – we’re sorry on Paradise’s behalf. We’re guessing that after seeing this billboard, your kids won’t stop begging you to buy a pool – hey, we can’t blame them!
The look on this kid’s face is priceless – bringing us back to our fondest childhood memories spending summers in our neighbor’s pool. If buying a pool isn’t in this year’s budget – try finding a neighbor that’s kind enough to let you use theirs, it worked for our parents!
We can’t help but wonder how long this Dunkin Donuts sign was up for before its grand opening. We can just imagine the people that use this road to get to and from work.
Driving past this sign day after day, night after night, just counting the days before they get their hands on a Donut and a good old cup of joe before their next commute. This billboard has inspired us to stop by our local Dunkin Donuts on our drive home!
Bojangles’ is known for its world-famous chicken and biscuits. Instead of advertising their chicken on their billboard, they went for a more original approach – they’re advertising their made-from-scratch batter. If you’ve ever tasted their biscuits, you know that they are simply out of this world.
Looking at this billboard, we can’t help but wonder what that secret ingredient is – the one that differentiates their biscuits from everyone else’s. Do you think that if we asked politely enough, they would let us in on their secret?
Saint Luke’s Health System
As we have seen, billboards have been utilized in so many different ways, from public announcements to advertisements, the huge signs will reach you in many different places in life.
Believe it or not, hospitals need advertising as well – but how do you turn a hospital advertisement into an interesting one, one that will make people stop and think? You use what you have at hand, Saint Luke’s Health System is turning unbelievable into believable, and impossible into possible.
You know how as a child, your parents would tell you that if you drank milk, you would grow up to be big and strong? Well, if we saw this ad, we would believe it to be true. We would drink all the milk in the world – which is probably what Anando Milk was going for.
Using two billboards to create this optical illusion of a child actually pushing out part of this high-rise building is beyond genius, and to be honest, we can’t stop looking at it.
Before there were iPods, we would spend hours working on mixtapes, making playlists, determining which songs would make the cut and which wouldn’t. At the end of the day, there is so much music in the world, not even the greatest playlist could capture what iTunes managed to succeed.
This billboard is so simple yet so accurate – all the music in the world is at the click of a button, all you needed was iTunes and an iPod.
Car safety is no joke! Companies that promote safe driving almost always have a way of getting their message across, whether it’s a commercial, radio ad or billboard, you know that it’s going to hit hard – as it should. n!
This billboard has got us holding on tight to our seats, looking at it we feel like we’re about to get flung into the air. They managed to get their message across loud and clear, so if you’re one of the people that think that sitting in the back seat makes you invincible – think again!
No words are needed to explain this billboard – we’ve all been there. We love this larger than life 3D used toilet paper roll – next to it, is a strategically placed bottle of Imodium.
We hope we aren’t in a situation where we’re in need of the product, but after seeing this creative billboard, we know what we’re going to be purchasing on our next trip to the pharmacy! There is no harm in having a bottle around – just in case!
If this doesn’t make you want to buy a Craftsman wrench, we’re not sure what will. The message is simple yet empowering – the billboard is straightforward, yet somehow it is so in your face there is no way you could drive by this without thinking to yourself, “wow, that is one heck of a billboard.”
We love that instead of selling the tool itself – they decided to use uplifting words. It’s true, you should trust in your own hands!
We’re not going to lie – we are partial to almost everything McDonald’s does. That being said, you have to admit, this sign is pretty awesome. This creative team turned a streetlight into a coffeepot and a coffee cup – genius. Pure genius.
We love the thought and creativeness that goes into taking an everyday item, a streetlight, and turning it into something so unique. Of course, you could say the idea isn’t that complex, but honestly, we would never have thought to do something like this.
Before the internet made advertising easy, people would advertise themselves by putting up flyers with their phone numbers written on small tabs you could rip off. If you were interested, you could take a slip with the number.
We love this billboard, Oskar Jensen took something very personal and nostalgic and managed to work it, making the sign uncomplicated and accessible. They claim that their office spaces are unique in every way – considering this is their ad, we believe them.
When it comes to buying a car, you have a variety of choices and things to take into consideration. For some, speed is key, and for others, it’s all about safety. When parents go out to purchase a vehicle, one thing they look out for is space.
Whether you’re carpooling or going on vacation – it is important that your car fits whatever necessity is crucial for that specific occasion. Honda understood this with an excellent billboard, and they even started their own hashtag – #fitwhatever.