45 Genius Billboards Even Mad Men’s Don Draper Couldn’t Think OfBy Jhoana C
Ah, advertising. It could make or break your business. If your ads and billboards are ho-hum, ordinary, and bland, no one will pay attention to them, and you can bet your business will suffer. However, if you invest your money in the right people and creative minds, you can create something truly outstanding.
Billboards can be the right advertising tool if you know how to use them in your favor. Imagine the number of eyeballs spending hours inside cars while traveling. If you can capture them with your innovative idea, you will gain new customers.
Here are 45 examples of billboards that you can’t help looking at. If you’re going to use outdoor advertising in your business, maybe you can learn a thing or two from these ads.
1. This is how a headache feels like
Headaches are never fun; ask anyone who’s been frequently dealing with it, and they will tell you just how hard life has been. You can’t sleep, you can’t do the things you’re supposed to do, and you just want to curl up in bed forever.
This ad by Tylenol perfectly captures what having a headache feels like. It feels like having a wrecking ball banging on your head. No one will forget this ad anytime soon, and every time you have a headache, all you’ll be able to think of is Tylenol.
2. No more money left for advertising
Everyone knows that marketing eats up a substantial amount of any company’s budget. You have to make sure people know about your product and your brand. How do you expect to sell anything if nobody knows about you and your product?
But of course, customer service is still very important because if customers don’t have a positive experience with your company, they’re likely to shop somewhere else. This ad is both funny and clever because more people would prefer excellent customer service to excellent marketing.
3. The 2D/3D bicycle
First of all, we’d just like to mention that this building looks like a computer tower or a PC case. Secondly, this Stranger Things ad is very clever, with half of the bicycle in 3D and the other half in 2D.
We have got to give props to whoever designed this because it’s not something you see every day. People on the internet who work in marketing can’t help but comment on how much this must have cost, but who cares about budget when it looks cool, right?
4. This almost scared us
If you were driving and saw this from afar, we bet you’d be scared. What if this was a real road that required motorists to drive their vehicles as if they were riding a rollercoaster? For sure, you and whoever else is in your car would be alarmed.
We’re not surprised Hot Wheels did this, though, because they’re known for their toy cars, track sets, and other toys primarily for children. This has got to be one of our favorites because this is something you don’t see often.
5. When children draw the sky
For a moment, we almost thought that the little girl was indeed drawing the sky. We’re sure that little children who don’t know better would think, “what sort of sorcery is this that allows that girl to draw the sky?“
This ad by Faber-Castell is outstanding and we are saying that not just because we rarely see ads by the company. We are really jealous of people who work in marketing because they sure have some of the most genius ideas.
6. Ferdinand on the road
Ferdinand was an animated movie about a gentle and pacifist bull who refuses to be part of bullfighting. He was voiced by John Cena, the wrestler. Released in 2017, the movie earned almost $300 million at the box office, against a production budget of $111 million.
Ferdinand might not be as unforgettable as other movies that have come out of 20th Century Fox, but it had one of the best advertisements to be seen on the road. The picture above is proof of that. We just wish we could be as creative as the people behind it.
7. May this remind us to brush our teeth and floss daily
We sometimes get so busy with our lives, juggling a social life, a career, and a family, that we forget to do certain things. Yes, flossing and brushing are among those things. Oral hygiene is very important if you don’t want to end up with rotten teeth!
That’s exactly what this billboard by Colgate wishes to emphasize, and may we just commend the people behind this because they did a splendid job. Using the Colgate tube as a light to emphasize just how white your teeth can get when you use their product is genius.
8. Clever play on sunlight
Yup, it’s true we could save a lot of money on energy bills if we used solar energy. Solar energy is also thought of to be much friendlier to the environment. It improves air quality, reduces greenhouse gasses, and conserves water too.
Sunchips is a brand of snacks that is committed to supporting green energy, and its parent company uses solar energy to help make the chips. This billboard displayed at Toronto’s Juniper Park is an excellent way to communicate such commitment.
9. This is the bee’s knees
This billboard has got to be one of our favorites on this list. It is a good example of advertising and shows that you can help the environment as you advertise your product. Created for McDonald’s, the fast-food giant, the billboard also doubles as a bee hotel.
Although we might not agree with some of the chain’s practices, we support this initiative 100%. Without bees, there would be no food; without food, we will all perish. We are all connected and dependent on each other, so we should start treating each other better, including animals and insects.
10. Yup, a headache feels exactly like that
Why does the woman on the billboard look so serious? It’s probably because she’s experiencing a terrible headache. We have never seen anybody smiling while going through the dreadful pain of a headache, which is the feeling conveyed by this billboard.
Paralen is also another headache medication like Tylenol, although most people might be more familiar with the brand Tylenol. Ads like this one make your brand and product unforgettable to the customers. They stand out for all the right reasons.
11. This billboard was a little confusing at first
This billboard in Yonge & Dundas, Toronto, is for Fallsview Casino Resort. Yup, the casino is more than just a place where you can gamble and lose all your money. It’s also a place where you can have fun with the whole family.
See all those toys on the billboard? Those are just a few suggestions for some of the things you can buy for the little ones. There are also several activities that children and adults of all ages can enjoy in the resort.
12. Wow, that’s a lot of nose hair
Now, this is a good way to disguise wires and advertise a nose hair trimming product simultaneously. Only the best minds could come up with this, and with a company as big as Panasonic, we are sure they have plenty to spend on advertisement.
The billboard gets its point across right away. Nobody would want to look like this man with his nose hair out of control and out of whack. It’s gross, but it further underscores the importance of getting a reliable nose hair trimmer immediately.
13. Dracula comes alive at night
BBC’s Dracula is a drama-horror television series developed by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. The series premiered on the first of January 2020 and was also released on Netflix. So, how does a media giant make sure people notice and watch the show?
Like Dracula, this billboard doesn’t make sense during the daytime. As soon as night sets in, it will grab your attention. If you’re driving or walking along the road, you just might stop for a few minutes to stare at it in awe. We especially love the emergency vampire box below it.
14. You need a Coca-Cola especially during summer
Coke, we’re referring to the beverage, may be bad for your health, but you just can’t help reaching for it. They’re especially delicious during summer when temperatures are soaring, and your throat and body are in need of something cold.
This billboard serves two purposes. It advertises Coca-Cola cleverly and helps tell drivers and pedestrians the temperature. However, this billboard won’t make much sense during the cold season, so maybe they will take it down by that time of year.
15. Hooray for the iPod!
The iPod may be obsolete at this point, but it was such a big thing when it was released in 2001. It was the first music player to store an amazing one thousand songs and to have a battery that could last ten hours in a small body that weighed only 6.5 ounces.
People cannot help but feel nostalgic looking at this billboard because they see their favorite bands when they were in high school or college, bands that are no longer together today. Does this ad make you feel old? It has that effect on us.
16. Tradition and advertising
Coca-Cola is a brand that’s synonymous with fizzy drinks and soda. We’re pretty certain that everyone in the world knows or has heard about this brand. Well, maybe not everyone, but perhaps 90% of the population. As big a brand as Coke is, they still see the necessity of effective advertising.
And what better way to advertise to local people than to connect with them deeply through the use of what’s traditional in their area? For this billboard in Serbia, they employed local women to hand-knit a Coca-Cola ad. Cool, right?
17. May the force be with you
Star Wars has got to be one of the most popular franchises in the world. Who hasn’t heard of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, or Princess Leia? Even if you’re not a fan of the franchise, you have heard of it at one time or another.
When Star Wars opened in Disneyland, they cooked up something to pique people’s interest, even though they clearly didn’t need it. What the creative minds came up with is something spectacular. Who can resist this?
18. Something tiny for Ant-Man
Ant-Man may not be as popular a superhero as Thor or Iron Man, but he can be the smallest or the biggest, depending on the need. A master thief, Scott Lang was a former systems engineer and petty criminal who acquired a suit that decreased his size but increased his strength.
This tiny billboard at the bus stop is a pretty clever idea! However, didn’t they think that people may not see it at times and end up kicking the mini-billboard or stepping on it? It’s a cute billboard until you trip over it and fall flat on your face!
19. Dinosaurs on the highway
What would you do if you spotted dinosaurs along the highway? Would you run for your life? Probably. But if the dinosaur looked like this, it would pique our interest, and we might just end up making a beeline for the museum’s ticket counter.
Many people may not agree with creationism or the belief that nature and other aspects of the universe, including humans and the Earth, originated with acts of the divine. Still, you have to admit this billboard is eye-catching and serves its purpose.
20. Yup, they used only what they needed
Waste not, want not, or so they say. This billboard lives by that and goes straight to the point. This was a billboard by the Denver Water company, and we guess they wanted to remind people not to waste water.
The earth may be made up of more than 70% water, but that doesn’t mean we should waste it. Turn off the tap when not in use and reduce your shower time to conserve water. This may not be as colorful as other billboards on the list, but many people love it.
21. Monstrous mutated animals on buildings
Rampage, a movie starring The Rock, was released in 2018. The sci-fi/action/adventure film was based on the video game series of the same name. The movie studio’s advertising department did a fine job of making sure people knew about it.
Don’t you think this would cause wrecks in city streets if people didn’t know better? But of course, we’re quite sure that people nowadays would pause and ask themselves if what they’re seeing is real before they would have any reaction.
22. We’d like our pores to be that clean too
We aspire for our pores to be this clean too. Lord knows what kinds of gunk lie in there that we don’t want to dare take a closer look anymore. This is Pond’s clever take on having clean pores with the help of their facial wash.
We were just wondering if we should buy the facial wash. We will if it means the cleaner person comes with it! Others were asking if they hired a real person to stand there all day and pretend like he’s cleaning the pore.
23. Moving doesn’t have to be a pain the behind
Moving to a new location is a huge undertaking. First, you need to find a place to move to; second, you need someone to buy your old place; and third, you need to pack all your things into all sorts of boxes and get ready to move.
Nobody likes to pack and unpack, you can ask anyone, and they will all answer in the negative. This is an excellent way to help people picture the difficulty. The oversized boxes on the billboard were fabricated from solid materials and covered with weather-resistant artwork that made them look like actual boxes.
24. Isn’t this cool?
Created in the United States in August 2018, ad agency Trozzolo created this ad for United Cooling. We’re not surprised that it’s considered one of the best ads because that giant popsicle reminds you of cooling off on a hot summer’s day.
No, the company does not sell popsicles. They sell cooling products and services. When you first look at the billboard, you already have an idea of what the product and service are all about, and that’s one of the most important things advertisers can do.
25. A great billboard for a great movie
A great movie deserves a billboard that’s on the same level of excellence. If you don’t hype up a movie through billboards and advertising, no one’s going to be interested in watching the movie, no matter how good it is.
The ad agency hired by the people behind the movie Valerian did an excellent job of bringing the film to life through this billboard. They deserve kudos for a job well done, don’t you think? People who watched the movie are craving a sequel.
26. If only our cars could fit as much…
Don’t you just hate it when your car can’t fit everything you need? Well, if you’re ever looking for a car that can fit more than you can imagine or more than you want, the Honda Fit might just be what you’re looking for.
Commissioned by Grip Limited, this billboard effectively conveys the idea that Honda wanted people to have when they looked at their Fit line. Where do these people even get their ideas? Because we certainly can’t even think of these things. We’re jealous!
27. A snake on the billboard
We don’t normally see snakes on billboards, so we were happy to see this on the list. Snakes deserve their time in the spotlight just like other cute, furry animals. This was designed for Earth Day 2019, in which the theme was Protect Our Species.
Animal Planet was advocating all sorts of animals, even those most people are afraid of, and what a brilliant idea to use a snake. Lots of people are afraid of snakes, so this is definitely eye-catching. Atomic Props deserve props for this; they were worth every penny.
28. This billboard really is tough
What do you do to advertise a tough automobile that can handle anything, such as the Volkswagen Polo? You hire a company called DDB and ask them to come up with something creative and attention-grabbing, and that’s exactly what the agency did here.
To demonstrate its toughness, they had a telegraph pole crash through the billboard. To show how tough the car is, the advertiser showed that it could even hold a pole! Funnily enough, a lady called to let the company know that one of the billboards had been severely damaged by a pole.
29. Stay away from the black hole!
If you want your work to be recognized as an award-worthy campaign, you better come up with original ideas that other people have not thought of. That’s easier said than done, and a lot of creative people would agree with us.
This ad for the Liberty Science Center is one of the best we’ve seen out there. It perfectly conveys what black holes do, which is basically “spaghettify” everything that ventures too close to it. Perhaps “spaghettify” isn’t the right word, but you get our drift.
30. Is there a billboard somewhere there?
The first time we looked at this photo, we wondered if there was a billboard somewhere in there because all we could see were clouds and the sky. That’s how great of a job the ad agency did with this advertisement for Lego.
We all know Lego; they need no introduction. The company is still owned by the same family who founded it back then in 1932. You can never be too old for Lego, and we’re waiting for them to finish building up the billboard in the photo.
31. Another great ad from McDonald’s
With deep pockets, it’s no wonder McDonald’s has some of the most unforgettable and eye-catching billboards. They spare no expense in ensuring that customers know about their products, especially new launches. This ad is no exception. Subtly, it tells people how they can reach the nearest McDonald’s fast food chain.
This is a very smart ad, and it’s not too obvious. This is also something that you don’t see other chains doing with their outdoor advertising. If you want to be ahead of the competition, you want to be an innovator, and that’s what McDonald’s strives to be.
32. Some ads look even better during nighttime
When Nintendo first announced the Nintendo Switch, the company had to go all out to attract gamers. The first original (and exclusive) Switch game was Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it was a huge success. Maybe they can attribute part of that success to amazing ads like this next one.
If you were a gamer and you saw this billboard, it would make you want to buy the game, don’t you think? It would definitely have that effect on us. The way the billboard lights up and the sky changes during nighttime makes it stand out from other ads.
33. It’s all thanks to the tape!
Without 3M tape, this billboard would have fallen and crashed into the ground. Thanks to the strength and durability of 3M tapes, it managed to remain standing regardless of the weather. That’s exactly what 3M wants people to think and feel when they see the billboard.
Many people on the internet commented that they use their 3M tapes to hold together a variety of things in the household, such as vacuum cleaners. Other people also commented that the picture looks like it was photoshopped; that’s how good the ad agency is.
34. Yup, they were thinking outside the box
Thinking out of the box results in billboards and ads that are unforgettable and attention-grabbing. Displayed in Israel in November 2014, the ad was commissioned by the auto brand Mini and made by the iconic ad agency BBDO, who certainly understood the assignment.
This is a pretty simple yet creative billboard. The advertisers who came up with this design likely decided to play around with the idea of “thinking outside the box,” though they decided to take this phrase to a whole new level!
35. 3D is magic
Gone are the days when ads or billboards didn’t reach that much of an audience because they were flat and bland. Thanks to 3D, a lot of magic now happens with ads, and this is a great example. It was done by a company called Frog 3D.
The ad was for Calgary Stampede and showed balloons of different colors and a dart. Doesn’t this make you want to purchase tickets to the Calgary Stampede? It has that effect on many people because the ad makes the event seem like a fun one.
36. Don’t panic, it’s organic!
This is a billboard we’re 100% behind because it is not only creative but also 100% organic and natural. You don’t have to worry about this billboard having an impact on the environment. It won’t rot, and it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.
These eco-friendly outdoor billboards are for the Toyota Prius. They were made in the hopes of reminding people that just like the car itself, Toyota is committed to making their ads environment-friendly too. The billboards will simply go back to wherever they came from once the campaign ends.
37. Even the cows support Chick-fil-A
If you’re into fast food, or even if you eat only once in a while, you must have a favorite. This 3D billboard made by Atomic Props was for Chick-fil-A, the popular fast food chain that is considered the home of the original chicken sandwich.
The cows want their voices to be heard and let people know that even the cows think Chick-fil-A is the best. The cows certainly want to be spared being included in the burgers hence their support for the fast food chain, even if they can’t spell right.
38. That’s hot!
To quote the immortal words of Paris Hilton, “That’s hot!” Those words were the first thing that came to mind when we saw this pic of a billboard in Dabur, India, for Capsico Sauce. Doesn’t Capsico look a lot like Tabasco?
Well, it’s probably because Dabur’s Capsico Sauce is basically the Indian version of Tabasco. The company is popular for its red pepper sauce, which gives flavor to a variety of meals. Consider this billboard a warning if you have a low tolerance for spicy food!
39. It doesn’t get more real-time than this
In this day, where everyone is busy, we all want updates in real time. We want real-time news and real-time weather reports, and it doesn’t get more real-time than this billboard. They must have also saved quite a bit of money on this, as they only used a billboard frame.
The only problem we have with the billboard is that the text is too small to be seen by motorists. The billboard would have been perfect if the text were bigger, but you can’t have it all, right? If you look too closely at it, it looks like a neglected billboard.
40. Coke encourages people to recycle
Coke may be a big name when it comes to beverages, but the company doesn’t think that it is above recycling. In fact, Coke promotes recycling, and this billboard is proof of that. Hitting two birds with one stone, the ad not only advertises the brand but also points people to the nearest recycling bin.
Although a lot of people are advocates of healthy eating and would not recommend soda, there’s no way they can’t get behind this campaign. If you’re all for healthy eating, you’re most probably supportive of recycling and saving the environment.
41. The Mini’s safety ad
This ad in Malaysia promotes the new Mini, and it’s meant to tell people how safe the new Mini is. It also reminds them to make sure that their seat belts are on at the same time. Many people would like to think that the latter is also true.
However, some people on the internet are pointing out that it’s not the way safety works in cars. Well, everyone is free to have their own interpretation of the billboard, but seatbelts are definitely the safe way to go, so the company was not completely wrong here.
42. Can’t get any fresher than that
Creativity is the name of the game if you want to create buzz and engage consumers, especially those that are not your customers yet. You mustn’t be afraid to gamble on an idea that others might think is too forward-thinking.
This billboard for Bojangles effectively communicates how their biscuit is made from scratch and is made every 20 minutes. You can’t get any fresher than that, can you? This also reminds people how Bojangles is Charlotte’s most famous spot and magic gets done there.
43. This billboard made people want to go on vacation
This billboard evokes two different feelings from people. First, it gets them excited to book a flight to the Bahamas or somewhere tropical. Secondly, it makes people who can’t go on vacation angry because they’re stuck in a cold city instead!
New York City is not necessarily a bad place to be stuck in, but when it’s winter time and the whole place is freezing and you see this billboard reminding you of how sunny and warm it is in the Caribbean, it might just ruin your day.
44. Well, somebody is clearly on a break
KitKat is one of the most famous chocolate brands on the planet. The chocolate-covered wafer bar was created by Rowntree’s and is now produced and distributed globally by Nestle, another big name in chocolates. The brand’s slogan is so famous that people recognize it right away.
KitKat’s slogan has always been, “Have a break, Have a KitKat,” and this billboard hit the right spot. While you might think that this billboard is simply not finished yet, you got tricked by the advertiser. Everything you see in the picture is a marketing ploy, from the unfinished billboard to the abandoned ladder.
45. The sad dog
A lot of people on the internet cried their hearts out when they saw this dog because he was clearly unhappy. Why? Look a little closer and farther down, and you will see the tennis ball. Yup, the dog is sad because it can’t get to the tennis ball.
A lot of people didn’t get the ad right away the first time they saw it, and others had to point it out to them for it to make sense. Truthfully, we’re glad we’re not the only ones because we didn’t understand this ad the first time we saw it!