With the rise of smartphones and mobile internet, just about everyone is plugged in to the grid at all times. It makes sense, therefore, that the business and advertising worlds would be all a twitter over the potential power of â€œviral marketing.â€ Still, even the most effective electronic marketing campaign canâ€™t grab and hold your attention like a good old-fashioned billboard. You probably canâ€™t remember what the Groupon deal was last Wednesday, but Iâ€™d be willing to bet that if you saw some of the billboards listed below you would remember it for a couple weeks and tell 5 or 10 people about it. But donâ€™t take my word for it. Have a look at these 15 creative billboards and judge for yourself.
15. Unintentionally Hilarious Billboard Neighbors
Well, they probably didnâ€™t plan this billboard this way, but the effect certainly is memorable. I bet everyone who saw this double billboard told about 20 different people about it. And as they say, all publicity is good publicity. So it really couldnâ€™t have worked out better for Giant Food/Pharmacy and Dickâ€™s Sporting Goods.
14. Marley and Me Billboard Grafitti
Here we see that someone took it upon themselves to add a key piece of information originally omitted from the advertising campaign for the movie Marley and Me. I know itâ€™s illegal, and vandalism shouldnâ€™t be encouraged, etc. But I have to admit, I kind of like the idea of people not taking less-than-honest ad campaigns lying down. I mean, these people made like the movie was all fluffy puppy dog kisses that would make the whole family feel warm and fuzzy when, in fact, anyone who took their kids to see it had to spend 6 hours consoling them as they cried their eyes out.
13. Hot Wheel Loopty Loop Billboard
Simple yet brilliant. For starters, youâ€™d probably tell at least a few people about the awesome Hot Wheels billboard out on I-64. More importantly, next time you passed a Hot Wheels display at a toy store, youâ€™d probably think, â€œyeah, Hot Wheels, those would be a great gift for little Billy.â€
12. Arbyâ€™s: Billboard Pirates
I know this one may not seem like much, but it truly is geniusâ€”effective, and super cheap. Advertising agency Fletcher Martin came up with the concept of simply floating an Arbyâ€™s balloon over an existing billboard to make it look like the person in the advertisement is really thinking about Arbyâ€™s. So, in this case, Channel 46 paid who know how many thousands of dollars for the billboard space and Arbyâ€™s basically steals it for about $10. (Now please excuse me while I go get myself a Beef â€˜n Cheddar sandwich.)
11. Less Is More
Sometimes people remember the billboard. And, as Denver Water proves here, at other times people remember the not billboard. What an effective ad, no?
10. The Economist Makes You Think
Hey, no one likes to be dumb, right? Well, I mean, certain political actors like to make a big deal about how theyâ€™re not fancy east coast elites with fancy educations, but I think most of us would prefer to be regarded as at least somewhat intelligent. And this ad by The Economist very cleverly appeals to that natural preference. Read our magazine, have bright ideas. Iâ€™m sold.
9. McDonaldâ€™s Sundial
McDonaldâ€™s is the most famous restaurant chain on the planet, and part of the reason for this is that they continue to come up with creative ways to promote their brand. Case in point: this billboard advertising McDonaldâ€™s breakfast that is also a functioning sundial. Of course, the sundial has nothing to do with the product. But itâ€™s memorable, so the idea of â€œMcDonaldâ€™s Breakfastâ€ will stick in your head.
8. Donâ€™t Kiss Butt to Get Ahead
I guess this is not technically a billboard. But itâ€™s large, and itâ€™s an advertisement, so I put it on the list. Besides, you can be damned sure every single person walking through that giant butt will remember to check out that career website. So, yeah, gross but effective.
7. Adidasâ€™ Goalie Billboard
If this billboard were found in the U.S., it would be safe to assume that this billboardâ€”which arches over an entire four-lane highwayâ€”is selling soccer itself as much as any of Adidasâ€™ soccer products. However, since this billboard was in fact just outside Munich, Germany, we can safely say that itâ€™s just selling apparel, not the sport.
6. Chevroletâ€™s Electric Car Billboard
Everyoneâ€™s keen on fuel efficiency these days. But the pure electric car still has an uphill battle in the current marketplace since they have long been perceived as wimpy automobiles. This eye-catching ad is one way to change that public perception. (It also helps that the Chevy Volt looks a lot like the very popular Chevy Camero.)
5. Cingularâ€™s Dropped Calls Billboard
As you can see, this Cingular Wireless billboard had the desired effect. People donâ€™t just look at it; they stop to take their picture in front of it. Unfortunately, that didnâ€™t prevent singular from getting gobbled up by competitor AT&T and turning into the lowest-rated wireless company in terms of customer satisfaction.
4. Suicide Billboard
Apparently this billboard advertising a shopping mall reads something like, â€œItâ€™s better to invest your money here than put it into the stock market.â€ It surely got everyoneâ€™s attention, but you would think there was probably a decent amount of backlash after this billboard.
3. 3D Wonderbra Billboard
Itâ€™s always a good idea to take things people love and put them together. Itâ€™s called synergy. In this case, some genius realized, â€œHey people love 3D stuff. People love boobs. So how about a billboard with 3D boobs?â€ And to make sure they covered all their bases, they created a little viral publicity to advertise the advertisement. Now you can appreciate the Wonderbra on a number of levels.
2. Milk Billboard
This clever billboard heralding the nutritional benefits of milk is from Mumbai, India. The objective sought by advertising agency McCann Erickson was to give milk an image that could compete with the appeal of soda and energy drinks. Obviously, what this billboard suggests is milk makes you strong. Iâ€™d say their objective was met. What kid would find this billboard captivating?
1. The Paint Spill
House paint is a mundane product. Itâ€™s something everybody needs every couple years or so, but, like milk or eggs, few people really care what brand they use. We pretty much just buy whatever they happen to sell at the closest hardware store. So the challenge for paint companies is to make their product stand out from all the others so that people might actually think about which paint to choose. And I would say this amazing billboard meets that challenge.