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Mario Marsicano
9 Innovative Outdoor Ads
by Mario Marsicano - May 29, 2009 - 5:08 PM


When I first saw this health club bus shelter ad with a scale built into the seat, my first reaction was, “That’s brutal.” But my second thought was it would definitely get my attention. Recently, I’ve seen quite a few examples of unique outdoor advertising. Here are a few of them…

Tryvann Ski Resort


Tryvann Winter Park is fifteen minutes from the center of Oslo, Norway. And while Oslo is completely clear, it could be snowing like crazy at Tryvann. These unique bus shelter ads actually created a mini blizzard whenever it was snowing on the slopes.



What do you get when you combine one golden arch with a reflective wall? These Australian bus shelters promoted the growing number of 24-hour McDonald’s locations with a message that appeared only at night.

Folgers Coffee


These NYC manhole covers for Folgers Coffee are actually a couple years old, but I remember liking them when I saw them, and the steam was a nice touch. Some people thought the smell coming from the sewer would decrease the ad’s effectiveness, but that didn’t bother me. Probably because I always want a cup of coffee. (The copy is small in this photo, but it says, “Hey, City That Never Sleeps. Wake Up.”)



To help spread goodwill and ease financial burdens for cities across the country, KFC sent letters to mayors nationwide, offering to fill their potholes in exchange for allowing them to leave a message saying the hole was “Refreshed by KFC.” I have to admit, at first I thought this was a little obnoxious. Then again, if I drove on those roads, I might be OK with some KFC branding if it meant my car’s suspension remained intact. The campaign was tested in Louisville, KY.

More McDonald’s


Here’s another Mickey D’s billboard. This one greets Chicago residents at the crack of dawn. For most of the day, this animated structure is closed. But between 6am and 10:30am, the egg cracks open to let hungry patrons know breakfast is being served. And speaking of McDonald’s in Chicago, another billboard advertising fresh salads actually grew lettuce over the course of a few weeks. Seems like the local McDonald’s brand managers are a fun bunch of folks.



In a classic example of the medium being the message, this UK homeless charity placed handmade cardboard signs throughout the streets of London, to remind onlookers that the recent snowfall may be beautiful to see, but it’s a pain to sleep in. Sometimes low-tech works best.



Who doesn’t love LEGOs, especially when they’re thirty-feet long and weigh several tons? “Construction Site” is the title of this prize-winning outdoor advertising campaign, in which real construction sites were transformed into giant LEGO universes. And really, can you think of a better way to dress up a construction site?

Australian Childhood Foundation


And this one’s my favorite. In Melbourne, Stop Child Abuse Now used child-size mannequins to represent children suffering neglect. Mannequins were placed around the city with a poster pasted over the top of the figure that read, “Neglected Children are made to feel invisible.” Seems like a really powerful – and probably very effective – way to get the message out.

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Comments (11)
  1. RE Australian Childhood Foundation:

    Unfortunately, seeing the painful truth about something bad like child abuse or neglect doesn’t bring it to anyone’s attention as it’s easier to ignore it exists than deal with that painful truth.

  2. I love brilliant forms of advertising! Too bad McDonald’s is so good at it.

  3. coffe ads is cool! thanks for share

  4. Seems like the local McDonald’s brand managers are a fun bunch of folks.

    Remember that McDonald’s has its corporate headquarters just outside Chicago.

  5. Oh, thanks Steven. I didn’t know that. That would explain it.

  6. Excellent collection of ads. It is proof that advertising is up for a whole new level.

  7. I would also include the infamous “outhouse springs” bottled water ad that was dreamed up by an advertising agency to promote selling ad space. We were deluged in good old Kalamazoo, MI with signs proudly stating, “It’s #1, not #2″.

  8. I love seeing unique forms of advertising. Great pics. Thanks!

  9. sad thing is that neglected kid ad is not reaching the correct audiences. the negligent parents are not going to care and anyone who would be moved by it would already be the type to have concern over these things.

  10. oye, the last pic is awesome

  11. Personally, this is my favourite : http://izismile.com/2009/07/08/shocking_billboard_follow_the_rules_of_the_road_dont_kill_others_2_photos1_video.html


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