Today It Takes Creativity and a Willingness to Push the Envelope to Get Noticed

Unfortunately, in the advertising world, relatively few agencies and clients make truly creative use of out-of-home advertising.

First, just to get the definition out of the way: “out-of-home” (or “outdoor”) is an advertising term that refers to any type of advertising that reaches the consumer while he or she is outside the home.  This is in contrast to more traditional categories such as print, broadcast and internet advertising.

Out-of-home advertising is made up of more than 100 different formats and is used to focus on consumers when they are “on-the-go” in public places, in transit, waiting (such as in a medical office) and/or in specific commercial venues (such as a in a retail venue).  Outdoor advertising formats fall into four main categories: billboards, street furniture, transit and alternative.

The flexibility available in this category can result in some truly memorable and impactful advertising.  And, in a world where “run-of-the-mill” advertising simply doesn’t cut the mustard, it’s surprising that more effective uses of outdoor advertising are not regularly observed.

That said, there are (thankfully) some advertising aficionados that are in fact doing good work here.  Let’s take a brief look at a few cool examples where agencies are effectively promoting clients’ brands, products and services in the out-of-home space.

Formula Toothpaste
A very clever and impactful use of a traditional billboard. (“This stuff must really work!”)

Clever use of transit shelter advertising that engages consumers by blending the “lego world” perfectly with the real world.

The Economist
The light bulb possesses a sensor such that it lights up when a person walks underneath it.  An example of memorable interactive advertising that aligns with the magazine’s brand.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
A good example of recognizing that the featured content doesn’t necessarily need to be constrained by the billboard rectangle (and that, in fact, the billboard can become something else entirely).


Perth Zoo
An innovative use of a bus wrap that turns heads and gets noticed.

Swiss watch company IWC’s innovative transit ads for The Big Pilot’s Watch provide riders with the opportunity to truly experience the product first hand.

Unknown Used Bookstore
Just a very clever application of advertising on what is typically an ignored space.