The Love of the Outdoors

As I’ve said many a time, I’m currently a marketing student (at a really great school); and marketing has been something I’ve been finding an increasingly greater passion for. However, one subset of this that I’ve really developed a love for over the past year has been outdoor advertising; I loves me some great billboards.

Now I know what you’re saying, “Aww Jason! Like that cheezy injury lawyer one I saw on the highway? Billboards are so lame!” If you look above, you’ll notice I said GREAT billboards. For admist the mass of uninspired, boring, and down-right awful billboards are some real gems.

Outdoor advertising has the power to be a creative, engaging, and down-right fun medium; and I’m hoping to convince you of that with some of my personal favourites.

I’ll start us off with a widely successful and very publicised campaign from Calvin Klein.

Image Source: Mashable

The above billboard ran in July 2010, replacing Calvin Klein’s usual billboards of scantily clad models in provocative poses. People walking past could then snap a picture of the QR code with their smart phone and be shown an exclusive 40-second commercial, and after were able to post the code to their Facebook and Twitter. I love this campaign for three reasons. One, it engages the customer and makes them less passive, and more interactive. Two, they made it worth your while to snap the code. Far too many businesses get lazy, and just use the QR code to take you to their site (and sometimes; heaven forbid, it’s not even a mobile site), or give you something you could have accessed in 10 different other ways. By keeping it exclusive, they really give you something for your interaction. Three, the mystery of it. I just love how they didn’t even dress up the QR code and the line “Get it Uncensored” really get’s you wondering what could be so saucy that it had to be censored? I love ads that build up that curiosity in people, and ultimately; they’re the ones that work.

The next one I’d like to direct you to is a recent spoof on a billboard previously done by The Economist by Mad Magazine.

Image Source: Creative Criminals

This is what I mean about the creative potential of outdoor advertising. As you can see in the picture, as soon as someone goes under the lightbulb, it turns out (of course denoting that the person is stupid). I love this because this totally embodies Mad’s brand, and it’s humor. It also engages it’s audience (like most great advertising), something that is increasingly becoming key in effective marketing. It’s fun, it’s inventive, and it’s right on the mark for the company’s brand.

The last one I’m going to show you is a campaign by Gillette featuring Derek Jeter, Captain of the New York Yankees baseball team. What makes this billboard different is that the billboard is entirely hand-painted and changes every day. One day he’ll be scruffy, the next he’ll have shaving cream on, the day after that he’ll be clean shaven. You can see the process below.

Image Source: Creative Criminals

Pretty cool, right? You got to give props to Gillette for that one, it must have cost a pretty penny to run that. I absolutely love the creativity of it though, and it’s certain to gain attention from people who commute in the area on a regular basis. Not to mention, people are certainly going to be talking about it, and in turn more people are going to want to go check out this “really awesome billboard” that their friends told them about. Bravo Gillette, whoever came up with this one deserves a raise!

So there you have it, some of my recent personal favorites in the outdoor advertising world. Hopefully I’ve changed your opinion of outdoor advertising, and you can see how dynamic and exciting it can be if done right. Now, if only all billboards could be this great!


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