It may be one of the oldest forms of advertising in the world, but marketers are becoming increasingly creative with their outdoor campaigns.
No longer just confined to static billboards, global brands this year have been conjuring up some truly creative interactive ads that are actually a joy to look at and play with.
We’ve picked out some of the best so far. Expect to see them pop up again as we head into award season.
Tourism Ireland hoped to boost visits to the country last month with a series of outdoor 'Game of Thrones'-themed stunts, to promote the fact that much of the show is filmed there. The tourism body and HBO placed wooden signs pointing the way to the Iron Islands and other key Westeros locations -- even perching the three-eyed raven atop some of the signs.
Sick of seeing the city polluted by litterbugs, Hong Kong Cleanup and its agency Ogilvy & Mather used DNA phenotyping to put a face to offenders, and embarrass them on billboards placed around the city.
Building on a study which found 60 centimeters is the physical distance people feel comfortable standing from another person that separates strangers from friends, J. Walter Thompson Rome built the 'Listerine Distance Billboard.' As passers-by stepped up and got closer to the digital billboard, the person in the image reacted by looking, and smiling at them, and ultimately giving them a free product sample of mouthwash.
Ogilvy & Mather's workout billboards asked passers-by to do everything from climbing up them, to punching them, and operating weights. A truly interactive campaign.
Coca-Cola and its agency Ogilvy & Mather claimed to have created the first 'Drinkable Billboard' in April. The huge ad appeared at the site of a concert and appeared to dispense Coke Zero through the bottle and all around the 4,500 feet of tubing before reaching thirsty drinkers.
Not long after Coke's campaign, Carlsberg and its agency Fold7 followed suit, with a beer-dispensing billboard in east London.
Marvel erected dozens of tiny billboards across Australia in April to promote the summer launch of superhero movie 'Ant-Man.'
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and its agency OgilvyOne secretly placed RFID chips in leaflets handed out to shoppers, which triggered a dog to 'follow' them around the Westfield Stratford shopping mall in London on its digital advertising screens.
The tourism board and ad agency Lapiz jumped straight into action when a spring snowstorm hit Chicago to bring a little warmth to the streets by etching a 'billboard' into the snow to encourage people to book a vacation to Mexico.
Uber and agency Rethink installed a breathalyzer in Toronto after midnight -- a time when drunk-driving accidents triple. If the breathalyzer found you to be over the legal limit, it offered you a free Uber ride home.
The Audi A7 Sportback h-tron emits nothing but water vapour, so its agency Thjnk made its billboards from water vapour too. They were placed in busy areas of big cities, where they left nothing behind but steam.
This digital billboard used facial recognition technology to recognise when people were looking at the ad. The more people paid attention, the more the bruises and cuts on her face appeared to heal. London agency WCRS was behind the campaign.
Back in February, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Elsa, Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear, and other Disney characters surprised shoppers in a mall by mimicking their movements in silhouette form via this billboard to promote Disney Parks. Later on the characters jumped out from behind the screen to meet and greet the kids.
Even IKEA admits its flat-pack furniture is difficult to assemble, as perfectly demonstrated by this billboard from German agency Thjnk.
This billboard for Australian fast food chain Hungry Jack's was made out of holographic material so as to scare birds away from eating customers' fries. The restaurant and its agency Clemenger BBDO also created fries packaging with the same material, dispensed at locations with a high propensity of bird attacks.
To showcase the parking skills of a Smart Car, the automaker and its agency BBDO Dusseldorf plonked its billboards right next to the real cars themselves, as they squeezed into tight parking spots.
To take full advantage of the rare celestial event of a solar eclipse, Oreo and its agency FCB Inferno London placed this digital ad at the top of London's Piccadilly Circus, which reacted in real-time with the earth's movements around the sun.
The community of St. Pauli in Hamburg was sick of late-night revelers peeing all over their neighbourhood. So they covered surfaces over a number of often-urine-soaked spots with a super-hydrophobic coating that was so water-repellent people's pee splashed right back at them. The initiative garnered worldwide press attention -- unfortunate for those naughty enough to test the repellent paint's powers.
Commuters in a Korean subway station were randomly pitched against each other by this billboard (which took pictures of them and flagged them up on the screen as 'Player 1' and 'Player 2') to take part in a reaction race, tapping buttons on the wall and floor in front of them as they lit up on the screen. The lucky winners saw the screen pull back in front of them to reveal a free pair of Reebok ZPump sneakers. The campaign was created by agency Innored.
New Zealand fuel company Gull decided to thank the animals that make its biofuels (or at least, their waste does) with a billboard constructed entirely of hay and vegetable paint. The cows happily munched away on the ad, made by agency Contagion.
This campaign for The Scottish Government elegantly puts across the message that people need to think twice before driving after a big night out. The Leith Agency created the billboard.
Google bought space on London's Old Street roundabout to display ads using its search results to point passers-by to nearby locations. The digital ad also included live updates with the most popular searches, and the ad even displayed a congratulations message to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to congratulate them on the recent birth of the royal baby.
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