Nine of the Best Outdoor Advertising Campaigns

Outdoor advertising has been around for hundreds of years because it’s a proven method of reaching large audiences. Even in today’s digital world, outdoor advertising is gaining momentum. According to Nielsen, one in four Americans have posted an image of a billboard on Instagram, providing double exposure for affected businesses.

But for outdoor advertising to go viral, it has to capture the imagination. Fortunately, with modern display methods and new ideas, outdoor advertising has never had a greater ability to make a big impact. We asked nine members of the Forbes Agency Council to share examples of recent outdoor advertising campaigns they found particularly effective and why they worked so well.

Photos courtesy of individual members.

1. #CancelSouthPark Billboards

A recent example here in Los Angeles came from the creators of South Park. In preparation for the launch of their 22nd season, black billboards were put up all over Los Angeles with a simple yet bold #CancelSouthPark hashtag in white text. This fueled cancellation questions and posts about the show on social media, including snapshots from billboards, making it a trending topic. – Bernard MaiNational Posts

2. Paul Smith’s Pink Wall

I don’t think they intended to have the social media boom they did, but the Paul Smith store here in LA painted the outside of their store hot pink. A vacant wall runs along their parking lot and has turned into a social media magnet. There are dozens of people at all hours of the day taking selfies in front of this wall. If I’ve learned anything from this, it’s: Be bold. – Zachary BinderBell + Ivy

3. Delta Dating Wall

Weiden and Kennedy’s outdoor activation for Delta last year was just awesome: photos of famous places around the world for singles to take selfies and upload to their Tinder profiles. It’s a great example of how human insight (selfie culture and the desire to look good on the road), media and creativity can combine in an incredible effort to create cultural relevance for the brand. – Stephanie RogersBoston MERGER

4. Coca-Cola billboard

The large Coca-Cola billboard in Toronto is one of the most effective and shareable billboards of 2018. Located on the side of an apartment building, it is a Classic Coca-Cola red billboard with a half full bottle in the center. Straws from the bottle are stretched out at each of the apartment’s windows, and the slogan reads: ‘cool off on the Coca-Cola side of life’. Simple, clever and effective. – Ahmed KarehTwistlab Marketing

5. Powerade Workout Display Boards

Powerade’s Workout Billboards bring the message “You have more power than you think” to life with interactive fitness installments. Consumers don’t just read brand messages, they experience them by climbing rock faces or practicing their boxing skills. The result: media that meets advertising and training goals by focusing on engagement rather than impressions. – Stephane Rosa(add) companies

6. Lyft’s “Ride To Vote” Campaign

About 15 million young registered voters did not vote in 2016 due to a lack of transportation. In response, Lyft launched a “Ride to Vote” campaign that offered 50% off fares. Lyft visually displayed the weight of those 15 million people who did not vote by creating a mural with unused ballots reading “Don’t Keep ‘Em Hanging” on a corner building in Manhattan. – Kathleen LucenteRed Fan Communications

7. Spotify Digital Billboard

As part of its “Your 2018 Wrapped” campaign, Spotify gave users the chance to share their year-end streaming data on a digital billboard in Times Square. I thought this was a really smart and cool way to engage current users and entice non-customers to switch to Spotify. Who wouldn’t want their impressive musical tastes to be showcased? – Jordan EdelsonAperitif Mobile LLC

8. “OMFG” billboard from Gossip Girl 2008

If someone made an announcement today that said “OMG” it wouldn’t matter. It’s part of our vocabulary. But in 2008, it was just starting to catch on and it would get some attention. I think “OMG” would be great; “OMFG” was awesome—short; memorable; draw attention. It was the perfect recipe for effective advertising. Everyone was talking about it. – Raphael RomisWeberous Web Design

9. “Eat Mor Chikin” by Chick-Fil-A

I think the best billboards break the fourth wall, which is to draw attention to the fact that they are billboards. These include Chick-fil-A’s “Eat Mor Chikin” boards, featuring cows with brushes standing under the board, and a board for a weight loss company that was tipped because there was a photo of a fat man standing in the corner. This approach works because most of us love visual puns. – Jeff Bradfordthe bradford group

Marilyn J. Hernandez