40 traffic-stopping examples of billboard advertising

21. iPod and iTunes

There's no confusion as to what Apple is trying to say with this billboard design

Apple made sure there'd be no chance of missing this advertising campaign for its iTunes store and iPod. Towering several feet in the air, the attention-grabbing design features a fountain of products that can be purchased and enjoyed on the popular portable media player. Apple's message is simple: combine an iPod with iTunes and you have an endless source of entertainment at your fingertips.

22. Black Tower Home Security

Billboard design

TBWA/Vancouver prove that people do, indeed, steal in this brilliant campaign for Black Tower Security

In a campaign for Black Tower security, advertising agency TBWA/Vancouver demonstrated that some people will take whatever they can get their hands on.

The agency lined a 10x20ft billboard with sought-after household items like framed paintings, rugs, pillows, and cookware on a Friday afternoon. By the end of the weekend, the board was bare, revealing the campaign's simple anti-theft message: 'People Steal. Black Tower Home Security'.

23. Sky Discovery Channel

Billboard design

This original, wind-powered billboard design was created by DDB New Zealand

This eye-catching billboard design for the Discovery Channel was developed by advertising agency DDB New Zealand. A working model, the design replicated a circuit board demonstrating how various different elements work – the wind turbine powering the batteries, which stored power until the display read 'full', activating the neon lights and finally the light box revealing the Discovery logo.

24. BBC World

Billboard design

Clever use of corner billboards in this campaign for BBC World by BBDO New York

When BBC World became available in the US, BBDO New York chose amazing photography and clever billboard placement to tell the country the international news channel had arrived. The imagery, taken from events around the world, is enough to grab your attention alone. But the BBDO team cleverly used corner billboards to show different takes on the same situation. Simple but very effective.

25. Kill Bill

Billboard design

Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand drenched the wall, sidewalk and three shiny white cars in its promotion for Tarantino movie Kill Bill, Vol 1

Advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand went all out a few years back when promoting Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Vol 1. The cool billboard design features Uma Thurman, her priceless Hatorri Hanzo and an impressive wall spatter of blood.

The installation was erected at a busy Auckland intersection to promote a local channel's screening of the movie. If anyone was in doubt as to what the film entailed, Saatchi & Saatchi made it crystal clear with this design.

26. Miele vacuum cleaner

In order to promote the power of the Miele S8 monster suction vacuum cleaner, Bratislava-based adverting agency Mayer McCann Erickson placed this brilliant billboard design over a well-known tunnel. The agency then filmed traffic over a period of time, resulting in this video that gives the impression of various vehicles being sucked into the vacuum hose.

27. McDonald's

This brilliant billboard design promotes McDonald's breakfast menu

The print on this McDonald's billboard is nothing to write home about. But the addition of a sundial mounted on top turns it an innovative and brilliant piece of design. Displayed is the fast food giant's breakfast menu, with the sun casting shadow on each item that corresponds to the time of day you would normally eat it. Created by ad agency Leo Burnett, the sundial not only points out what meal you should go for, it also creates a shadow of the restaurant's famous 'M' as it does so.

28. The Economist

UK-based creative agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO was the brains behind this ingenious light bulb billboard design

This simple yet ingenious design comes from UK-based creative advertising and brand management agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. The 'less is more' idea features a giant lightbulb popping out of the centre of a red background, the only words reading 'The Economist'.

Using electronic motion sensors, the bulb lit up every time someone walked underneath it. A brilliant, effective way to get the message across.

29. Koleston Naturals: Change

This billboard advert for Koleston hair colourant uses the sun as part of its design

Advertising agency Leo Burnett like incorporating the sun into their awesome designs, including this one for hair colourant Koleston Naturals. The innovative design features a woman's hair die-cut in the billboard to capture the variations of Koleston naturals' colours through the different phases of the day and night. The effect the sun has on this design is just brilliant, with the model's hair colour changing from blonde to black in just a few hours.

30. Bleeding billboard

This billboard design 'bleeds' when it rains

The concept for this powerful billboard design came from New Zealand-based creative agency Colenso BBDO. The team was approached by South Auckland local government bodies with a brief to create a design that would lower the number of fatal accidents on the road.

Noticing that accidents had increased during a particularly wet Easter the road safety team put up this billboard that 'bleeds' when it rains. The message? 'Rain changes everything. Drive to the conditions.' If that harrowing image doesn't make people slow down, we don't know what will.

31. Panasonic nose hair trimmer

Billboard advertising Nose hair trimmer

Saatchi & Saatchi Indonesia incorporated real-world elements into its ad for Panasonic's nose hair trimmer

We love this comedic design by Saatchi & Saatchi Indonesia for Panasonic's nose hair trimmer. The billboards were built around actual wires and poles in Indonesia to amusingly advertise the need for the device and showcase its safety cutting system. So if you're afraid to trim sensitive nose hair, this could be just the product for you. A fun and innovative idea.

32. Colorado State Patrol

Keep your eyes on the road, not this brilliant billboard by Amelie Company

'Tailgating isn't worth it. Give Trucks room. It's the law.' That's the message that features on this brilliantly designed billboard by French-American advertising agency Amélie Company for the Colorado State Patrol. It's simple, keep your distance or end up looking like the billboard. This is one design that will certainly grab the attention of drivers. Although let's hope the cool campaign doesn't keep their eyes off the road for too long...

33. Science World

We wonder how long it took the Rethink team to glue 9,000 diamonds to this billboard?

The guys at advertising agency Rethink, Canada teamed up with the Science World Museum to create a series of brilliant billboards dedicated to promoting science in Vancouver. The Rethink team glued 9,000 glass diamonds to a billboard to promote Science World's Treasure exhibit, and to demonstrate that, compared to many other gems, diamonds aren't all that rare.

Other brilliant designs include a board covered in pure gold and a stick man made from 9,000 pencils.

34. The Day After Tomorrow

This innovative billboard promoted disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow

In order to promote Roland Emmerich's 2004 global-warming disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow to Indian audiences, ad agency Contract submerged a billboard in the sea not far from Mumbai. The idea being to mimic the idea of Manhattan being overwhelmed by water, the team also placed a replica of the Empire State building further out to sea.

Leaving just the details of the film's release and venue, the marketing campaign attracted the attention of many a passer-by.

35. Smart: Little billboard

BBDO Toronto promoted Smart car's low impact on the environment with these itty-bitty billboards

This pocket-sized design proves that when you have a good idea, size really doesn't matter. In keeping with Smart car's low impact on the environment, instead of using big billboards that pollute the environment, advertising agency BBDO, Toronto created a series of scaled down versions.

The miniature street advertising boards were placed in various locations around Toronto, all of them celebrating the beauty of being small.

36. Invisible

The JWT team incorporated a 'Thanks for seeing me' message behind the mannequin, in case it was vandalised

Okay, so it's not a billboard and more of a giant poster, but we had to include this brilliant yet touching campaign. The Australian Childhood Foundation partnered with advertising agency JWT to create this unique and powerful billboard design, with the aim of raising awareness of neglect as a form of child abuse.

The installations were located at popular sites around Sydney, featuring a huge poster pasted over a child-sized mannequin. The design secured the JWT team the Bronze Lion at Cannes Outdoor Lions in 2010.

37. Levis

Levis lets its product do the talking in this billboard design

Founded back in the mid 1800s, Levi Strauss and Co has since become known worldwide for its Levi brand of denim jeans. With such a recongiseable brand and product, a simple but clever design was all that was needed for this billboard.

Here, Levis lets its jeans do the talking, featuring a section of a giant pair of 501s, unbuttoned to reveal not only the the infamous numbers, but realistic detailing in the denim, stitching, buttons and rivets.

38. Heineken

This eye-catching design was developed by advertising agency TBWA

This billboard for Heineken is a perfect example of how a small and simple idea that's perfectly executed can have a big impact. The three dimensional concept features a hand seemingly coming out of the background about to grab the bottle of beer.

The concept for the billboard, which graced the city of Amsterdam, was developed by the team at advertising agency TBWA.

39. Absolut Vodka

Examples of billboard advertising

Absolut's long-running ad campaign transformed an ordinary billboard into a stylish NYC apartment back in 2000

Absolut Vodka's long-running advertising campaign is one of the most successful consumer products campaigns in the history of advertising. Known for it creative design, the company outdid itself back in 2000 when it created this eye-catching billboard.

After teaming up with fellow Swedish global brand IKEA, the company transformed a billboard in Manhattan into a stylish, but cramped, New York City apartment turned on its side - and shaped like an Absolut bottle. Genius.

40. T3

law and order billboard

The BBDO design team constructed a visual interrogation room, using the billboard lamp

New Zealand television channel, T3, went all out when promoting the latest season of Law & Order. Bringing in Colenso BBDO, the design team constructed a visual interrogation room, using the billboard lamp to spotlight the criminal. Mounted on a concrete building as a backdrop, the result is viewers find themselves dragged straight into the show itself.

Related articles: