The very best print adverts of all time

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50. Don't Drive Sleepy

Dropping off while driving can have catastrophic results
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BBDO (opens in new tab) Bangkok steered clear of overly graphic imagery, in this ThaiHealth advert warning of the risks of driving while you're sleepy. A car illustration appears one side of a closing eyelid, and a bike or pedestrian on the other, making it very clear what could happen if your eye closes for even a second whilst driving. The tagline 'sleepiness is stronger than you' helps emphasise the danger.

51. Hubba Bubba

DDB put the viewers right in the bubble
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Here's another great example of print advertising from the folks over at DDB, this time for bubblegum brand Hubba Bubba. It's not immediately obvious what's going on in this one, so the designer has relied on the use of bold colours to catch viewers' eyes and encourage them to engage with the advert long enough to figure it out. This print ad focuses on a longer length of the bubblegum, which means bigger bubbles (presumably). DDB puts the onlooker right in the middle of one.

52. Utopolis cinemas: 

It's not like in the movies
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Print ads don't always need intricate illustrations or photorealistic 3D renderings to make an impact. This one, created by Belgian advertising agency Duval Guillaume (opens in new tab) for a cinema group, plays the humour card and does it well. The ads capture classic movie scenes with an unwelcome twist of realism. Subtly grim details, such as the cloudy weather and less-than-spectacular boat in the Titanic recreation, really amp up the comedy in this series.

53. Sanzer Hand Gel

Gag
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Chances are, when you first looked at this advert, it made your stomach churn a bit. When Thai ad agency Chuo Senko (opens in new tab) was asked to create a promotion for Sanzer anti-bacterial hand-gel, it really went for the repulsive route. This series of print ads take the invisible grime and germs that cover public objects and makes them oh-so-visible. Are you looking at your keyboard and wondering what horrors really lurk there? Perhaps you should go and wash your hands, just in case.

54. Good Night

Ward off buzzing insects and catch some Zs
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Kazakhstan-based advertising agency Veent (opens in new tab) created this print advert for window brand Ekopen. The campaign promotes the brand's range of mosquito nets, deftly capturing the idea that buzzing insects will hinder a good night's sleep, using only typography. A single dividing line provides a clear representation of the net barrier itself, while remaining in-keeping with the typographic style of the advert. 

55. Nilkamal plastic chairs

Illustration helps elevate this concept
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Illustration can be used to great effect in print advertising campaigns, including this gem from Nilkamal plastic chairs. The elephant standing on one of the products clearly shows off the strength and stability of the product, while the intricate illustration style and beautiful colours elevate the concept further. This ad was created by brand communications agency Makani (opens in new tab). A nice touch is the fear in the elephant's eye as it teeters on its too-small chair.

56. True Colours

Capturing truly lifelike colours
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Serviceplan (opens in new tab) Germany created this awesome print advertising campaign for Faber-Castell. The concept is that you can create any colour from life using the brand's pencils; an idea captured by a pencil literally turning into a range of objects (this little dog, a shark and an aubergine). The slightly freakish nature of the images jars wonderfully with the classic brand aesthetic and ensures viewers take notice.

57. Reading Means Resisting

Shut out the world
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This illustrated print advertisement is designed to promote Feltrinelli books. This tackles head-on the problem people often have with reading: there are just too many distractions around. This sweet illustration goes back to the roots of why reading is great, acknowledging the surrounding distractions but showing how immersing yourself in a book can help shut these out. This campaign was created by Italian advertising agency Tita (opens in new tab).

58. Wake Up Hungry

Cereal will sort you out
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This print ad for a breakfast cereal taps into a universal phenomenon: waking up hungry. It uses an awesome 3D illustration to capture in surreal detail exactly what's gone on during the night, by way of explanation. There are three designs, each tapping into typical dream scenarios: Fear (above) includes scary clowns and dentistry, Commitment features tedious tasks and strict bosses, and Responsibility includes screaming children and a messy house. The campaign was created by JWT Jakarta (opens in new tab), with illustrations from Monty Aji Hardito (opens in new tab).

59. Jim Rickey

Platform games brought to life
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Christian Aslund (opens in new tab) drew on the spirit of platform games such as Mario for this print advertising campaign for sneaker brand Jim Rickey. The photographer shot the models in awkward horizontal positions on location in the streets of Hong Kong, using a telelens to make the images appear flat and the scenes vertical. The result is full of energy and a serves as a refreshing break from typical sneaker close-ups. 

60. Aizone

These ads for Aizone are anything but understated
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Sagmeister & Walsh has been creating campaigns for Beirut luxury department store brand Aizone (opens in new tab) since 2010. Early campaigns were mainly black and white, but in recent years the studio has really amped up the colour. The super-bright, surreal scenes of this series of print ads pack a real punch. 

61. Buckle Up, Stay Alive

Seatbelts save lives
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Addressing driving safety is a daunting task for any creative agency. Any ad needs to provoke a strong and lasting impression with an important message whilst still being creatively sound. This campaign from Lg2 (opens in new tab) for the Quebec Automobile Insurance Society ticks all these boxes and more. This campaign tackles the enduring issue of how to get people to wear a seatbelt. The simple image shows the driver's life dates printed on a car seat, with the latter year of death covered up by the seatbelt. It's a simple but very effective concept. 

62. The Guardian US

This clever campaign shows both sides of each argument
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Using illustrations by Noma Bar (opens in new tab), these print ads by BBH for the American launch of British newspaper The Guardian depict both sides of core political debates in the US, such as internet privacy, gun control and women in the military (take a look at the full set (opens in new tab)). Appearing at key locations throughout the country as outdoor ads and mobile billboards, each illustration represents one opinion of the issue. When the poster is flipped, it effortlessly illustrates the opposite view.

63. Exito

Don't let your water to taste like the contents of your fridge
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There's nothing quite like a glass of fresh, ice-cold water straight from the fridge. But what happens when that fridge is also housing the leftovers of last night's curry? Or chilling some fish? Flavours can quickly seep into your water. Aware of this, Latin American supermarket Exito developed a special bottle with seven layers, designed to keep other flavours out of your H2O.

In a print campaign to promote the new product, advertising agency Sancho BBDO (opens in new tab) developed this clever series of ads, featuring some of the more pungent things one might keep in the fridge, including salmon and green onions, being poured into water glasses. The effect is satisfyingly unnatural and gag-inducing.

64. Academia do Rock

Print adverts: rock school

Rock classes now for kids in this adorable print campaign

These adorable print ads created by Brazilian based agency Yeah! (opens in new tab) aim to promote rock classes for kids. The series combines motifs of well-known bands with children's toys and activities. This simple print ad approach is colourfully eye-catching as well as appealing to kids and grown-ups alike. We especially love the Ozzy Osbourne tribute (opens in new tab).

65. Sharpie

We love the comic book execution of this print ad
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Pen giant Sharpie has produced some marvellous print ads over the years and kept up with design trends galore. Brazilian agency FCB (opens in new tab) created these clever print ads with the tagline 'One story. Two Points' to promote a new pen with – you guessed it – two points. In turn, the comic art style story captures a major news story from two points of view. We love the comic book execution. Which side will you believe?

66. FedEx

The human side of postal logistics
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FedEx has run plenty of great campaigns, and this print ad is no exception. The campaign ensures the FedEx package is the centre of attention without being too in-your-face, and successfully gives a human, friendly face to postal logistics. The campaign was created by DDB.

67. Beck's: Art in Progress

Vault49 brings its illustrative skills to the table once again
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British born, New York-based design studio Vault49 (opens in new tab) brought its inimitable style to this illustration-led campaign for Beck's beer. Reflecting a growing trend for production-line-style visuals that reflect the creation process, the ad explores the different elements that go into a bottle of Beck's, from an imaginative, conceptual viewpoint.

68. Pantone: Rain Edition

Rainwater is given a splash of colour in this print ad
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A collaborative effort between Italian creatives Giuliano Lo Re (opens in new tab) and Matteo Gallinelli (opens in new tab), this inspiring campaign for Pantone puts colour front and centre, as you'd expect for the king of special inks. But rather than play the well-worn rainbow card, the duo opted to explore the relationship between colour and water – particularly rainwater.

69. Don't Forget It

You won't forget Marmite in a hurry with this series of print ads
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Marmite has developed a reputation for print ads that play on the (delicious) savoury spread's less positive associations. Its ads regularly acknowledge that some people are literally repulsed by its flavour. This print campaign takes on another side of Marmite: the propensity people seem to have to buy a jar and then forget all about it. Adam&EveDDB (opens in new tab) plays on charity campaign language in these print ads, which aim to 'raise awareness' of woefully neglected Marmite jars across Britain. 

70. Hungry Copywriter

A job ad without unnecessary detail
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When advertising agency McCann Bristol (opens in new tab) needed a new copywriter, it did what it does best: advertise for one. This is no standard job ad though. The agency created a striking print ad that included a clever pun, eye-catching layout, and all the information you needed to apply, all in an absolute minimum number of design elements. Incidentally, it also serves as a great lesson in editing for a prospective copywriter.

71. Your Ad Before. Your Ad After

Ads get a makeover in this series
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Creative production agency Looma (opens in new tab)  really got to the heart of what advertisement design does in this print ad for itself. Playing the comedy card to great effect, this campaign features a series of before and after shots. As well as a glossy coated version of the famous 'bad taxidermy' fox, this series sees a bad Rocky tattoo get a makeover, and a photo of Steve Buscemi made to look even more gorgeous (take a look here (opens in new tab)). 

72. #FTHEPAYGAP

Fill your purse, ladies
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This print advert campaign by J. Walter Thompson addresses the pay gap between women and men. The series takes campaign messages and blocks out certain letters to suggest alternate, aggressive phrases – the message being that choosing to pay female members of your workforce significantly less than their male counterparts is just as offensive as other, more obviously sexist behaviours. The ads form part of JWT's Female Tribes campaign to change the cultural narrative around women.

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Kerrie Hughes is Editor at Creative Bloq. One of the original CB crew, Kerrie joined the team back in 2013 after moving from her role as staff writer on 3D World. Since then she's written regularly for other creative publications. Kerrie's work for Creative Bloq involves managing the team and the site's content, developing and maintaining commercial partnerships, and finding innovative ways to bring Creative Bloq's audience the content they're looking for.

With contributions from