74 of the very best print ads of all time

52. The Don't Drive Sleepy ad

This clever ad communicates that dropping off while driving can have catastrophic results

BBDO 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 on 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.

53. Hubba Bubba print ad

DDB put the viewers right in the bubble

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 clever 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.

54. Utopolis cinemas

It's not like in the movies

Print best ads don't always need intricate illustrations or photorealistic 3D renderings to make an impact. This one, created by Belgian advertising agency Duval Guillaume 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.

55. Sanzer Hand Gel advert


Chances are, when you first looked at this print advert, it made your stomach churn a bit. When Thai ad agency Chuo Senko 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.

56. Good Night

Ward off buzzing insects and catch some Zs

Kazakhstan-based advertising agency Veent created this clever 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. 

57. Nilkamal plastic chairs

Illustration helps elevate this concept

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. A nice touch is the fear in the elephant's eye as it teeters on its too-small chair.

58. True Colours

Capturing truly lifelike colours

Serviceplan 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.

59. Reading Means Resisting

Shut out the world

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.

60. Wake Up Hungry

Cereal will sort you out

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, with illustrations from Monty Aji Hardito.

61. Jim Rickey

Platform games brought to life

Christian Aslund 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. 

62. Aizone

These ads for Aizone are anything but understated

Sagmeister & Walsh has been creating campaigns for Beirut luxury department store brand Aizone 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. 

63. Buckle Up, Stay Alive

Seatbelts save lives is the message of this clever print ad

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 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. 

64. The Guardian US print ad

This clever campaign shows both sides of each argument

Using illustrations by Noma Bar, 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). 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.

65. Exito

Don't let your water to taste like the contents of your fridge

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 product, advertising agency Sancho BBDO 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.

66. 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! 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.

67. Sharpie advert

We love the comic book execution of this print ad

Pen giant Sharpie has produced some marvellous print ads over the years and kept up with design trends galore. Brazilian agency FCB 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?

68. FedEx

The human side of postal logistics

FedEx has run plenty of great campaigns, and we had to include this one in our pick of the best print adverts. It makes the FedEx package 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.

69. Beck's Art in Progress ads

Vault49 brings its illustrative skills to the table once again

British born, New York-based design studio Vault49 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.

70. Pantone: Rain Edition

Rainwater is given a splash of colour in this print ad

A collaborative effort between Italian creatives Giuliano Lo Re and Matteo Gallinelli, 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.

71. Don't Forget It

You won't forget Marmite in a hurry with this series of print ads

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 plays on charity campaign language in these print ads, which aim to 'raise awareness' of woefully neglected Marmite jars across Britain. 

72. Hungry Copywriter

A job ad without unnecessary detail

When advertising agency McCann Bristol needed a new copywriter, it did what it does best: advertise for one, and it created one of the best print adverts we've seen in the process. It's no standard job ad. 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.

73. Your Ad Before. Your Ad After

Ads get a makeover in this series

Creative production agency Looma  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). 


Fill your purse, ladies

This clever 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.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.

With contributions from