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4 surprising billboards to make you stop and stare

Before the age of social media, the likes of billboards and posters dominated the advertising world. And while they're not as popular as they once were, some clever print designs still pack an impactful punch, and the designs in this roundup are some of the best we've ever seen. 

We've assembled the four most surprising billboard designs that'd be sure to make you stop and stare in the street. And if you can't get enough of these designs, you'll love our more extensive roundup of the best billboard advertising, and might also enjoy the spooky upside-down Stranger Things billboard.

01. Wee Billboard

Elvie billboard showing weightlifting woman appearing to pee

(Image credit: Elvie)

Yep, you read that correctly, this billboard actually urinates (well, not actually, it just secretes water). It's safe to say we haven't ever seen a billboard that wees before, so it should come as no surprise that we've added it to our list. This provocative design is promoting Elvie, the women's health brand, which is trying to raise awareness for mild and minor incontinence. 

At first glance, it looks like an unassuming ad but the closer you get, the more you realise that the billboard is making quite the splash. As the weightlifter in the design squats, it begins to leak from the groin area and onto the street below – yucky, but a genius way to capture people's attention. 

02. Adidas underwater billboard

Adidas

Does this remind anyone else of a Damien Hirst? (Image credit: Adidas)

Now, this might look like an underwater-themed billboard, but surprisingly enough, that's actual water. Adidas set up the swimming pool-cum-billboard on a beach in Dubai to encourage women to get in and have a swim, as a way to help combat body confidence issues. 

The billboard box is full of over 11,500 gallons of water and I don't know about you, but the design kind of reminds me of a Damien Hirst design. 

03. Specsavers billboard

The Specsavers billboard

These billboard were one big genius mistake (Image credit: The Agency/Specsavers)

You may think that this Specsavers billboard just looks like one big mistake – and you'd be correct. These genius designs may look like a big fat mishap, but of course, they're part of Specsavers' famous 'Should've gone to Specsavers' campaign. 

Some of the billboards in this collection look as though they've been printed the wrong way up, while others look as though they've accidentally plastered ladders into the design. If I'd seen these designs on the streets of London and Leeds, then I may have thought that street artist Banksy was responsible for them.

04. Bee Billboard

The McHive

Of course McDonald's named its bee billboards, the 'McHive' (Image credit: NORD DDB / McDonald's)

Now McDonald's is renowned for some of its brilliant advertising campaigns, and this might just be my favourite. The fast food chain in Sweden released a number of billboards that weren't just promoting Big Macs and Fries, but actually doubling up as a home for bees. 

The billboards, aptly named the 'McHives', were fully functioning beehives. The ads were made of big wooden panels with holes drilled into them, and were created to help support the Swedish wild bees that were under threat because of the lack of rest areas nearby – how cute.

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Amelia Bamsey
Amelia Bamsey

Amelia is Creative Bloq’s Staff Writer. After completing a degree in Popular Music and a Master’s in Song Writing, Amelia began designing posters, logos, album covers and websites for musicians. She now enjoys covering a range of topics on Creative Bloq, including posters, optical illusions, logos (she's a particular fan of logo Easter eggs), gaming and illustration. In her free time, she relishes in the likes of art (especially the Pre-Raphaelites), photography and literature. Amelia prides herself on her unorthodox creative methods, her Animal Crossing island and her extensive music library.