The world of contemporary advertising is increasingly dominated by high-production multimedia events, acts of guerrilla marketing and viral Internet campaigns. In this context it could be thought that the billboard is becoming eclipsed as an advertising tool. The reality is that the billboard continues to be a marketing form that produces amazingly inspirational and inventive designs. This post brings together 20 examples of the coolest billboards of recent years.
Absolut Vodka’s long-running ad campaign is one of the most successful branding operations in recent history. This Christmas-themed billboard has the iconic bottle shape formed in illuminated Christmas tree lights.
In Spring 2010, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles presented the exhibiting project, How Many Billboards? Art in Stead. The exhibition is an ambitious urban project with 21 leading artists commissioned to create billboard artwork to be sited around the city. This piece is by artist Kerry Tribe.
BMW’s ad in central Moscow, at 15-metres tall and 400-metres long, is surely one of the biggest billboards ever seen. The panorama features life-size BMW models, made with a combination of real parts and synthetic materials, anchored to the ads surface to create an impressive sense of motion.
During preparations for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Adidas created a variety of ad campaigns, commercial installations, guerrilla marketing and billboards. This vast image of Germany’s goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was attached to a bridge at the entrance to Munich airport.
This billboard was part of a Christmas and New Year ad campaign presented in several European cities, with Ikeas’ furniture and happy customers three-dimensionally representing the message of ‘Joy’.
This billboard takes the sculptural form of an enormous postal parcel, to emphasise DHL’s capabilities of transporting heavyweight shipments.
A powerful billboard and three-dimensional installation combination is employed to carry this road safety message, urging backseat passengers to fasten their seatbelts.
Nationwide Insurance’s triptych billboard, paint spill and car park installation in Columbus, Ohio, is outdoor advertising on a grand scale.
Apple’s ad campaigns are always at the leading edge of inspirational marketing design, such as this billboard for iPod and iTunes.
Quitplan offers a comprehensive program to help smokers overcome their addiction. This eye-catching billboard gets the message across with the ad’s support dressed as a cigarette butt and ashtray.
This billboard concept for Nike Run uses a super-real trompe l’oeil effect.
This striking ad frames a road tunnel in Austria, creating the unsettling sensation of driving straight into a woman’s mouth. Oldtimer is a chain of restaurants located around Austria’s road network.
Mammoth Mountain is California’s premier winter resort, a top destination for skiers and snowboarders, as reflected in this billboard.
This billboard concept for Formula Toothpaste aims to reflect the teeth-strengthening qualities of the product.
Levis jeans have always had very strong branding across all advertising media including billboards. This example features a section of a giant pair of 501s, unbuttoned to reveal realistic detailing in the denim, stitching, buttons and rivets.
This billboard and mown-grass composition advertises the trimming potential of Bic Razors.
This awesome billboard ad has Maker’s Mark bourbon pouring into a tanker truck.
This ad for the Naval Museum of Alberta in Canada uses an optical illusion to link the billboard support to the image of a submarine’s periscope.
Calcutta-base Berger Paints created this billboard for their Natural Finish Colours range, using cut out roller strokes so the sky appears to be painted on by the dangling decorator.
This clever billboard from New Zealand advertises Law & Order, a television police drama, with the cop bending the ad’s light fitting during a suspect’s interrogation. The design reflects the how contemporary billboards continue to be an effective and often inventive medium for advertisers to find new ways of relating their message.