There’s a Dracula on that billboard…

To mark the arrival of the series Dracula, BBC erected two billboards in both London and Birmingham that don’t directly depict the count himself, but through a clever play of shadows and stakes, see him emerge as a haunting ghost.

During the day passers-by will notice that the billboards are stabbed with stakes – alluding to the action of vampire killers. Yet, at night a light at the side turns on, and viewers realize the stakes have been placed with the utmost intention so that their shadows recreate the face of the TV series’ blood-thirsty villain.

To heighten the spooky billboard, beneath stands a ‘break in case of vampires’ box that contains a pointed wooden stake, ready to stab with.

Why it’s Hot: Innovation doesn’t always need to be a new digital platform or tool – sometimes the most interesting innovations come from rethinking how we use traditional channels.


Red Bull’s solar-powered billboard lights-up nighttime sports

Lighting for nighttime sports is scarce in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, making it hard for people to enjoy outdoor activities, like football and skateboarding, at night. The desire to play sports at night is especially strong in Vietnam because of the intense daytime heat and humidity. Red Bull, being all about energy and action, used this as an opportunity to create a social benefit while aligning the brand with a different kind of energy than caffeine: solar.

To do this, they painted a grid of used Red Bull cans black, in order to soak up the sun’s energy during the day, then stored that energy in batteries, which were used to power flood lights, making nighttime games and sports possible.

Why it’s hot:

Instead of just throwing up some standard billboards in outdoor recreation areas, Red Bull decided to be user-centered, looking to solve a real problem first, and found a clever way for the brand to participate in a more meaningful way within the culture it wants to attract.

1. Alignment: Red Bull sells an image of passion — a desire to go “all out” for one’s dreams, and this project fits perfectly with that image.

2. Social benefit: This hits on all cylinders for Red Bull. It positions the brand as essential to the sports it’s supporting, while repurposing resources, reducing energy use, and showing off its innovation chops. Helping people in this small way with things they are passionate about extends good will toward the brand far beyond the initial investment.

Source: Contagious

scenes from stockholm’s underground…

Apparently big music venues in Stockholm have had a rough past few years, with many closing. So, Clear Channel created “Stockholm Underground”, using this trend as an opportunity to direct focus back to Stockholm’s local scene. Basically, it turned 300 digital OOH units in Stockholm’s metro (underground) into real-time guides on where local, “underground” acts were playing each day.

Per The Drum:

“Instead of displaying ads on Clear Channel’s 300 digital screens, the ‘Stockholm Underground’ music guide, will run as a real-time guide to encourage commuters to take advantage of local shows and up-and-coming artists performing at smaller venues.

Drawn from a database of upcoming live shows aggregated from online sources such as websites, blogs and Facebook events, with up-and-coming bands and artists also able to add their shows to the database, the initiative will give even the smallest acts a chance to reach up to one million people.

The data will then be used to direct commuters to their nearest local music show in the hours before it is supposed to begin.”

Why it’s hot:

Ads that aren’t ads are my favorite kind of ads. It’s a bold move for Clear Channel to reallocate all of its ad space to help promote local artists. It’s a good example of what can happen when a brand asks how it’s contributing to the community around it – whether local, regional, national, or global. As summed up by head of Clear Channel Scandanavia, “We are a natural part of the urban space and have both the will, and the responsibility, to contribute to making cities dynamic. Stockholm Underground is another example of how we are committed to doing so.”


Puppo Brings Personalization to the Dogs

In an effort to launch in one of the biggest and most saturated markets in the world, Mars’ Puppo, a subscription-based and personalized service for dogs, took personalization to a new level, creating 100,729 bespoke ads for each dog licensed in Manhattan.

Puppo created an algorithm that extracted data from the NYC Dog Licensing Dataset to find out the name, age, breed, borough and zip code of each dog. A modular copy and art direction system then generated an individual print ad for each dog that linked to a health benefit from using Puppo’s services.

Owners were targeted by zip code and print posters were placed within dog-walking distance from their homes. The Every Dog Has its Ad campaign was also promoted by digital OOH and display ads.

The campaign saw a 68% increase in new site users within one week, 28% of which came directly from the posters. There was also a 144% increase in organic searches for Puppo.

Why it’s hot: Clients are always looking for ways to personalize their communications in unique and attention grabbing ways — here, Puppo used a variety of data (licensing information, zip code, dog breed, etc.) to create personalized geo-targeted ads to dogs and their owners. succeeding in grabbing attention and driving awareness of their product in a personalized and relevant way.


a billboard you can plant…

Working with the Royal Botanic Gardens (the UK “authority on plant science”), Herbal Essences recently created “billboards” featuring leaves you could pull off, that contained wildflower seeds you could plant at home. The idea was to grow more wildflowers to nurture London’s endangered butterfly community, since butterflies are “major pollinators”, like bees.

Why it’s hot:

It’s such a simple way to build meaningful relationships. Going beyond just being an ad, it gives something tangible to each person, with an end benefit that helps all Londoners (and really the world) at large. And it’s something anyone passing by can experience, giving it the kind of real-world effect few “ads” ever truly have.


hinge bears a new kpi…

Dating app Hinge recently released its first brand campaign, based upon a simple premise that’s simply delightful. It’s pitching itself as “the dating app designed to be deleted”…since, you know, the whole point is to find someone you like enough to not spend any more time on dating apps.

Why It’s Hot:

While it’s somewhat shocking that no other dating app has ever taken this tack, it’s a smart move for a relatively new brand on the scene. Leveraging its novelty, breaking from category convention is no doubt one way to stand out.


Spotify Back At It With OOH

Spotify has some suggestions for your New Years Resolutions.

They take the same out of home campaign approach as last year and turn user data into pithy headlines. This year’s approach is positioned as ‘2018 goals’, with the ads highlighting ‘winning’ behavior from 2017. Here are a few examples:

The campaign also includes life-size cutouts in NYC, LA and Miami that feature artists, in which passerby will be able to stick their heads for a photo.

Why it’s hot: This is another example of Spotify leveraging user data in a fun and unexpected way that capture the essence of their audience.

Source: Adweek

Netflix is hiding ads for the new ‘Narcos’ season in places it thinks people did cocaine in the ’90s

Netflix just released the third season of the Narcos this past weekend. The only hitch? Everyone in the world knows Escobar, but not so much the Cali Cartel — the massive drug organization that ran its organization like a stealthy corporation around which the third season centers on.

Netflix has been plastering what would have been cocaine hotspots in the ’90s, aka bars and clubs and their bathrooms, with punny one-liners and facts about the Cali Cartel to educate viewers and build excitement around the latest season.

The streaming giant has placed stickers and coasters in locations across over 160 bars and hotspots in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Miami, where unknowing Cali Cartel customers may have used their product in the ‘90s. The campaign began rolling out Sept. 1.

One coaster, for example, features a rolled up $1 bill with a powdered white substance on the side and the lines “Need a great pickup line?” Another sticker shows a credit card next to several lines of a white powdered substance and the quote “The Cali Cartel built a $200 billion empire one line at a time.”

“We wanted to not only be disruptive and place the idea where people would least expect it, but it was just as important for us to continue the story that Netflix is telling,” said Jason Gaboriau, Doner Los Angeles’ chief creative officer. “Netflix is first and foremost about storytelling. This is just a continuation of the story — a segue if you will to the next chapter — in a contextual setting so we’d be heard.”

The contextual ads follow the same approach that Netflix has adopted in previous seasons, using fact-based campaigns and utilizing statistics to illustrate the storyline. Last year, before releasing the show’s second season, for instance, Netflix launched a Tumblr site called ‘Narcopedia’, an interactive experience that took viewers through the history of cocaine and provided in-depth information on the war on drugs.

The approach seems to be working. According to data crunched by social analytics firm Brandwatch, while there has been some mention of viewers “missing Pablo” online, the Cali Cartel is gaining prominence, with over 7,000 mentions over the past month versus “Pablo Escobar,” which has about 2,300 mentions.

Source: Business Insider

Why It’s Hot:

The last notable OOH contextual campaign I remember for OK Google was entertaining and insightful. It’s refreshing to see marketers having a good time with non-digital channels. And also notable that they are measuring it via social chatter — as often times we question how “stunts” can show measurable ROI.

How much is that Puppy in the windo….err flat screen TV

Pet care brand Pedigree and its partner charity Ampara Animal needed to drive foot traffic to animal shelters as part of the Pedigree Adoption Drive.

The brand partnered with shopping-centre electronics stores to create the Dog Channel, where the generic content displayed on the TV screens in-store was replaced with videos of dogs waiting to be adopted from a nearby shelter.

Alongside the footage was a message to customers that included the dogs’ names and encouraged people to visit the shelter. When the dogs on the screens found new homes, the display changed to indicate a successful adoption.

Why It’s Hot:

-Chimes with the brand’s quest to grow the pet ownership – and by extension the pet care market.

-It merged a digital activation with OOH in a pretty unusual and innovative way

Billboards, meet VR…you’re new Daddy

A Peruvian highway is prime ad space during the summer months, which forces advertisers to battle it out in efforts to capture the attention of thousands of beachgoers.

But Sodimac, a home improvement brand, set out to capture their imaginations instead by skipping the billboard approach altogether. They did so by creating a 360-degree virtual reality experience along the highway where brand representatives gave out 40,000 Google Cardboard headsets to car passengers. With their VR headsets on, passengers experienced giant-sized virtual Sodimac summer products along the road, making their road trip seem more like a Disneyland Ride, than a car drive. More importantly, they completely ignored all other billboards.

  • We don’t hear a lot about Billboard clutter and we hardly see smart digital ideas that solve for that, which this beautifully does
  • Brought VR to life in a very unexpected space and on a massive scale
  • Tech approach delivered on their brand proposition: They are experts in transforming spaces
  • VR experience was innovative, but also added value to consumers by making their drive more exciting

The Future of Billboards

LA’s Ace Hotel recently teamed up with WeTransfer to create a curated selection of works on a billboard near the hotel. Titled Dear DTLA the project featured work from a variety of artists.

When viewers visit the Dear DTLA website, they can click on past artists’ names and get a link to a WeTransfer zip folder. The folder associated with Brotas, for example, lets viewers see three different stages of the process.


Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 9.36.44 AM

Why it’s hot:

It’s making physical billboards more digital and more creative. Companies will aim to make billboards more captivating.

JetBlue Told New Yorkers to Steal Its Bus-Shelter Ads, and Rewarded Them for It

Steal this ad. No really, it’s fine. No one will yell, “Stop, thief!” And even if they do, you’re in the clear.

More than 100 New Yorkers recently took jetBlue up on its offer of free flights and other swag by ripping off 181 bus shelter ads across the five boroughs. They were right there in plain sight—all you had to do was deface public property to get them (though no glass-shattering was required).

Steal this ad. No really, it’s fine. No one will yell, “Stop, thief!” And even if they do, you’re in the clear.

More than 100 New Yorkers recently took jetBlue up on its offer of free flights and other swag by ripping off 181 bus shelter ads across the five boroughs. They were right there in plain sight—all you had to do was deface public property to get them (though no glass-shattering was required).

It’s tough to be discreet with a poster-sized coupon tucked under your arm, but the locals didn’t seem to care. And for their boldness, they received round-trip flight vouchers, tickets to New York Jets and Brooklyn Nets games, and free scoops from Blue Marble Ice Cream.

The brand plans to repeat the two-day stunt next week under the hashtag #NYCTakeoff. Some nattily dressed flight attendants might even pop up to congratulate winners before sending them off with a chipper “Buh-bye now!”

Source: AdWeek

Why It’s Hot

This is an example of a creative approach to media, that fits in with the branding of jetBlue. Though I have to imagine reach isn’t the goal with something like this, making it viral on social with video content is a win.

Full disclosure, in high school we stole the Sex and the City posters on the subway and hung them in our rooms. So, this is just about 15 years too late.

Self-Tweeting Potholes Troll City Officials, Urge Them To Fix Roads


Panama City has a pothole problem. Its roads are full of cracks, pockmarks, and craters, all of which turn a simple drive into an automotive obstacle course. Drivers are forced to dangerously swerve around the offending holes, or risk serious damage to their car’s suspension system. But while potholes represent a serious detriment to public safety (to say nothing of municipal beautification and civic pride), they’re often towards the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to a city’s allocation of funds and resources.

To ensure their city’s streets don’t erode to the point of (further) undriveability, Panamanian news station Telemetro Panamá partnered with P4 Ogilvy & Mather to give local drivers a reason to steer over—not around—potholes, all in the hopes of shaming municipal officials into action.

Across Panama City, a series of pressure-sensitive devices have been placed inside a number of particularly hazardous potholes. When run over by a car, these devices automatically tweet snarky messages directly at Panama’s Department of Public Works.

The campaign seems to be working. As Adweek points out, officials have begun publicly addressing the growing pothole problem.

Why It’s Hot

This is just the latest in a series of innovative, bottom-up campaigns to fight unsafe street conditions in cities around the world. In Manchester, England, for example, a mysterious do-gooder known as “Wanksy” has taken to drawing giant penises around local potholes to spur that city’s officials into action. Meanwhile, Canadian high schooler David Ballas has invented an ideal pavement filler, made of a unique combination of asphalt and chicken feathers, which resists the moisture responsible for creating potholes in the first place.

A Billboard That May Make You Sweat

Powerade has created a series of interactive “workout” billboards in Germany that let passersby use the advertisement to exercise.


Each board is specifically designed to support a single activity. Rock-climbing, punching bag, and pulley-bar. Each activity is designed around an engagement with the Powerade brand logo. Participants receive a free drink from a rep following their completed workout. I think it’s to wash down the embarrassment they face from onlookers watching their routine.

Why It’s Hot

Offbeat billboards seem to be a flavor of the week these days, but one that forces people into action with brand is sure to break through the clutter. While they are not feasible to execute en masse, the story can amplify. The key is not to have interaction be a gimmick; the action needs to tie into the brand ethos and “make sense.”


Edible Billboards: Why not have billboards with built-in samples?

At the NCAA men’s Final Four in Indianapolis, Coke Zero built a 4,500-foot straw that dispensed Coke Zero from a billboard. The straw spelled out the words “Taste It,” and had six fountains that dispensed the soda (watch video here).

In East London, Carlsberg beer created a similar experience with a beer-dispensing billboard.

And Mr. Kipling, a large-scale British company that supplies baked goods to stores, built a billboard made entirely of cake and icing. Sugar artist Michelle Wibowo created the billboard using more than 13,000 pieces of cake. The cake, with the tagline “Life is better with cake,” was distributed to passersby (watch video here).

Read more here (Edible billboards are a real thing, and these are made of beer and cake).

Why It’s HOT

The problem with food ads is that you can only see the product, but you can’t smell or taste it. Here is a great example of how an old medium can be used in new ways – creating disruption and driving conversation.

Missed opportunity: social amplification.  In 2011, a German billboard dispenses dog food when you checked in on Foursquare– Read more here (video case study available).




Carlsberg Billboard Doubles as Self-Service Beer Tap

Last week, Gary posted about a billboard that pours Coke Zero. Is this a new trend?

Carlsberg has made what they claim is “Probably the Best Poster in the World” by turning it into a working beer tap.

Revealed in London last week at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, it enabled passersby to enjoy a cold drink of Carlsberg for free.

The 12 x 3 meter interactive billboard commissioned by the brand was created by advertising agency Fold7 and digital design firm Mission Media. It featured a version of the brand’s slogan in white on a green background, with an embedded beer tap in the center allowing members of the public to pour themselves half a pint.


Carlsberg staff were on hand throughout the day to monitor events, safeguard under-18s (the legal drinking age in the U.K.), and make sure consumers were drinking responsibly.

Earlier this year, Carlsberg revived its ‘If Carlsberg did’ campaign, which the brand dropped in 2011 after almost forty years.

Why It’s Hot:

I thought this was interesting, but not perfectly executed. As we saw with the Coke example, interactivity and product sampling can work well for brands. However, it seems like there was a missed opportunity to integrate social and mobile (though the stunt probably went viral on it’s own) with # calls to action, posting photos, etc.


Innovative OOH from Audi in Germany

This Audi Emits Nothing but Water Vapor, So Its Billboards Are Made of That Too.


Innovative products deserve advertising that itself is innovative. This Audi campaign from German agency thjnk does a nice job of that.

The Audi A7 Sportback h-tron uses a fuel cell coupled with a hybrid battery and additional electric motor in the rear. Notably, nothing but water vapor comes out of the exhaust. And so, Audi created billboards that similarly leave nothing behind.

It’s clever and intriguingly produced, though it’s not quite clear how the effect is achieved. In any case, it’s perhaps most reminiscent of 2012’s “Invisible Car” campaign for Mercedes,which also promoted zero-emission fuel-cell technology—by draping the car with an LED “costume” that made it look invisible.

Source: Adweek 

Why It’s Hot: I like the alignment between the product claim to fame and the execution of the OOH ad — it’s a good way to get consumers to “get it” while also grabbing attention and intrigue.

Women’s Aid highlights domestic abuse with ‘world first’ interactive billboard

To coincide with International Women’s Day this Sunday, London agency WCRS teamed up with Women’s Aid and Ocean Outdoor to create some remarkable digital billboards about domestic violence. They use facial recognition to recognize when people are paying attention to the image of a bruised woman. As more people look at the ad, her bruises and cuts heal faster, communicating the benefit of not turning a blind eye to the problem. The ad contained a CTA allowing people to donate from their phone. Read more.



Why It’s Hot:
This execution is a perfect blend of technology and creativity. Most brands use DOOH to only communicate messaging, but this demonstrates how even traditional types of media can be used to create an emotional connection and drive immediate action enabled by mobile.

Device Only Dispenses Beer When Two Strangers Charge Their Phones Together

Alcohol has long been known as a social lubricant, which is exactly why Nordic agency group Hasan & Partners has created a device that dispense beer only when two people are charging their phone together. Installed at this year’s Eurobest, a celebration of European creativity held in Helsinki, the concept is designed to make networking more enjoyable, while also preventing too many awkward silences.

Built by Hasan & Partners’ sister company, Perfect Fools, the device dispenses Carlsberg beer whenever two phones are being charged at the same time. It’s powered by Raspberry Pi, and uses a USB hub to detect when the phones are connected. This in turn opens the draft taps on the beer dispenser, resulting in a much more refreshing way to catch up on the day’s events.


To take sharing a step further, the agency also created a virtual slot machine game that only works when people share their location (the Hasan & Partner’s stand at the conference) via Facebook or Twitter. Games can be played on mobile, but are also displayed on giant LCD screens at the stand. Prizes include deluxe cruises from TallinkGrupp, chocolate from Fazer, and a chance to share your work with Hasan herself, and Eka Ruola, CEO/CCO of Hasan & Partners.

Why It’s Hot

Though a device like this might never take off en-mass, Hasan & Partners have created a model that brands could leverage in OOH campaigns. The idea of “strangers” charging could align with certain brands like Coca-Cola who position their product as bottled happiness that change a person’s disposition. Providing utility like phone charging can add immediate value to consumers, and added functionality like games can keep people engaged in (branded) content. Plus, phones take some time to charge… that’s a lot of free time they could spend with a brand.

Source: PSFK

Netflix Launches New Outdoor Advertising Campaign with Responsive GIFs

Netflix has launched a series of outdoor advertisements to the enjoyment of TV and movie lovers in France..

For its entry into France, Netflix installed a series of digital posters, frames that display a simple GIF of an iconic scene from a move or television show. Examples include Walter White donning his sunglasses to take on his Heisenberg persona and Watson from Sherlock expressing disbelief.

Taking the concept to another level, the Netflix ads respond to local events — for example showing an exuberant dance scene from Orange is the New Black to announce a French soccer victory, or the scowling police officer from Fargo in the case of a defeat. The GIF posters also respond to weather. Walter White dons his sunglasses in response to bright light, and King Leonidas from 300 shelters beneath his shield in the rain.

Netflix has created more than 100 different GIF files, each of which can be played on any of the viewers they’ve positioned in public spaces throughout France. The electronic posters are supported with video ads on YouTube and the Netflix website.

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

Cool outdoor advertising seems to never get old, and it’s fun to see both innovation and simplicity in action. One would think that Netflix doesn’t need to advertise at this point, but they have a strategy to break in to new, more difficult markets that helps bring their offerings to life.

Same Trick, New Punchline

Earlier this year, we posted about this innovative transit ad in Sweden, where the billboard recognizes when a train pulls into the station, then shows the model’s hair blowing around as if she was actually standing on the platform.

It was interesting, it was simple. And it’s been taken to another level for the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation. Watch it here:


Source: AdFreak

Why It’s Hot

First, we’ve been seeing a lot of well done public-interest awareness work lately, and this adds to the pot. It’s attention-grabbing and stops you in your tracks.

Secondly, it shows the power of leveraging technology in innovative ways — even if someone has done it before. This caught my eye because I was at first doubtful that the same thing could be done twice — but it can when done right.



Google Embeds Itself in NYC with Outdoor Ads

Google has been running a lovely ad campaign promoting its rebranded mobile app. But some of the best executions have been pretty hard to find—because they’ve been woven into the fabric of New York City.

“Google search has always been about inspiring curiosity and enabling discovery,” a Google rep tells AdFreak. “This is the inspiration behind encouraging New Yorkers to re-look at familiar landmarks—both big and small—in a new light. By pairing interesting questions with visually intriguing placements we hoped to cut through all the sights and sounds of the city that compete for attention.”

google-ooh-project-7 google-ooh-project-6 google-ooh-project-4

Why It’s Hot

I think these ads are a great way for Google to illustrate the ways you can use their app. By creating site-specific ads tailored for NYC and each location, it cuts through the clutter of traditional ads across the city. It also reminds me of digital “native” advertising which continues to grow within our industry.


Samsung “Wall Huggers” Campaign Extended to Airports

Back in early July, Samsung launched a new Galaxy S5 ad calling iPhone users “Wall Huggers” and mocking the iPhone for having a short battery life while touting the battery-saving capabilities of its own newest flagship phone.

This week, Samsung has expanded the “Wall Huggers” campaign to out-of-home advertisements near electrical outlets at major US airports. The ads promotes Samsung’s power-saving feature, an indirect jab at Apple whose iPhone has been widely criticized for having lackluster battery life.


The real power of the marketing message doesn’t just come from that message and its placement near power outlets. The real impact is when consumers are huddled around those outlets in “the wild.”  Not only is Samsung’s message found during a period of active problem solving (finding an outlet), consumers are then tethered to their devices while they charge. This tethering exposes individuals to the marketing messages for much longer periods of time than a traditional advertisement.


Samsung has historically been quite aggressive against Apple.  Prior campaigns have attacked the growing culture of waiting in line for new product releases, what Samsung calls “Screen Envy,” and more.

Why It’s Hot

The “Wall Huggers” campaign is a great example of how aggressive, guerrilla marketing can make a more meaningful impact than traditional tactics. While the campaign is not heavy into digital, Samsung and their creative agency are showing how the right message can come at the right time by innately understanding consumer behavior. Samsung saw their competitor’s weakness and attacked in an interesting, unexpected way. My question is, will we now begin to see more advertisement opportunities around non-traditional locations/fixtures, such as power outlets, water fountains, and restrooms?

Source: MacRumors

Subway Ad Demonstrates a Woman’s Hair Blowing Around Whenever a Train Arrives

A hair-care line billboard in Sweden showcased a new twist on responsive design in a busy subway station. The billboard recognizes when a train pulls into the station, then shows the model’s hair blowing around as if she was actually standing on the platform!


Read more and watch a video here.

Why It’s Hot

With marketers competing for eyeballs, this campaign unexpectedly calls the attention of passersby who are likely “tuned out” and texting on their phones, reading a book, or listening to music.

This demonstrates the continuing evolution of technological capabilities, particularly for out of home campaigns, at a marketer’s disposal today. The out of the box thinking and execution are what helped garner worldwide attention.