5 Clever Outdoor Advertisements – Week 6

Over the past several weeks, we have taken a look at some of the most creative ads around today. From radio to television and everything in between, it’s clear that a lot of thought and work goes into creating the advertisements we see every day. And while we have examined twenty different ads so far, there is still one medium missing before we can wrap up this series of posts. What better way to conclude a series than by taking about the biggest ads of all? That’s right – on the docket today is the trusty billboard. It’s essentially a large whiteboard on a post where the only limit is your creativity (and perhaps, marketing budget). So let’s dive right in and take a look at how marketing agencies around the world created five clever outdoor advertisements.

#1. Pizza With Style – Donatos & Chaz Sun Fashion

ABOUT: It’s not every day that you see two companies sharing one billboard. But even more rare than that? Two companies sharing actual ads. But that is exactly what two businesses decided to do. When taken alone, the ads are normal. Everyone has seen countless promotional images like these. But when combined, through the powers of melted cheese – our attention is called to focus.

OBJECTIVE: The objectives of these two ads are to increase traffic to each location. Although I don’t know where each one of these businesses is located, it is possible that both are located in the same vicinity. In such a case, have a customer come by to shop and eat at the same time would be a win-win for both companies.

TARGET MARKET: The target market for pizza is quite possibly anyone, but the target market for women’s fashion is more narrow, of course. Combined, the target market seems to be young to middle aged women who want to shop at a mid-level price point.

CALL TO ACTION: No call to action is present, except for the call that your taste buds will be making once your eyes see the melted cheese ahead.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Fashionable clothes and delicious pizza. It’s a valuable combination that will undoubtedly transform some viewers of this billboard into customers.


#2. Get Organized – OfficeMax

ABOUT: At first glance, this billboard looks like it has a bunch of birds on it. But wait a moment, each kind of bird is labeled and organized neatly! In a clever approach, OfficeMax shows passerby’s that they too can be organized. And not just regular organization – they’ll get the help of a professional organizer named Peter Walsh. With help like that, getting your ducks (or other birds) in a row will be no problem at all.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this advertisement is to portray OfficeMax as the authority on and the key to getting organized. It’s a constant struggle in any office or school environment to keep everything in it’s correct place, and OfficeMax realizes this. By branding themselves this way, people will see them as more than a simple office supply store. Instead, they have become an office solution destination.

TARGET MARKET: People who are currently struggling with organization but wish they could be more organized are the primary target market of this advertisement.

CALL TO ACTION: The call to action lies in the words “get organized.” It’s a call that all of us have thought in our own minds for quite some time, but hearing it come from a company that provides a solution is helpful.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Benefits of organization are clear: higher productivity, lower stress, higher profits, lower expenses – the list goes on and on. If the organization solutions that OfficeMax is advertising truly work, then the value to the customer will be appreciated greatly.


#3. Cranes – Powerhouse Gym

ABOUT: Take an ordinary billboard and make it it much, much bigger. Then add two cranes and a construction sight. If that isn’t a formula for being noticed by people passing by, then it is difficult to think of what would be. This ad shows a man from Power House Gym working out by using the two cranes – a clear representation to the effectiveness of the gym.

OBJECTIVE: Driving memberships to the gym is no doubt the top objective of this advertisements. Yet word of mouth and buzz on the streets about this incredible ad will create a lot of publicity which, in turn, leads to even more gym memberships. It’s a short term and a long term investment all wrapped into one.

TARGET MARKET: The target market of this advertisement is most likely young to middle aged men who want to get serious about fitness and training.

CALL TO ACTION: No specific call to action is made aside from the image itself motivating the onlooker to workout.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Going to the gym creates value for the individual by providing them with a healthier lifestyle. Fitness and health are things that influence every area of our lives, so the value that lies within them is enormous.









#4. Trust. In Your Hands – Craftsman

ABOUT: In many of the billboard ads we see, there are 3 dimensional shapes on or around the actual billboard space. Yet rarely, it seems, do we see an advertiser make use of the support beam that holds the whole thing. And that is exactly what Craftsman did with this ad that bolsters a slogan of trustworthiness by using a hardworking, greased up and dirty hand to drive the point home.

OBJECTIVE: Advertising and building brand trust for Craftsman tools is the objective here. With many options to choose from when buying tools, Craftsman has to set themselves apart from the competition by building a positive perception of quality.

TARGET MARKET: The target market is anyone who needs a tool, but more specifically, a man who wants a quality tool that will last a long time while accomplishing the job at hand.

CALL TO ACTION: Like many ads, there isn’t a direct call to action with this billboard. The viewer is simply assured that their purchase of a Craftsman tool will be a choice they do not regret. Since the recognizability of Craftsman tools is already high in many peoples minds, the simple re-enforcing of brand ideals is the only thing that is necessary. Additionally, the Craftsman brand is so synonymous with Sears that the observer doesn’t need to be told where he or she can buy the tools at. It’s an accepted fact that Craftsman tools are found at Sears – a fact that further diminishes the need for words/call to action on the billboard.

VALUE PROPOSITION: If a professional counts on a tool brand for their livelihood, then it’s safe to say that just about anybody can do the same. A quality tool that doesn’t easily break is a great value to the consumer, and trust in a brand’s reputation goes a long way. Just imagine if a carpenter you knew who had been doing work for his entire life offered up advice to you about which tools to buy. If you’re like many people, you wouldn’t have a problem believing him, and you would take him at his word. So also the hand displayed in this ad creates a sense of credibility that persuades us to view Craftsman tools as high-quality.


#5. Cingular

ABOUT: Depending on where you are standing near this ad, you might see the words “hate dropped” first, or a giant orange chunk with the word “calls” first. Either way, your curiosity will be peaked, which will surely lead to being impressed by the creativity that went into running this ad for the cell phone carrier Cingular (now owned by AT&T).

OBJECTIVE: Dropped calls are one of those annoying things in life that make you say “we can put a man on the moon, but I can’t have a simple phone call.” Although the problem isn’t as widespread as it used to be, back when this ad was created, it was a real drawback to cell phones. By branding touting their brand as the network with fewest dropped calls, frustrated customers might just make the switch.

TARGET MARKET: People who are frustrated with their current network’s service reliability are the prime target of this ad. Instead of putting up with dropped calls, Cingular is telling these people that they can provide a better service with less frustration.

CALL TO ACTION: “Switch to the network with the fewest dropped calls” is the tagline in this ad. It’s a simple solution to a problem that plagued many early cell phone users.

VALUE PROPOSITION: A more reliable network, less frustration, and more peace of mind are three pieces of value that Cingular offers to prospective customers. No mention of pricing is involved, but the assumption made is that greater network reliability is in itself reason enough to switch providers.




What did you think? Leave some feedback! :)

8 thoughts on “5 Clever Outdoor Advertisements – Week 6

  1. I especially liked the Cingular ad. I remember reading somewhere that you are more likely to remember material if the question forces you to fill in the blank or plug in a few missing letters. The tendency to fit together a missing piece of the puzzle is just enough to feed that encounter into long term memory (and out of short term working memory). Not sure if that was intended by the billboard designer at all since dropped calls are such a common problem across the country, but it definitely is a nice little extra to make the ad more memorable.

  2. Austin, yet again you have given us great ads to view and comment on. I was drawn to the Cranes Powerhouse Gym. The ad is smart and well thought out by the designer. It makes me want to go back and start working out again. The cranes attached to the building and billboard is genius.

    Great Post

  3. Austin,
    Great job on your ad analyses! I love 3 dimensional ads because they typically leave a lasting impression on me. I agreed with all your value propositions. My favorite like Nick was the Cingular Ad. It’s pretty funny and really pulls the customer in to think about how their cell carrier is working for them.

  4. The ads you chose were clever and so interesting. All the ads went over and above the typical billboard ad of just a sign on a large stick. These ads did that something extra to bring the viewer in and want to see more of it and what was the whole message. The one I thought that did more to grab the attention of its viewers was the Cranes- Powerhouse Gym ad. This ad not only took their ad to a much larger scale, but they also incorporated cranes from the top of the building. This was great to see as a viewer and as a student learning about marketing and how you can step out of the box to get your customers attention. Great job Austin!!

  5. Oh the dropped calls one got me – I became so annoyed because the information was not easily inferred – I was like that’s not working! What kind of ad is that – ahhhhhhh ok – you got me! That ad was annoying and made the point – so I guess it’s okay. I also see the gym ad went all out by incorporating the cranes during construction. Funny. I would say my favorite ad was the “Get Organized” ad with the birds. That appeals to all of the neat freaks out there (including me). Seeing those birds lined up and sorted correctly made me very happy 🙂 Way to appeal to those who love the organizational process. Thanks for the great ad selection. Excellent! – sn

  6. I also initially was confused by the dropped calls advertisement. Even if it wasn’t their intent to cause you to have to study it for a moment it at least is causing you to have to spend tie focused on the ad. I would be concerned that if a large crowd were to form on the street would you see on the sidewalk the sign with the word calls. I don’t like ad thats I initially do not get because I feel it makes me unintelligent…As a girl who grew up in my father’s workshop I recognize Craftsman Tools as the standard and certainly dependable. Quality ad choices here. Good job.

  7. Austin, your choices in ads are outstanding. My favorite is the Craftsman for using the entire billboard and pole for their ad. The Donatos ad is ingenious in cross promoting their product with another company. The Powerhouse gym is creative and uses the space of a building under construction as a metaphor for the body. Office Max and it’s organized birds is funny to me. Imagine what Office Max and Peter Walsh can do for the mere human organization.

  8. Hi Austin,

    I enjoyed the billboards you’ve chosen. All are smart, yet effective. I particularly like to Donato’s Pizza board. At first glance, it does look like two separate boards. A closer review of the Billboard highlights the cleverness and effectiveness of the ad, suggesting pizza so good even a person on an adjacent billboard will grab it.

    The Craftsman billboard uses the multi-dimensional aspect well, I think. It seems like a good way to grab attention for a brand that doesn’t have the same popularity that it once had.

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