Mind-Blowingly Brilliant Billboards

In a world where online marketing is often the norm, it can be easy to forget the importance and impact of more traditional advertising media. Enter the humble (or, perhaps, not so humble) billboard, one of the oldest forms of advertising. The giant roadside ad was popular with travelling circuses in America around 200 years ago, but archaeologists think that there may even have been billboards in ancient Egypt. In a world where eyes are increasingly glued to screens, billboards need to go all out to attract attention and spread the message. And these incredibly clever billboards really do just that.

1. Pore Blimey

Pore Blimey
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Above: This award-winning billboard appeared in the Philippines in 2006. Featuring a real-life, hard-at-work human with a mop, it conveyed a clear message about the efficacy of Pond’s anti-bacterial face scrub.

2. Get It While It's Hot

Get It While It's Hot
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Sometimes a simple image of your product is enough to sell it, especially if it's pizza. But by adding jets of steam to the front of this billboard, Donatos made their enormous pizza even more tempting.

3. High Stakes Drama

High Stakes Drama
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By day, this ad for the BBC adaptation of Dracula appeared to be punctured by a random selection of bloody stakes. By night, things got even more macabre, as the stakes cast a haunting silhouette of the vampire.

4. Half a Job

Half a Job
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Above: The KitKat slogan and font are so instantly recognisable that this ingenious billboard needs no explanation.

5. Chatting Chocolate

Chatting Chocolate
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Above: When Cadbury launched Caramilk in the UK, they wanted consumers to know how loved the product was in Australia. The answer? Australian humans sitting on billboards, extolling the virtues of the new bar.

6. Best Foot Forward

Best Foot Forward
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Above: In case you didn't know, March 26 is Nike Air Max Day, when die-hard trainer fans celebrate the iconic design. For the 35th anniversary, a spectacular 3D display plunged massive shoes towards passers-by outside Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan.

7. Eye-Catching

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Above: To celebrate 20 years of their famous 'Should have gone to Specsavers' slogan, the opticians launched a series of tongue-in-cheek billboards. As well as the funny one shown here, another was pasted the wrong way round, on its side.

8. Going Swimmingly

Going Swimmingly
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Above: On the stunning setting of a Dubai beach. Adidas installed the world's first ever swimmable billboard. Swimmers and divers performed in the giant tank, which was made to promote women's swimwear.

9. Food for Thought

Food for Thought
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Above: This lush, green billboard not only looks pretty but offers passers-by a healthy snack. Commuters in London were encouraged to take a piece of fruit from the display, which promoted Kind snack bars.

10. Flip Your Lid

Flip Your Lid
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Above: The world's most divisive sandwich spread has long boasted advertising as strong as its flavour, and this campaign to promote an extra-strong chilli flavour, is no exception. Can you spot the lid?

11. Dead or Alive

Dead or Alive
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Above: Modelo beer celebrated the Mexican Day of the Dead festival with a series of vibrant, hand-painted murals with an AR (augmented reality) surprise. Viewers could hold their phones in front of the paintings to see them come to life.

12. A Billboard with Bite

A Billboard with Bite
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Above: This Indonesian toothpaste ad is one of those billboards that really makes you stop and look. A very smart way of incorporating the ad concept into the physical structure of the billboard.

13. Switched On

Switched On
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Above: Sometimes the simplest ideas are the strongest. This billboard came with an enormous light bulb and a sensor, which meant it switched on when people walked past, attracting everyone's attention.

14. Think Fast

Think Fast
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Above: To mark Ramadan, when Muslims fast during daylight hours, Tesco ran this smart campaign. The images of dishes were empty all day, but filled with food at dusk to mark Iftar (the evening breaking of the fast).

15. A Sticky End

A Sticky End
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Above: This billboard is strong in more ways than one. Proof once again that sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most impactful.