17 Compelling Ad Designs

Companies can establish their branding through advertising. With the help of an in-house advertising department or a design agency, they can realize their vision to promote their product or service. To stand out from the crowd, they need to create great ad designs not only to get recognition but to engage with their target audience. In some cases, brands (with the help of design agencies), they take their advertising up a notch and create eye-catching or engaging ads. It’s a way to showcase creativity and develop a connection with the audience.

So, in this article, we check out 17 of the best ad designs or popular ads that have captured the attention of many.


1. Delta

popular advertising example

Wieden+Kennedy came up with the concept of Delta and Tinder’s team up for a dating game. They set-up the advertisement on a wall in Williamsburg, New York. According to Wieden+Kennedy, they wanted to match singles for the ad campaign. They also used the hashtag #DeltaDatingWall.

The campaign had one of the best ad designs because it featured different tourist spots and enabled people to post on social media so others can join in if they’re in the area too. If not on social media, they can upload it on Tinder and get a match. 

There were also some statistics and facts on the wall for others to enjoy.

Plus, the ad campaign was successful too. It earned 16 million impressions on Twitter.


2. Twist

popular advertising example

Called the “Smartest Dumb Idea We Ever Had,” Twist, a design agency, ran an advertising experiment. According to the design agency, they find that people read about 3,000 messages from ad designs daily. So, for their billboard designs, they printed out words that you would buy in a grocery like eggs or butter. It’s a way to catch people off guard and make them wonder.

Their point was to illustrate that regardless of the message, small businesses (their clients) can create an impact with just simple words. To learn if their experiment created awareness, they asked ad viewers what they thought by posting a survey on social media.

For many, they were confused. But it still got them thinking.

An unforeseen result of their ad campaign experiment was that they received resumes. Some of those who applied noted the campaign on their cover letters.


3. Hiscox

popular advertising example

For this out-of-home advertisement, Hiscox tapped Grand Visual for their campaign. Hiscox wanted to demonstrate the ease of hacking in their ad campaign. They also wanted to demonstrate how small businesses can be targeted by hacking with limited security resources.

On the ad, any time someone hacks the server, a red pulsing dot would appear. It’s a compelling ad concept because it shows the vulnerability of a website or a server. 


4. Netflix

popular advertising example

JCDecaux handled the ad campaign to promote Netflix’s Altered Carbon. It’s a sci-fi dystopian series that explores life, death, and existence. It’s a surreal ad campaign as they employed the concept of “sleeves”, which are bodies used in the show. To achieve that, they utilized a mannequin inside a plastic bag to make it lifelike.

It picked up media coverage and got people interested in watching the show. It might be creepy, but it’s good advertising because it allowed passersby to interact by touching the “sleeve”.


5. BBC

popular advertising example

Here’s another channel promoting its new show through outdoor advertising. BBC promoted its new show: Dracula. In daylight, you’ll see an ad with what looks like bloodied stakes. As the sun sets, one can see the face silhouette of the infamous Dracula.

To add to the hype, they placed an emergency stake if a vampire appeared.

It’s one of the best ad designs because at first during daylight, you’ll get curious as to why there are stakes. Once viewed at night time, you’ll see how clever the stakes were placed as if people stabbed the titular villain. Passersby at night may stop at their tracks and realize there was something to the ad than just randomly placed stakes.


6. CW

popular advertising example

While CW didn’t use outdoor advertising, it managed to take interactive print ads to the next level. To promote its shows, it printed an ad through Entertainment Weekly. Installed on the ad is a small screen showing a live feed of all tweets about CW shows.

It’s one of the coolest interactive print ads because you’ll get real-time updates on shows. It’s a one-of-a-kind concept that could make the reader get hooked on the CW shows and maybe become a fan.


7. Ikea

popular advertising example

Not all ads will ask someone to use their body fluids. Ikea did something unconventional. Through Åkestam Holst, they ran an ad campaign where people received a print ad that said, “Peeing on this ad may change your life”. On the ad, the original price of the crib is 995 SEK (~$103.40). When a pregnant woman pees on the stick, the price will become 495 SEK (~$51.44).

It’s not every day an ad asks you to use their ad as a pregnancy test. But it’s a good advertising strategy from Ikea because if an individual’s an IKEA Family Club member, they can buy more products at discounted prices.


8. Tramontina

popular advertising example

FCB Saudi Arabia created the folded print ad for Tramontina. According to the design agency, the ad gives the illusion of having vegetables cut precisely. To execute the ad in a magazine, FCB used special paper to ensure that the cuts would look precise as if the reader would use it.

It’s one of the best ad designs in the list because it showcases the product well. It’s straightforward and makes the brand stand out.


9. Carulla Knives

popular advertising example

In another knife-related ad, Carulla Knives (Criterion Knives) also used a “cut-out” to illustrate their product. Ogilvy ran the campaign for the Brazilian company. It’s another example of good advertising because you would want to advertise your brand creatively without losing its brand identity.


10. Nivea

popular advertising example

To stand out from the competition, some brands have resorted to using interactive print ads. Due to pricing, the release is limited. That’s the case for the next five ads on this list.

First up is Nivea’s campaign. To promote their products, they had a board printed with a solar panel and a charger attached to it. There, the user can charge their phone as they sunbathe or enjoy their day on the beach (or anywhere else, really).

Not only is it a great ad campaign, but it also promotes energy-efficient ways to save the environment. Through that, Nivea is helping others to save more on electricity as well despite not being in the industry.


11. Glacial

popular advertising example

Ogilvy Brasil handled the advertising of the Glacial interactive print ad. 

According to Ogilvy, they used special paper to freeze the paper. It freezes at the optimal temperature the way people should enjoy drinking beer. Once you have the paper ripped out from the magazine, one should soak that paper in water. There, one can wrap that paper on a beer bottle, and they can enjoy drinking cold beer.

It’s one of the many popular ads due to the uniqueness of the ad’s concept.


12. Kontor Records

popular advertising example

Ogilvy Germany ran the Kontor Records ad campaign in 2013. Kontor Records wanted to promote a new record to advertising professionals. In doing so, they sent out an orange vinyl to advertising professionals.

From there, they can set-up the vinyl record, and place the vinyl on a ready-made turntable. They can play the record through their smartphone. All they needed to do was to scan the QR Code and the record would play. They can also go to a website where they can access more music from Kontor Records.

The ad campaign was successful that 71% activated the QR codes. It’s one of the best advertising campaigns because of its unconventional way to get people to listen to music and promote new records.


13. Spotify

popular advertising example

One of the most popular ads is the Spotify Digital Billboard campaign. For many advertising experts and critics, Spotify’s use of data for their ads is smart. They’re using the listening behaviors of their users to showcase the most listened songs and feature some popular artists.

It’s good advertising because it aims to show how Spotify has expanded. It also allows for a better understanding of how to use data for advertising purposes as well.


14. Guinness

popular advertising example

Since the advent of smartphones, some of us face head down and turn to our screens instead of talking to others. What Guinness did was to run a campaign called, “Phones Down, Bottoms Up”.

There you’ll see phones stacked facing down in the shape of a Guinness pint. It’s good advertising because the brand is enabling people to detach from their phones. Also, they should socialize while they have a pint of Ireland’s finest dry stout.


15. Adidas

popular advertising example

Adidas had a page spread for their “Forever Sport” ad campaign. At first, you’ll see women doing exercise poses. But as one flips the page on the ad, you’ll notice that the ad would look as if the women were executing a sit-up or split.

It’s clever because Adidas integrated its branding on the ad, which is to focus on sports or fitness. Also, it seems that Adidas may be showing how a certain move is done as well.


16. JBL

popular advertising example

With everything happening around the world and personal life, one can’t help but just tune out and forget about the real world. JBL did that for their “Block Out the Chaos” ad campaign in 2019.

Cheil Hong Kong did both print and outdoor ads for the campaign. As noted by many, it’s one of the best ad designs because the illustrations made good use of negative space to emphasize the shape of the headphones.

The ad campaign even won a Bronze Lion at Cannes Lions in 2017.


17. Scrabble

popular advertising example

LOLA MullenLowe ran the ad campaign for Scrabble called, “There’s Magic in Words”. To promote the game, not only was there a print ad, but there was also a TV advertisement. It’s a way for Mattel to rekindle people’s love for the game through a love story and love letters.

It’s also a clever way to get people to play Scrabble and maybe use the anagrams when they play the game as well. According to Saulo Rocha, the ad campaign won awards in different advertising festivals or competitions.


Key Takeaways

For brands to connect with their target audience better, they need to step up their game with their advertising campaigns. Fortunately, there are different ways to capture the audience’s attention. 

The brand and the advertiser should coordinate and integrate to create compelling ads for their audience. From there, they might be able to garner not only awards but also create buzz and acquire new customers along the way.

If you’re looking to create engaging ads at a low-cost, look no further, Design Doctor has got you covered. Aside from ads, you can request other visual assets like logos, flyers, and infographics so you could also meet your marketing and branding goals too.

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