Clever Billboard Ads that Will Stop You in Your Tracks

From bright, dancing colors to static, minimalist designs, billboard advertising still effectively grabs people’s attention. With so many companies investing in outdoor advertising, it’s no surprise why they get a seven-fold revenue. If 71 percent of Americans are exposed to billboard ads while driving, the probability of conversion is high. And if you’re still not whipping up your billboard design for the next campaign, you’re missing out.

In the meantime, get four takeaways on out-of-home advertising from this article:

  • Pros & Cons of Digital vs. Static Billboards
  • 4 Reasons Why Outdoor Advertising is Effective
  • 7 Cool Billboard Ads Worldwide
  • Why You Should Hire Professional Graphic Designers for Your Billboards


Pros & Cons of Digital Billboards vs. Static Billboards

Advertisers have the option to choose between digital billboards vs. static billboards. Before you pick an outdoor advertising design, let’s define both types and their pros and cons. 


Digital Billboards

Did you know that there are almost 400,000 billboards in America, and around 8,000 are digital billboards? Although not a lot of marketers opt for digital billboards, they still prove to be as efficient as static billboards. 

Digital billboards are computer-controlled ads. These billboard ads display electronic images that rotate a couple of times in six to 10-second intervals. Digital billboards also display multiple advertisements, having a communal space for several companies. More often than not, these billboards are versatile as they can be changed remotely. Creative and advertising agencies only need to access the billboard computer to update the designs. 


  • Versatility to update advertisements
  • Ads are short-term which makes them more effective
  • More lively and captivating
  • Brighter colors



  • More expensive than static billboards
  • Share the limelight with other advertisers 


Static Billboards

Another effective counterpart of digital billboards, static billboards are the traditional, stagnant billboard ads. The boost in revenue will have to depend on how advertisers craft their billboard graphics or integrate mundane objects to give life to static images. While this is still the most ubiquitous billboard advertising to date, there are still disadvantages. 


  • Cheaper than digital billboards
  • Advertising space isn’t shared by multiple companies



  • Ads aren’t changeable 
  • Steep fees for printing and installation
  • Billboard designs seem outdated due to long-term display
  • Less attention-grabbing


4 Reasons Why Outdoor Advertising is Effective

Here are four reasons to persuade advertisers that billboard marketing is effective:


1. Extensive Reach

Billboard advertising is perfect for brands that target a broader audience. Because of the number of people in hectic locations, brands can tap into audiences who don’t have an online presence. 


2. High ROI

UK’s Outdoor Media Centre’s research states outdoor advertisements are the last influential nudge before people take action. Considering that people are already mobile, billboards can drive them toward nearby retail stores. Overall, OOH has a higher ROI compared to radio and print mediums.


3. Huge Impact and Control

Unlike TV or radio ads where customers have full control for viewing or listening, billboards do the opposite. They “take control” of people by being displayed across busy areas, inviting people to take a look.


4. Size Demands Attention

Both digital and static billboards come in the most common sizes: 12 by 24 feet or 14 by 48 feet. Compared to other marketing mediums, these sizes are more eye-catching. When you display the ad out there, the billboard size, coupled with creative designs, surely grabs attention.


7 Cool Billboard Ads Worldwide

Take inspiration from seven of the coolest and most innovative billboard advertisements worldwide:


1. Mini Cooper

talking billboard campaign

Mini USA’s talking billboard shows personalized messages for Mini drivers based on the information they fill out upon purchase. By using a radio chip installed in their key fob, it sends a signal to identify the Mini driver. 


2. Brian Kane’s “Art for Commuters”

healing tool campaign

Brian Kane creates “nature billboards” to prevent commuters from distractions when driving along the Massachusetts highway. In the daytime, the digital billboards display trees and show the moon when darkness arrives. 


3. Max Factor

mascara campaign

Max Factor’s campaign for their waterproof mascara is commendable. The billboard, which is rain-sensitive, is the best way to present the mascara’s feature. Max factor’s billboard displays a woman’s oversized eyes and lashes with mascara. When it rains, the woman’s mascara appears to trickle down her face, a reminder that Max Factor’s mascara is different.


4. Alan Wake Sundial

xbox video game campaign

Alan Wake is an action-adventure video game that partnered with Xbox to create a billboard ad that is simple yet captivating. Being sunlight-dependent, the dial runs from Alive, Noon, and Dead. When nighttime comes, the dial points to Dead, which implies that “Dark is Deadly.”


5. Sunscreen

Innovative marketing example

Clemenger BBDO New Zealand uses 12,000 aluminum pegs on a billboard for a sunscreen campaign. Donning a plain, white background, this billboard then surprises onlookers with a woman sunbathing when the sun is out. 


6. Subway 

Subway advertising

Going against the tide in outdoor advertising can make your brand stand out, and Subway did just that. I guess sex still sells in this day and age. 


7. Belt Up Australia

Australia seatbelt reminder campaign

This billboard ad is a public reminder for Australian passengers to belt up even though they’re sitting in the backseat. Road accidents can be fatal even for backseat passengers, so it’s best to prevent it. It shows an effigy of a slingshot seemingly propelling a backseat passenger because he doesn’t have his seatbelt on. 


Why You Should Hire Professional Graphic Designers for Your Billboard

Billboard ads can increase your company’s bottom line. And hiring professional graphic designers is recommended because they know design theories, psychology, and trends in marketing.

For instance, experts will know how to embed storytelling in your billboard design. Keeping it bold yet simple is also another factor that only professional graphic designers know. Doing the billboard designs yourself doesn’t guarantee attention-grabbing design concepts. In turn, this can waste production fees, time, and marketing budget. 

Experts from Design Doctor can assess your marketing goal and create billboard ad designs that are memorable, creative, and compelling. For as low as $329 a month, you can request for unlimited designs and revisions. From billboard designs, posters, business cards to logos and social media graphics, the design process is easy, fast, and high-quality. 

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