5 min read

7 Best Billboard Ads that Inspired Us in 2023

Written by
Pavlo Fedykovych
Published on
May 29, 2024

The billboard ad concept is very different from what it was, say, 30 years ago. Today we’re living in a digital era where the OOH comes alive with 3D, AR, VR, and other creative ways to rethink the public advertising space. And let’s not forget about the good old static, there are some cool applications of creativity there too. Best billboard ads are those that invoke emotions, make people stop and stare, and instantly grab attention. That’s what we’re celebrating in this article, the best billboard designs of 2023. 

So welcome the best billboard ads 2023, an ultimate collection of killer OOH and DOOH campaigns.

1. Melting billboard of ITVX

best billboard ads 2023 - ITVX
Credit: ITVX

Why: one of the best billboard ads in 2023 hands down is this campaign by ITVX. It features a billboard that melts. Yes, you’re reading that right. The installation promoting the new ITVX show “A Year on Planet Earth” is covered in ice that gradually thaws to reveal the scene with a bear. It’s a mind-blowing case of creative marketing. Apart from the melting billboard in Westfield London, the company has also placed traditional DOOHs around the UK.

2. Skip the Cow by Flora

billboard ads 2023 - Flora
Credit: Flora

Why: just a classic OOH with minimalist looks and a fantastically communicated message. Plant-based butter brand Flora uses only three words to make their campaign memorable. And it works. The words are “Skip the Cow” and the advertisement is promoting their plant-based butter using straightforward tactics. The main slogan is showcased next to longer engaging texts like “you’d rather stick with cow butter? Classic herd mentality”. You’re looking at one of the best OOH ads of 2023 and an amusing marketing campaign. It exists in a form of physical billboards as well as a hilarious video. 

3. Celebration of Black History Month by Outfront Media

best billboards - outfront media
Credit: Outfront Media

Why: a great case of OOH used for social advertising, Outfront Media’s Black History Month campaign uses various mediums to celebrate African American artists and creators. This marketing effort is a result of a partnership with MoMA, Artsy, and Adage and we love how it’s done. The billboards highlight lives and art, inform audience about their achievements and help to promote Black History Month. 

4. Tiny Billboards by Škoda

Why: Škoda changes the OOH game with their latest “Tiny Billboards” campaign. The company partnered with Swedish miniature artist Christopher Robin Nordström to create miniature versions of the traditional billboards. Then, the brand placed them in the parking spots around Sweden to “invade the rearview mirrors and cameras of the drivers”. And that’s quite a genius marketing move. Something very original, tastefully crafted, and funny too. That’s why the campaign is on our list of the best billboard ads. 

5. Messi on Dubai Frame by Adidas 

Why: Adidas is the master of bombastic advertising. Look at this video. It shows a gigantic billboard that uses the famous Dubai Frame as an advertising space. It’s huge, it’s impressive, and it’s over the top. But it’s not what it seems. Adidas has played a trick with everyone right after Argentina’s win in the World Cup. The brand published this video prompting thousands of reactions from social media users around the world. However, the catch here is that the billboard itself is CGI. Dubai Frame isn’t used for commercial advertising and that was one big digital stunt. 

The company reported 250m organic views on their short video and it’s quite a result for a billboard that doesn’t really exist. But what this case really shows us is that creativity always matters. Adidas tried a new way of engaging with the audience using their Messi sponsorship as the driving force and the World Cup event as the perfect timing. And that’s how you create one of the best billboards of recent years. Even if it wasn’t real. 

6. La Vie unites religions

best billboard designs 2023 - La Vie
Credit: La Vie

Why: best billboard design of the 2023 award goes to La Vie brand for placing colorful tongue-in-cheek billboards in London. The message reads “A Jew, a meat-lover, a Muslim, and a vegan walk into a bar and share a bacon sandwich. No Joke” and it’s a perfect ad for plant-based bacon. And while it may not fly with some, it will definitely ring with those that are already preaching the vegan lifestyle. Because advertising is not always about looking for new consumers, it’s also about deepening the connection with the present ones. 

7. Serotonin-boosting billboards by Solgar

best ooh ads 2023 - Solgar
Credit: Solgar

Why: how to brighten up the dark January days? That’s right, by launching a campaign of illuminating billboards that spread serotonin. Solgar decided to promote its range of vegan vitamins by attempting a bold OOH move. They placed the billboards that literally are radiating with warm, light brown light. The mission of the campaign is to “boost the serotonin levels of passers-by” and the execution is flawless. That’s a marketing stunt you’re guaranteed to remember.

Our Previous List of 7 Best Billboard Ads 2022

We’ve gathered the best billboard ads of 2022. We’re not gonna lie, some of them are total bonkers. Liquid ads, 3D billboards, fruits on the street. It was exciting and very inspiring. Just like the advertising should be. 

What is the main outtake from these highly original campaigns? All the entries in this article are on top of their game. They know the trends well and they know how to be above the trend, not playing safe, getting edgy and provocative. This is the recipe for success. Alright, let’s see how it’s done with the best billboard ads of 2022. 

1. 3D billboard avatar of Emma Raduceanu by Vodaphone

Why: gigantic Emma Raduceanu smiling at you from the Piccadilly Lights billboard and taking a selfie? We’re in. Vodafone shows support to the British athlete ahead of Wimbledon with this well-crafted and innovative billboard campaign that takes it further in terms of audience engagement. Although the avatar itself looks a little bit like a 1995 NPC in some RPG fantasy game, the whole execution is remarkable and bold. So definitely a heads up from us. 

2. "Draw Ketchup" by Heinz

Why: a genius move from the ketchup behemoth Heinz, they made a billboard campaign from the drawings of their customers. A simple yet extremely powerful. The company asked people to draw the ketchup bottle. There was an anonymous campaign that was aptly named “Draw Ketchup” and many people (according to Heinz at least) drew their favorite brand of ketchup (in the majority of cases it was Heinz). Afterward, the drawings were printed for the gigantic billboards that graced big cities across Canada. Quite an original example of user-generated content-turned-advertisement. 

3. Liquid Billboard by Adidas

Why: this is the most talked-about billboard of 2022. A winner of Cannes Lions and other awards, it’s definitely a staple in advertising. The premise is quite straightforward but extremely creative. The setting is symbolic, it is situated in the middle of the Dubai beach. The billboard itself is promoting a new series of inclusive women's swimwear. Perfect advertising game here, Adidas. 

4. Reddit’s “find your people” campaign

Why: going cute and relatable always works. Although Reddit’s first-ever advertising campaign doesn’t impress with any special technology or gargantuan screens, it makes you feel good. And that’s also important. The out-of-home is only one part of the “find your people” campaign that introduces this social media network as a place to find like-minded individuals. 

5. Top Gun: Maverick Picadilly 3D billboard

Why: Top Gun: Maverick has made the impossible. Earning more than a billion in the box office during the post-pandemic time. Becoming the highest-grossing Tom Cruise film ever. Proving that people still remember and care about a story that first was introduced three decades ago. The marketing helped too and one of its parts was this impressive 3D billboard on Picadilly playing with the nostalgia and running stunning footage of the planes. 

6. Gigantic bees in Manchester for “Man vs. Bee” promotion by Netflix

Why: Netflix definitely knows a thing or two about promoting their original movies and shows. New Rowan Atkinson-led flick “Man vs. Bee” isn’t the exception. The company decided to create a special OOH project involving massive bees in the middle of Manchester. And it looks awesome, this is creative marketing at its finest. 

7. ‘Grab and Go’ billboard by Sketch

Why: okay, there is a lot to unpack here. To be honest, it’s the most genuinely surprising billboard campaign we’ve seen in a long time. So there’s a billboard covered in plants. Among the plants are the fresh fruits you can… grab. And then there is a gigantic bar of Sketch. All of it in the busy London’s King’s Cross. The perfect campaign, great message, and, well, fresh fruits for everyone.  

Here's our previous list of the Best Billboard Ads

Yes, we hear you, out-of-home may be a dull and boring medium for the end of 2019. But is it really?

Even though billboard ads may not take all the attention of the advertisers being in tough competition with the internet, they still rock. Sometimes they rock in a jaw-dropping way. Here's why we're here, to celebrate the most impressive and the best billboard ads of 2019, the ones that let you immediately go "wow, they've done what?!"

Because it is all about creativity at the end of the day. No matter whether you're going static or opt for digital, the more creative you are the more successful the ad campaign will be and, well, the more chances you have to top the "best ads" lists. Creative billboard ads are a true joy to witness and to write about. And as we discovered in 2019 there are no limits to imagination. The best marketing teams in the world have introduced us to self-immolating ads, smoke-spitting ads, heartbreaking ads, and gargantuan ads. Let's remember with Kitcast what went down in the best billboard ads domain this year.

1. Breathing armored bear. BBC Creative's "His Dark Materials" promo

best billboard ads

Source: BBC Creative

As you approach the Westfield Shopping Centre in London one thing stands out. You notice a gigantic billboard. But it's unlike any other billboard, it actually breathes. Not every OOH has a giant bear with smoke coming out of his mouth. Let's give it to BBC Creative (the branch behind the UK billboard ad), they were able to create an awe-inspiring campaign for their new show, "His Dark Materials", an ambitious adaptation of famous Philip Pullman's trilogy. 

The breathing bear in question is one of the series' protagonists, Iorek Byrnison who is, well, an armored bear. As far as billboard ads go, the one created by the BBC is definitely among the best of 2019. It instantly captures your attention, brings creativity in the game and is also a part of the wider BBC Creative OOH campaign that combines AR based on social awarding. 

2. JetBlue sign added to the historic Pepsi sign in NYT

Source: PepsiCo

Sometimes you have to be bold in your marketing efforts. That's the case of JetBlue, a major American low-cost carrier. Because what can be bolder than placing your sign next to the PepsiCo sign that is actually an 80-years-old designated historic landmark of New York City? That's exactly what JetBlue did adding their logo under the iconic sign in order to celebrate the fact that the airline switched from serving Coca Cola to Pepsi.

Also, the company announced the start of a major social media campaign with a hashtag #PepsiOnJetBlue. While it was considered a bit controversial given the location and status of the Pepsi sign, it has amassed thousands of eyeballs nonetheless thus achieving the main goal of spreading the message.

3. Harry Potter takes over Times Square

Imagine you're passing Times Square and suddenly all the screens go blank. Every single one of the largest digital billboard space in the world. That's what happened this September when Harry Potter took over the iconic New York spot. It seems that J.K. Rowling-created franchise has unlimited commercial powers because who else really can afford to do a full-Times Square take-over to reveal the new branding of the play? 

Not a new book, film or, well, play. But a new branding to already existing play that includes now the name “J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” done in the same Mary GrandPré-created font as the films and books as well as the new tagline that reads "Sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places”. Now that's some pure capitalist magic. And to make everything even more mindblowing, Sarah Jessica Parker has announced it all.

4. Colin Kaepernick's collaboration with Nike

Source: Nike

Sometimes the context is everything. That's the case of Nike's "Dream Crazy" billboard campaign with Colin Kaepernick. The outline is extremely minimalistic, there's a black and white close-up of Kaepernick's face, a "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything" tagline and iconic Nike's "Just do it"

It's extremely poignant and timely, it was Kaepernick that put his NFL career at risk when kneeling during the national anthem protesting against police brutality and racial inequality in the US. The outdoor campaign was implemented in three cities: Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco but its effects resonated all over the world as it was accompanied by extensive media coverage and a viral Twitter campaign. It was also awarded an Outdoor Grand Prix at Cannes Lions. 

5. AR + Static = Snapchat-powered promotion magic

Source: Snap Inc. 

Sometimes a blend of old and new is all that you need to lead a successful advertising campaign. Because you may not have a digital billboard ad but a static billboard ad enhanced digitally by the AR technology of your mobile. Snapchat did that promoting their new original series (yes, there are shows produced by Snapchat as well now and yes, they are vertical) The Dead Girls Detective Agency and Dead of Night. 

Done in Los Angeles, it featured regular funny and one of the best billboard ads with a large Snapcode, a sign that can be recognized by the Snapchat app launching an AR on your mobile. In the case of The Dead Girls Detective Agency billboard, the user saw a portal that played the trailer of the show. Dead of Night ad on the other hand had the arms of the undead held the phone that showed the clips from the series. Cool? Definitely.

6. Jack Ryan goes BIG

Nothing to see here, just a 50,000 square feet billboard advertising the Season 2 of Amazon Prime series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. And it can only be seen from the air as it is a rooftop ad created not far from LAX. As the FlyBy Ads (the agency specializing in this kind of campaigns) said, the Jack Ryan stint is "the largest rooftop ad of all time" and "the first of its kind to be lit at night.'' If that's not impressive, we don't know what is. Definitely, one of the most creative and the best billboard ads of 2019.

7. Vampire Posters that burn themselves with the first sun rays

One of the most innovative, inventive, and best billboard ads this year came from BETC/Havas agency in Brazil. To promote Fox's new show about vampires "The Passage", creative minds have created posters that start burning up when the sun rises. Yes, really. The agency has come up with a special paint that actually bursts in flames with the sun's rays. It might be one of those rare cases when marketing has led to the invention of some new chemical reactions involving paint and posters. Anyway, this campaign is a highlight of 2019. Although "The Passage" was closed after 1 season, the BETC/Havas endeavors in promoting it in Brazil are 100% attention-worthy.

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