The Best Outdoor Campaigns in the Past Decade!

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The biggest and best outdoor campaigns in the world are typically huge, expensive, and highly impactful. While observing them can be fun, content creators who are not multi-million dollar companies can also learn from them and apply the principles of advertising to their own efforts. With that said, we’ll explore some of the best outdoor campaigns we’ve seen in the past decade! Most of them can provide us with food for thought on replicating their successes on a smaller scale. Let’s begin!

Coca-Cola’s “Small World Machines”

In 2013, Coca-Cola set out to build a stronger connection between India and Pakistan. The two countries have had a history of political tensions. Coca-Cola’s innovative Small World Machines offered a live connection between people in both countries. Through interactive Coca-Cola displays, they would engage and complete tasks together. This would be something as simple as touching hands or drawing symbols of love and happiness.

Coca-Cola’s campaign was a great success as it achieved its primary goals. It promoted peace and understanding between Indian and Pakistan citizens. It also got significant media coverage and attention in both countries and internationally. Furthermore, the campaign demonstrated the potential of technology to tap into the emotions of the audience, to tell stories, and to bring people closer together. 

Burger King’s “Burn That Ad”

In 2019, Burger King Brazil utilized augmented reality to allow users of the Burger King app to burn away the competition, quite literally! As users pointed their phones in the direction of a competitive ad, they would see on their devices how the ad in question burns away and a reward takes its place. Users would see a digital coupon for a free Whopper which could be redeemed at Burger King restaurants throughout Brazil. Quite a creative use! 

Still, while a great example, it’s important to be mindful of context for this particular case. Burger King has built a reputation for being highly competitive and sometimes provocative in terms of marketing. That’s why this approach works so well for them. Consider what the identity and style of your advertising is. What makes it unique and fits the way you want your business to be perceived? 

Nike’s “Reactland”

Nike came up with an immersive and interactive experience in 2017 aiming to promote their React foam cushioning technology. It is used in various athletic shoes for additional comfort and responsiveness. Nike set up a pop-up experience which featured a large, colorful, and maze-like futuristic cityscape. Visitors to the installation were invited to wear a pair of Nike shoes with React foam and then navigate the maze. They would face various challenges and obstacles, allowing them to test the comfort of the shoes.

This is a phenomenal example of showcasing a product and leveraging the visual impact of display technology. Consider how a smaller business might utilize this combination to achieve its goals. For instance, interactive product demos can be a simple yet highly effective way to engage consumers!

Spotify’s yearly “Wrapped” outdoor campaign

We couldn’t go through this list without at least briefly mentioning Spotify. Their annual “Wrapped” outdoor campaign is a personalized music recap feature. It typically emerges towards the end of the year and shares insights into the listening habits of Spotify users. 

The content shown in the outdoor campaign features top songs and artists of the year, infographics, stats, and plenty of shareable content. Every year, there’s always something special which makes the campaign stick out, so it’s quite exciting to anticipate it. Last year, for instance, the signage was a bit more playful, with plenty of puzzles and games for viewers.

The Samsung Waterfall in Times Square

Times Square visitors are not strangers to seeing a highly-complex composition of various digital signage advertisements and messages. In 2021, Samsung unveiled a unique art installation to the area and gave a bit of refreshment to visitors. The cascading waterfall installation, more than 100 meters tall, was quite a sight to behold!

This was quite a powerful way to showcase the technology Samsung has to offer. With hundreds of thousands of pedestrians daily and millions of impressions across digital media, the art installation drew much attention to itself. Take a look at a time-lapse of the three-month construction process.

Google Pixel Fold Anamorphic Campaign

Anamorphic illusions in this context trick the eye that it’s observing a 3D environment on a flat digital display. We talked about them in the past, so be sure to check out some more examples if you’re interested! One such example is Google promoting the Google Pixel Fold in London. It’s actually a somewhat recent example as the Pixel Fold was announced on May 10th, 2023. It’s a foldable smartphone by Google, in line with the trend of foldable devices we’ve been seeing in recent years. 

The anamorphic campaign is a good example of appropriate visuals to use in this context. Very straight to the point, eye-catching, and concise. While it may not be the most innovative example of outdoor advertising, it is current with the rising trend of anamorphic illusions. There is no doubt this particular trend is growing and with time we’ll see some really creative and unique stuff! 

With that said, the past decade had some really awesome digital signage campaigns. And by the looks of it, the upcoming one will truly take our breath away!

Cover image by Vinzent Weiskopf.