20 Outdoor Ads That Break the Fourth Wall

Do you love outdoor banner ads? Looking at them from a civilian perspective, chances are you actually don’t! Let’s face it: outdoor ads are much too widespread, they tend to be obtrusive, they disturb urban and rural sceneries alike, and unlike other media… you can’t turn them off.
Most people hate outdoor banner ads, and the advertisement industry knows it! That’s why great efforts are being made to source designs so unusual and unexpected… that onlookers cannot help but to look, be amazed, and actually take notice. One could argue this is a necessary trend in outdoor ads design, meant to overcome ad blindness as well as the redundancy caused by too many advertisers competing for the viewer’s attention.

How to create a banner design that no one will hate

To put it succinctly: the aim here should be surprising the viewer, rather than trying to sell something. You’ll notice in the selection below that most of these ads get the message across rather subtly, without using classical keywords such as “buy”, “try this”, or “get it now”. It may sound counter-intuitive, but the modern consumer has grown SO tired of being pushed to buy something – smart advertisers now realize that trying to do so often has the opposite effect.
Since in this panorama you should actually avoid trying to bluntly push a sale, what are the best practices for creating outdoor ads that stand out from the crowd?
That is often achieved by conceiving of clever designs that break the fourth wall and integrate with their surroundings in quite original, sometimes outright artistic fashion. The present article compiles a selection of some of the best such outdoor ads we’ve seen recently. Scroll down the following section, and prepared to be amazed, entertained and inspired – all at once.

Clever outdoor ads that pop out… and lure you in


The take-away message for clever designers

There is a great lesson here for anyone working in the design industries – regardless of whether they actually create outdoor ad designs. The main take away is that you should focus on creating something that stands out from the industry’s established norms.
Whether you do that by breaking the fourth wall, by adopting unusual communication or by outright shocking the viewers’ assumptions is up to you: but keep in mind that unless you aim for attention-gripping designs… at very best your message will be ignored, and at worst it may negatively impact the brand you represent.

Harry Evans works for Discount Sticker Printing, and he wrote this article aiming to inform advertisers on how to get the most of their outdoor media investments.



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