100 Brilliantly Creative Bus Shelter Adverts
Advertisers are having to become more and more innovative to capture the public’s attention, and bus shelters are a popular spot for them to deploy the best and brightest ideas. Many companies recognise bus shelters as an important spot for ambient advertising as consumers can be sat around for a long time and need something to keep them occupied and dispel boredom.
This list of 100 bus shelter adverts highlight the ads that are most alluring, funny, creative and eye-catching from around the world. Some are decorative, some make you think and some just mess around with bus shelters in crazy and dumb-founding ways.
This Malaysian bus stop is sure to have made a few commuters late for work back in the day, as it is covered bubble wrap. And who can resist bubble wrap? The bubbles were covered in PlayStation 2 buttons (triangles, crosses, circles and squares), marking the cross-section between ambient advertising and gaming practice.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Extreme sports clothing Quicksilver attached a quarter pipe skateboarding ramp to the side of a bus stop in a bid to encourage youths and hooligans into the open as well as to promote their brand.
Formula 1 has been growing in Asia and the number of Grand Prix races held in the Far East has grown in the past few years; this bus station was augmented to promote the Singapore Grand Prix and is decorated in the style of chequered flags, with a model F1 car on top.
Agency: Duda Propaganda
Brazilian soft drinks company Guarana Antarcticareally got in the mood for the last World Cup, replacing bus shelters across SÃ£o Paulo with actual goals. Gimmicky, but this surely played into the national mood.
Agency: Publicis, Frankfurt
We’re not really sure what this ad is trying to say about the Wonderbra, but it is certainly eye-catching. Just be careful around glass when you’re wearing one in the future.
Who is Marge Simpson without her distinctive tower of blue hair? The Comedy Channel clearly think that the Simpson family matriarch would be somewhat lacking without it, so they’ve defied the dimensional restrictions levied upon them by Canada’s bus stops to promote The Simpsons in syndication.
Agency: DDB, Stockholm
This advertisement for the Golden Arches is sure to spark curiosity and engage commuters, and it’s a bit clever too. Solve the puzzle and find the message – then, maybe go to McDonalds and get a coffee.
Agency: Bates Red Cell, Sweden
These Swedish ads for Heinz ketchup are not the most original – we’ve seen plenty of these kinds of ‘half-full container’ ads across the internet – but the agency has taken note of the larger scale and filled it with full-sized tomatoes. They’re most likely fake, but this is still kind of quirky.
Agency: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada, Starcom Worldwide, and Astral Media Outdoor
Adverts for this Pixar classic without balloons would be somewhat pointless and far less colourful, so actual balloons, attached to bus shelters, are an original way of extending this classic promotional image beyond the parameters of the traditional bus shelter ad.
Agency: M&C Saatchi, Melbourne
Australia Post’s ‘Personalise Your Post’ campaign turns a mirror to commuters nationwide, quite literally. If you’re bored at an Australian bus stop, take a second to consider what you’d look like on a stamp.
This expansive ambient advertisement transforms a bus stop into an over grill. We’re not sure if it will warm people up on cold winter nights as they wait for their bus home, but it certainly looks great.
To promote Colormagic, a detergent that protects colors from fading out, Perwoll created a colour-blindness test to be displayed at bus stops. At its centre is a bottle of Colormagic, made out of rolled up socks and clothing, that may take a few seconds to find.
Agency: McCann Erickson Istanbul
Coca-Cola has installed vending machines at bus stops in a clever ploy that spread their brand excuses and gives consumers a new way to buy the soft drink.
This partly translucent National Geographic bus shelter ad is visually striking and is sure to capture the attention of passers-by and give them a taste of the kind of visually-striking images broadcast on the National Geographic television channel.
Agency: Discovery Communications, Washington DC
The Discovery Channel gave people the chance to become an astronaut for a few seconds; you just put your face in the hole and take a picture. A quick, fun way of getting the message across.
ABSOLUT LEMON DROP
Absolut pushed the boat out and full redesigned an entire bus stop to push their new brand of lemon vodka, complete with comfy seats and a bushel of lemons on the roof.
Agency: Miami Ad School ESPM, SÃ£o Paulo
This thought-provoking ad, depicting a map of the world slowly filling with water, attempt to show the potential effects of global warming.
The interactive example of ambient advertising plays on the how adorable you find golden Labrador puppies, so it is a pretty sure bet that most will find this extremely effective.[Via w5blog
MARCH AGAINST THE TERRORIST ORGANIZATION FARC
Agency: Sancho BBDO
This ad is creative and required effort on the part of its proponents as they chained themselves to their bus shelter in order to promote their cause and their march. Sure to alert people to their message and turn a few heads.
Israeli cheese manufacturer Tnuva created a new brand of mini Bulgarian cheese and so created a correspondingly tiny bus stop to promote it on. Quirky and fun.
NYCELL PRICKLY HEAT POWDER
This Indian heat powder company knows hot hot and humid India can get and sympathises with those who have to wait for buses in such, so they fitted a bus stop with an oversized air-cooler to refresh waiting passengers.
Complete with the tagline “Bring Life Anywhere”, Aquario Mania has decked bus stops out with aquariums, filled with swimming, exotic fish. A wonderful way of promoting the aquarium and giving people a taste of what’s to come.
This Lego ad tries its best to blend in with it surroundings by partly recreating them with Lego, but they can’t resist a bit of an imagination and throw in a couple of Lego monsters to excite any younger passers-by.[Via Ads of the World
Specsavers have a popular slogan in the form of “You should’ve gone to…” and this ad shows how they are using clever visuals to recycle it. In this case, a moped has been “driven through” a bus stop.[Via Ads of the World
HOMEPLUS TESCO VIRTUAL STORE
Agency: Cheil Worldwide
Have you ever sat at a bus stop and wondered where you’re going to find the time to do your weekly shop? No worries, Tesco in South Korea are allowing you to get it over with as you wait for your bus. More ambient shopping than advertisement.
Agency: Publicis, Frankfurt
What better way is there for a fish company to promote the freshness of their fish than to give examples? Fische Franke filled advertisement boards with water and fresh fish just to highlight how fresh their product is.
Agency: Ubi Bene
Ikea, quite simply, put one of their sofas and print advertisement at a Parisian bus stop
. Quite a change from a hard, plastic bench that was surely much appreciated. A happy surprise for Paris’ commuters.
To promote Streetview, Google turned a bus shelter into web browsing tab. The shelter is transparent so it appears the scene behind is a Streetview image, and it is completed by the inset map and Google logo.
At one particular shelter advertising health club Fitness First, commuters in Holland could sit down on the bench and have their (or a group’s) weight measured. It’s unclear whether it convinced/guilted people into joining the gym or not, but it’s certainly raises a giggle.
YAHOO! COMMUNITY GAMING
Touchscreens will feature regularly in this list, but Yahoo! set the standard pretty high with their effort. Setting up shelters across San Francisco, commuters could play games and compete against other neighborhoods to see which one was the best.
MCDONALD’S STEAMING COFFEE
To convince commuters to avail of their free coffee offer during breakfast, McDonald’s installed a steam machine into bus shelters which activated every so often. The effect was that it showed the coffee in display steaming which was bound to catch attention.
Agency: Jung Von Matt, Germany
Proof that not all ads have to be quirky or funny, some can carry a serious message effectively. In Hamburg, commuters would be greeted by a normal ad showing a couple together. However, a hidden camera spots when commuters aren’t looking. When it does, it changes the image to a scene of domestic violence. A powerful message made more poignant by its tagline, “It happens when nobody is watching.”
Agency: Saatchi&Saatchi, South Africa
To promote the message of saving energy, the world’s largest energy saving lightbulb manufacturers created this Cape Town bus shelter which only lights up when someone sits down on its bench.
GLACEAU RECHARGE BOOTH
Agency: Crispin, Porter & Boqusky
This shelter provided commuters with three USB ports so they could recharge their smartphones, iPods, or other electronic devices. The ad was to promote Glaceau’s vitamin water which claims that it will leave you revitalised after drinking it.
NORWEGIAN AIR SHUTTLE
Agency: Kitchen Leo Burnett, Norway
How do you convince people to book flights and go on holidays? Let them know how cold it is so that they’ll want to travel to someplace warmer. That’s what Norwegian Air Shuttle did with their campaign, setting up digital thermometers in bus shelters for this very purpose.
Agency: Barnes, Catmur and Friends
Following the theme of the last ad, this is either really clever or just a cruel way to tease people. In New Zealand, commuters were given the temperature of Fiji as a way of convincing them to book flights there.
Agency: Design Factory International
Digital canvasses were installed around the German city of Hamburg, and anyone with a Bluetooth phone could use it to spray their own graffiti. The campaign was to help promote fashion designer Marc Ecko’s clothing range.
To promote the launch of its new Chocolate handsets, LGE installed five touchscreens in London, Manchester and Glasgow. The devices featured information about LGE’s new products as well as trailers for the James Cameron film Avatar, which was due for release at the time.
Agency: MarketForce, Australia
Promoting Big Brother Australia back in 2008, 20 bus shelters were fitted with Bluetooth transmitters across the city of Perth. Any users within range of the shelter would get an anonymous text saying that they were being watched at the bus stop they visited. If that sounds creepy, users got a second text 30-40 seconds later revealing the nature of the text and an advert for the show.
Agency: Rethink, Canada
A fun campaign to promote the odder aspects of science, this shelter had a sneezing machine fitted in which, when the button was pressed, would squirt out some water and provide a voiceover. Thankfully, the water was harmless.
AUSTRALIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION
Agency: Marketforce Perth
To acknowledge those who opted for public transport instead of driving their own cars, Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation set up bus shelters which gave a round of applause whenever someone sat down on the bench.
Agency: Leo Burnett, Puerto Rico
To show that its hair colours were waterproof, Koleston set up bus shelter ads filled with water to show that their colours don’t fade when wet.
CADBURY CREME EGG
Designed for bored commuters, Cadbury followed Yahoo!’s example by creating their own touchscreen game, ‘Splat the Egg,’ which is exactly as it sounds.
Another interactive ad, this time from Nokia promoting its Nseries phones back in 2009. At the time, the campaign gained interest with it boasting 261,847 ‘hits.’ It is fun hearing those being interviewed saying that it’s ‘current’ and ‘amazing’ though, showing that hindsight is such a wonderful thing.
HMV – VIRTUAL STORE
UK commuters were given the opportunity to purchase DVD while waiting for the bus. Through the use of QR codes, they could scan and purchase them, where they would be later delivered to their homes.
If you remember the Evian rollerskating babies (or more likely, struggled to forget about them), they continued the campaign by setting up interactive touchscreens across U.S. cities.
How do you promote industrial strength security glass? Create a shelter with $3 million placed inside it and challenge people to break it open. The reality was that only the $50 on top were real, but that doesn’t make this any less clever.
American TV station, Spike TV decided to brighten up U.S. bus shelters by installing some colourful lightsaber displays. The installation was to promote Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, when it became the first basic-cable channel in the U.S. to air all six Star Wars movies.
SUNSMART CANCER COUNCIL
Agency: Cooch Creative, Australia
This Australian bus shelter, which highlights the danger of skin cancer, offered some free sunscreen in case you forgot to put some on.
Agency: Trigger, Canada
Promoting the dinosaur exhibit at Calgary Zoo, this bus shelter was destroyed to give the effect that dinosaurs had rampaged through the area earlier.
Agency: DDB, Italy
Installing a shower curtain at a bus stop, pulling it away would reveal the killer.
To show that its flights are relaxing and promote the “mood lighting” on its planes, Virgin America added some to some bus shelters.
Agency: JCDecaux Australia
To warm up commuters and tempt them to book flights to 78 summer destinations, Air Asia built heating units into three shelters located in Sydney.
Agency: 101 London
A cake dispensing machine set up in 19 different locations in England. Lesson: If you’re promoting something, free cake works wonders.
Agency: Beattie McGuinness Bungay
A smart campaign where a fibreglass 3D potato was installed. When you pressed a button on the ad, a hidden heating element warms the potato and releases the aroma of an oven-baked jacket potato around the bus shelter.
REAL HIP HOP
Agency: Denstu, Brazil
A nice illusion where anyone who sat down in front of the afro would look like they had one themselves.
CHRISTOPHER & DANA REEVE FOUNDATION
Agency: BBDO New York
An effective campaign which makes it look like the commuters sitting on the bench are actually on wheelchairs.
SWINGS – BRUNO TAYLOR
Making the wait for a bus that bit more fun, Bruno Taylor installed swings at numerous London bus stops. It’s not exactly advertising, but still a creative way of looking at familiar things.
THE DIGNITY PROJECT
Agency: Grey, Canada
The Salvation Army in Canada created a series of ads featuring homeless people reaching out for necessities such as milk and blankets. What made it effective is that the objects in question were real and located at the top of the bus stop. It also brought the same principal to supermarkets.
This image may be eye-catching on its own, but the fact that it was created using 7,500 dice makes it more impressive.
VICTORIA BUG ZOO
Agency: Rethink, Canada
Using a plastic sheet containing hundreds of small magnifying lenses, this installation let people see the world through the eyes of a bug.
Agency: Dival Guillaume
Letting people sell their own cars, Alfa Romeo created a noticeboard that allowed people to advertise their car so they could buy an Alfa Romeo.
COCA-COLA GRIP BOTTLE
Agency: Marcel, France
This Coca-Cola ad was printed on Velcro so that when people interacted with it, their clothes would stick. This was to show that Coca-Cola’s grip bottle makes sure you won’t drop it as easily.
Agency: Agency59, Canada
To see the ad, you flick the light switch, getting the message of saving energy across and adding an interactive element to the ad.
Promoting its coverage of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, etv created this glass-shattering ad.
RUBBISH SINCE MONDAY
To show how much waste we generate weekly, this bus stop ad was filled up with rubbish every day until it filled the entire board.
Agency: MacLaren McCann, Canada
Asking the question of invisibility, this ad makes it look like nobody is at the bus stop, but walking closer shows that what you originally saw was just a poster.
SAN FRANCISCO ZOO
Agency: BBDO west
Similar to the afro ad earlier, stand in front of the image and make yourself look like a butterfly or peacock.
Agency: TBWAOSLO, Norway
With discarded clothes near the bus stop, this ad makes it look like the person in the photo has escaped to a much warmer climate and urges you to do the same.
Agency: Bruketa@Zinic, Croatia
The blurb reads: “At this moment, your bum is completely exposed. If it were a sexy pair of jeans, it would attract attention all the time!
MCDONALDS – ASIAN WEEK
Agency: DDB Helsinki, Finland
Promoting its Asian menu, this ad only folds the edges of the poster to make it look like the model is wearing a conical Asian hat.
MCDONALDS – NIGHT
Agency: DDB Sydney
Incredibly smart from McDonalds who use the bus shelter’s reflection to complete its logo and help you read the tagline (It says “Open all night”).
NORWEGIAN AIRLINES – KILT
Agency: Volt AB, Sweden
To show that it now flies to Edinburgh, Norwegian Airlines’ ad lets you pull away the kilt to see the offer.
NORWEGIAN AIRLINES – THE SAUNA
Agency: Volt AB, Sweden
Similar idea to the kilt campaign, but this time promoting Helsinki and its saunas.
Agency: Proximity BBDO, Canada
Because dogs relieving themselves in public spaces is a problem, this shelter gave out free bags to help clean up the mess.
To show that their drinks are different, Absolut Vodka designed this bus shelter with a twist.
HARD ROCK CAFE
Simple, gets the message across and relates to the theme of rock. Next!
Clever as it (a) panders to those who are annoyed about waiting for the bus and (b) flags you a taxi.
Promoting its screening of the film Marie Antoinette, One TV gets bonus points for its clever reference to the her eventual fate.
ABSOLUT VODKA – PURITY
Agency: TBWABeing, France
Highlighting the purity of its vodka, Absolut got three artists to create pieces of art formed only from folds. No ink or chlorine was used and only 100% cellulose paper was used. These were then installed in bus shelters around Paris.
Agency: BOX, Lithuania
This bus shelter measured how load commuters are by measuring the decibel count at each bus stop. This was to promote the Lithuanian festival ‘Eurobasket 2011.’
This impressive 3D design of a Coors Light beer in ice will certainly catch the eye, especially when it’s hot and sunny.
SALVATION ARMY OF NORWAY
To fund its homeless shelters, this bus shelter let commuters make contributions through a coin slot located above the man.
Agency: TBWAFREDERICK, Chile
Transforming the bus shelter into a dog shelter, commuters were made aware of the conditions homeless dogs are living under and hopefully convince them to take part in the Pedigree Adoption Program.
Agency: FHV BBDO, Netherlands
Using the maps of the Dutch underground train system, Cafe Fresco created an image of a man drinking coffee using only train lines.
MCDONALDS STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE
Agency: Cossette, Canada
To promote their new fruit smoothie range, McDonalds turned a traditional ad into a giant 3D strawberry, mimicking the look and feel of a real strawberry.
AIR-CONDITIONED BUS SHELTERS
Not a campaign per se, but still pretty cool. Dubai currently has 900 air-conditioned bus shelters in the city and this video shows the first batch being introduced as far back as 2008.
FOUNDATION ABBE PIERRE
You wouldn’t think it, but this campaign shows that some people live in dwellings that are barely the size of a bus shelter.
A fun campaign where a giant mobile acts as a walkie talkie, allowing people to connect with random strangers.
Following the idea of illusion, these ads use transparent billboards to give Swiss people a snapshot of life in other parts of the world.
MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM
Agency: Engine Company 1, U.S.
Transforming bus shelters into a virtual aquarium, commuters were invited to use the touchscreen installed and see the wonders of aquatic life.
A brilliant piece of marketing here. To highlight the fact that guide dogs let their owners make their way round as if they can see, this ad only uses the image of a transparent dog to get the point across.
ZERO TOLERANCE AGAINST GRAFFITI
Agency: Lifelounge, Australia
To show that they have zero tolerance against graffiti art, shelters promoting the graffiti inspired Adidas Cope collection were tagged by the organisation.
Agency: Cheil Worldwide, Korea
Using the same principle as the Amnesty International ad mentioned earlier, Zaps’ add uses a camera to see if people are looking at it. When they are, the ad is clean, but when they’re not, cockroaches appear.
Tying in with the last Winter Olympics in 2010, Vitaminwater transformed this bus shelter into a ski lift.
Agency: Jigsaw Agency
Highlighting the plight of homelessness, commuters who sat in this bus stop were greeted by a cardboard roof and a message alerting them to the problem many homeless people face. The ad was made for United Way of Greater Milwaukee.
[Via Creative Criminals]
AGENCE DE SANTE DE QUEBEC
Agency: Ig2, Canada
A brilliantly clever campaign where, to help raise interest in pursuing a career in public health, commuters were asked to plug their headphones into the stethoscope provided to hear a patient’s heart.
MCDONALDS – STEAM
In a bid to promote its fresh and healthy salad range, McDonalds created this steamed advert.