The outdoor industry will be the first to tell you it gets no respect. There’s a history behind that: a billboard was for decades an afterthought, tossed in only as a support to broader TV or radio campaigns.
But the challenges of breaking through in this vintage medium have elevated creativity to new heights. The best outdoor efforts work because they’re simple—you need to “get it” within seconds as you drive by.
It’s safe to say the envelope has been pushed, which is why we’re presenting our picks for the most visually fun and arresting work over the last three years. None of these campaigns have won Obies, the outdoor industry’s highest creative honor (save one from Mini Cooper), but they easily could have.
Such creativity also helped the out-of-home industry, which includes digital and place-based media, grow 4 percent to $6.7 billion in 2012, per the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. Not bad for the Rodney Dangerfield of media. [NOTE: this article reflects a corrected industry revenue total.]