Most advertising is thoroughly underwhelming. Open up any newspaper or magazine and you’ll find a real lack of inspiration with so many old ideas rehashed for a different audience or product. Truly creative, imaginative and inventive print ads do not come along that often, so when they do, they’re worth celebrating. Take a look at the 30 print ads below and you’ll be wowed by the totally original concepts and ideas they contain. This really is advertising at its very best.
In this ad, Volvo wanted to make the point that we spend as much time in our cars as we do in our living rooms. They couldn’t have done it much more clearly and succinctly than with this floor plan design.
‘Live in your world, play in ours’ is the slogan at the bottom of this terrific ad, which blurs the lines between reality and virtual reality. The ominous sky sets the tone.
Sometimes, advertisers have to take risks. While most like to capitalise on their ‘real estate’ on a page, others take a more minimalist route in an effort to attract our attention. Sky Movies, promoting the movie Red, from the Three Colours Trilogy, did just this.
Another inconspicuous advertising effort, this time for the Royal National Institute of the Blind. Using such a small, almost illegible font, draws us – momentarily at least – into a world of visual impairment.
A similar concept to the ad above, the slogan is purposefully difficult to read so that we strain to understand what’s going on. 51% of all men read their newspaper’s back to front, apparently.
Not sure whether or not the newspaper cutting in this ad is genuine, but who cares, the concept is so very clever. ‘Don’t get caught with dandruff’. Love it.
So many ads play on our dreams, creating unreal visions of a world we can only aspire to be a part of. Others, such as this print ad for Utopolis, bring us back down to earth with a bump and a giggle.
The ad above asks a simple question: ‘Are you in the wrong job?’ If you feel like a pink ballerina in a bag of plastic toy soldiers, its time you logged on to Monster.com. It’s a powerful image.
A hilarious ad that strikes a chord with us all. ‘Granny, we love your cooking, but please refrain from touching us!’ That look on the little girl’s face is priceless.
Successful on so many levels, this ad not only cleverly demonstrates that IKEA have started home delivery, but also manages to act as a showcase for some of the company’s furniture too.
Most zoos would feature a picture of a monkey to advertise Chimp Week, but not Wellington Zoo. They’re cleverer than that. They’ve realised that they can attract more attention through other animals in surreal, simian poses.
I’m quite sure that the technology behind OMAX’s wide-angled lenses is fascinating and that the pictures it produces are breathtaking, but many camera lens manufacturers play on these in their ads. A bit of humour can go a long way and this print ad is very funny indeed.
Another camera company with a comical approach to marketing. The S60 can detect up to 12 faces, even if the human eye cannot.
Simple, stark and striking, this superglue ad hits all the right buttons. No words are necessary. It’s eye-catching and perfectly shot.
Certainly an innovative approach ñ most kids’ toys ads steer well clear of dangerous household implements. This one’s aimed squarely at the parents, not the kids.
Everybody’s heard of McDonalds, but McCafe? The image of the burger-shaped coffee bean, however, allows us to instantly draw a connection between the two brands.
So powerful that it leaves the road in need of stitches! If that’s your idea of a great car, then this advert will most probably float your boat. It certainly does mine.
Audio books are rarely seen as cutting edge, but this ad affords them a certain level of creative admiration. You’ll probably never see a pair of glasses like this again.
We often devalue female achievement in sport. We tend to think it falls so far below the standards set by male athletes that it’s worth little recognition. We couldn’t be more wrong. What better way to demonstrate the relatively minor differences than by using common, everyday objects as points of comparison. When it comes to the long jump, this difference is nothing more the length of a bus stop.
Arena swimwear affords you such power in the water that you’ll soon be chasing sharks, not the other way around. Of course, that’s not technically true, but it does make for a superb ad.
From Braga Menendez, an Argentinean ad agency, comes this example of top-draw inventive marketing. Fancy sleeping with four million big ones tucked under your mattress? It’s extremely uncomfortable, but who cares!
It just doesn’t get much more off-road than a big ol’ Billy goat, but how can you add an air of luxury to such an untamed, wild animal? Why, coiffure its hair into something befitting of a poodle, of course. Instant ‘luxury off-road’, just like the Taureg.
Sex sells. And while there’s a significant proportion of the population who are turned on by feet, the remainder of us just find them a little bit gross. What better way to grab people’s attention than to position a pair of heels in such a way that they resemble another, rather more attractive body part.
Heinz has a rich pedigree of tremendous print advertising. This straightforward, but iconic effort, in which a French fry is made to look like a smoking matchstick, is one of their best of all time.
Coca-Cola is yet another household brand with a rich vein of advertising know-how running through each of its various marketing wings. Striking in its simplicity, this ad is a real work of art.
The somewhat sad looking subject of this Aquafresh advert is made funny thanks to a thoroughly original concept. It really gets the point across and hammers it home.
It’s a problem we all encounter – food in the fridge starts to taste like a hybrid of the various dishes surrounding it. How can you convey that message to an audience in a single image? Answer – like this.
‘Because stains love your clothes’ ñ it’s a powerful strapline, but not an easy one to encapsulate in an image. Tide has done an ingenious job of depicting it here.
Hot Wheels cars aren’t just for kids. The first generation of Hot Wheels users are all grown up now and have other things on their minds besides toy shops and candyfloss, hence the somewhat sexual tone of this imaginative ad.
Last, but definitely not least, comes this ad for French marketing company, Kerozen. The slogan roughly translates as: ‘Hold on to your mice’. It says it all.
Tom is a writer and researcher who works with Cartridge Save, a leading supplier of printer cartridges to consumers and businesses in the UK.
If you like this post you may also want to look at: