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13 Times Advertising Had Fun Outdoors in 2021


After Covid-19 forced people off the streets in 2020, 2021 saw creatives getting playful with OOH as we started to emerge from lockdowns

13 Times Advertising Had Fun Outdoors in 2021
2020 was a bit of a write off when it came to out of home advertising. With good reason - we were all lockdown and very much stuck inside the home. In 2021, though, restrictions around the world began to ease off a little (to varying degrees) and advertisers decided to rush outside and have some giddy fun. Here, LBB’s editor in chief Laura Swinton picks out some of her favourites.

B&Q: We Will Grow Again 

Uncommon Creative Studio’s work for B&Q unfold has been an insightful and instructive exercise in strategically remaking the most staid and formulaic of categories. But my affection for the outdoor campaign that launched as the UK was starting to emerge from the early 2021 Delta wave comes not from the head but the heart. Technically, yes, it’s great. A line of copy that says so much, taps into cultural shifts triggered by Covid-19, and a carefully crafted photograph… But I’ll be honest, it just made me smile. I do believe that advertisers have a responsibility to the environments and communities in which they advertise. And these blowsy, bright flowers combined with a message of hope definitely made Oxford Street that little bit more beautiful.

HSBC: The Lifegiving Light

Another plant-based outdoor campaign, this time from HSBC and Wunderman Thompson North America, who installed digital billboards that emitted colourful light to promote plant growth. The billboards, which popped up across New York, were built to show the bank’s commitment to Cop26

Double Moons in Dubai

If ever we’ve been in need of a little escapism, it’s 2021. MullenLowe Dubai literally transported drivers through the Emirati desert to the surface of Mars by projecting the Red Planet’s twin moons Phobos and Deimos into the skies. It was one of a series of creative exercises to celebrate the Arab world’s entry into the space race as the UAE’s Hope Prob entered Mars’ orbit.

Disney: Bearbnb

Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, a.k.a. Ashdown Forest, Disney created a one-of-a-kind Airbnb experience. Illustrator Kim Raymond, who has been drawing Winnie the Pooh for Disney for 30 years, hosted and helped to curate a loving recreation of the yellow bear’s home. 2021 marked the 95th anniversary of AA Milne’s iconic creation and Disney were determined to celebrate in style.

Folha de S.Paulo: The Most Valuable News

Craft, craft and more craft! In order to demonstrate just how valuable carefully researched and written journalism is, DDB agency Africa in Brazil decided to turn the news into money. Using the same processes used to make banknotes difficult to forge, the team took a series of important stories and recreated them as giant banknotes. This was a campaign where artistry and care was key.

ATMA: Scented Billboard

This one from HOY Buenos Aires falls less on the ‘carefree fun’ side of playful and more on the ‘creative problem solving’ side of playful. After nine months of lockdown, Argentineans were tentatively heading back onto public transport and into shopping malls - and so household appliance brand ATMA created a series of scented billboards to allow people to test out their sense of smell

Marmite: Explosive Billboard

Divisive condiment Marmite got a string of special builds that were very extra, and I was here for it. Launching a chilli-flavoured range, adam&eveDDB represented the explosive taste by showing a giant Marmite lid that had popped out of the billboard and into the windscreen of a parked car. 

adidas: Beyond the Surface Swimmable Billboard

Talk about making a splash! Havas Middle East has been working closely with adidas this year to promote its inclusive swimwear range and to encourage women to take to the water. A recent Yougov poll showed that only 12% of women in the UAE are comfortable wearing a swimsuit on a public beach or at a pool. In order to make a statement, adidas and Havas installed a water-filled billboard at one of Dubai’s most popular public beaches - and local women were invited to take a plunge and have a swim.

Finavia: Your Helsinki Airport

Airports are often named after famous people. John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Charles De Gaulle to name a few. But Finavia, which runs Helsinki Airport, wanted to do something a little bit more democratic with its grand launch of a new terminal. TBWA\Helsinki created a digital and OOH experience which allowed travellers to rename the airport after themselves. Logging in via the airport’s online portal, people could enter their name and see it rebrand the terminal’s digital signage.

Cadbury: Ask an Aussie

Caramilk is an Australian favourite, but to UK choc chompers it’s a bit of an unknown quantity. That’s why VCCP London and Cadbury stuck some real life Australians on their billboards in London, Manchester and Birmingham in order to spread the word and get the British public talking. Moreover, after a series of lockdowns, this outdoor stunt was a Covid-safe way to give people who’d been feeling a little bit isolated a chance to chat.

Netflix: Lupin Launch Reverse Heist

This isn’t strictly about the ad itself, but its installation. Back in January, to launch Netflix’s hit art heist show Lupin, agency DareWin sent star Omar Sy into the Paris Metro to put up the outdoor ads. He managed to do so completely undetected - and the PR generated by the BTS film certainly helped make the show a huge success for the streaming giant.


In the heart of London’s adland map, Soho is home to beloved cafes, record stores and pubs that will have a place in the heart of any ad folk who have spent time working in the city. As the UK began to emerge from the strictest of lockdowns, M&C Saatchi London - which is itself housed in Soho’s Golden Square - decided to launch a campaign celebrating these beloved local businesses. Iconic independent institutions like Ronnie Scott’s, Sister Ray, Gosh Comics, Algerian Coffee Stores, The Admiral Duncan, Bar Italia and more were platformed in the outdoor and online campaign. The illustration and design was as warm and bold as Soho itself.

Juhla Mokka: Making Christmas

A late entry here from Finnish coffee brand Juhla Mokka and agency SEK,but who doesn’t love an ambitious bake? In the run up to the festive period, the brand constructed a real-life gingerbread bus stop ad in Helsinki and the result is truly tasty.

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LBB Editorial, Mon, 20 Dec 2021 14:19:13 GMT