Blog, Print Marketing

Three Traditional Ads with Amazing Creative Twists


If you’re going to spend the money on an out of home or print campaign, you’ll need excellent creative execution to put your mouth where your money is, so to speak.

Ads that are flat won’t be remembered, drifting away into a sea of other unmemorable content like…well, we don’t remember. It’s not enough to simply present the information –  you must present the information in a memorably engaging way.

To reach the heights of creative execution, ads and campaigns require a creative twist – an “ah ha” moment if you will. In this moment, the main message should become perfectly clear, in a clever, insightful manner.

Here are three exemplary out of home print executions:

#1) Formula Bite – Builds Strong Teeth

Formula Bite’s Builds Strong Teeth billboard’s strength is its simplicity.

Conceptualized by the esteemed ad agency Ogilvy and Mather, the billboard’s visual utilizes the medium, taking a bite out of the billboard. It’s a visual metaphor that highlights the main selling point of their product: it makes your teeth strong.

The visual plays the most prominent role, while the copy plays it straight, simply providing the information required to tell the rest of the story. Without the 3 simple words “builds strong teeth” and the product shot, the story is incomplete; the copy and the product play their supporting role effectively.

Prominent visuals require only enough copy to connect the visual to the product. Trying to write a verbose headline will only distract people from the eye-catching imagery, and ruin your visual twist.

#2) Channel 32 – Hell Night

Unlike the Formula Bite ad, the writing does the creative lifting in this ad for Hell Night on Channel 32.

The headline plays off of a common convention – the director yelling “CUT!” to stop the action of other movies while “Hell Night” movies go against the conventions of regular movies. The headline communicates that 7PM Wednesdays on Channel 32 is something unique from the other weeknights, presenting it as something special.

The copy is prominent and engaging enough that the “ah ha” moment is when you realize that it’s an advertisement for “Hell Night”.

If there was a giant ghoul holding the knife, it would distract from the cleverness of the headline.  Since the words paint the picture, you don’t need to go overboard in trying to illustrate your message any further with an over the top visual, just the required info to fill in the gaps.

#3) – “Get Outside and Play”, an outdoor recreation apparel website, embraces the outdoor lifestyle to the fullest with their marketing.

By taking what is usually a position of weakness (“feeling rough” is usually feeling sick) and framing it as a position of strength (feeling adventurous), REI empowers their demographic — they don’t take sick days, they take bike-ride-in-the-mountain days.  This speaks to every outdoor lover who has a button-down job, whose natural inkling is to be on exploring the outdoors.

The headline and the visual only serve to connect one another to the product. The visual alone is generic and forgettable, and the copy without the visual doesn’t seem in sync with, but together they provide an immediate “ah ha” moment, framing a story of budding adventure surrounding the brand.

Parting Thoughts

Take notice that the product is not the primary focus of these out of home advertisements. The story encapsulates the unique selling proposition of the product or the target. The product itself is never overtly prominent, and always presented in a subtle, nuanced manner.

If the visual of an out of home advertisement is simply a product shot, the headline needs to be memorable and eye catching. If you want to use sparing, straight forward copy, make sure your visual tells an engaging story!

Whether it’s posters, wide format printing, direct mail, or promotional products, be creative when telling your brand’s story. Print Three can bring you to the finish line, with four decades of experience in print media and brand marketing. 

If you require top notch print quality to match your top notch creative ideas, find a local Print Three near you to learn more!


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