After yesterday’s “taster” hopefully you’ll have been eagerly anticipating this post looking at my favourite ambient advertisements. There seems to be some discussion as to the difference between guerilla and ambient advertising so I’m sorry if I’m using the wrong terminology but basically I’ll be looking at adverts that make use of their environment. This is probably my favourite subsection of advertising and graphic design and hopefully the examples I’ve chosen will show why.

Guerilla advertising started as a very low cost way of selling products making use of stickers and their surroundings to convey a message. Because these ads have to be “in situ” it generally meant they had to be repeated quite a few times in order for enough people to see them to make it worth doing. With a rise in social media and viral marketing I think generally companies are spending more on just one guerilla advert and letting the power of the internet spread the word, as opposed to doing a lot of low cost adverts in different places. This is just my own personal theory so I could well be wrong.

I generally think that these adverts are much more effective when experienced in person and I think the skill involved in them should be to find a way of catching people’s attention as they go about their day to day business. I tried to avoid ones that seemed to be one off high cost affairs or simply ones that I doubted people would notice as they went about their business – although a lot of them were very clever and hard to resist, I kind of think they miss the point.

Ogilvy & Mather, Malaysia for Duracell. There are some great uses of escalators in ambient adverts but I think the simplicity of this one makes it stand out for me. They just have to hope the escalator doesn’t stop!

Ogilvy, South Africa for Golf GTI. What is your car thinking?

Agence V, Paris again for Golf GTI to be used during the Paris Motor Show. A nice use of event and placement to advertise.

Mercedes Benz aren’t letting the car side down with these 2 great examples of ambient adverts by BBDO. Above, showing the car to be fast even when parked with a few well designed signs. Below, offering car drivers the chance to ‘test drive’ a Mercedes Benz by putting the logo on the car, showing how much better it looks. This exploits the concept of a brand to the ultimate degree as obviously the actual driving won’t change at all and it relies on the connotations that come with a Mercedes.

Saatchi & Saatchi for Olay Foaming Face Wash.

A brilliant campaign by Scholz & Friends in Germany for Jobsintown.de demonstrating the monotony of various jobs and encouraging change. Really nicely executed and expanded across loads of different situations. One of the best examples of guerilla ads around.

Leo Burnett for The Yoga Centre. The straws were placed at various juice bars to try and focus the target audience – simple but effective.

Saatchi & Saatchi for frontline. A great use of perspective to make people appear as fleas.

Ambience Publicis for Vijay Sales. One of the best uses of environment I’ve seen.


Apparently KitKats and benches go hand in hand! The first photo seems to have been done before the second but I can’t seem to find any credit so I included the second by JWT London.

Jung Von Matt, Hamburg for Dental implant insurance.

Leo Burnett for the Army Special Forces. This one was borderline as to whether it was under the cost threshold but I love it too much. In fact it was one of the adverts that really inspired me to look into graphic design as a serious career choice so I think it deserves a place.

Hopefully you’ll agree with my choices and I hope you like this small collection. There are hundreds more that I like so there will probably be a part 2 at some point but tracking down credit for these is a lot harder than I anticipated. (I’ve been relying on various blogs as I stupidly asked my parents to take most of my advertising books home when they came to visit in an attempt to be able to fit in the car when it comes to summer.) So if you’ve liked this let me know and I’ll do a follow up sometime soon!

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3 thoughts on “The best of Guerrilla and Ambient Advertising

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