17+ Times Businesses Took Advertising Into Their Own Hands

Dan 5 Dec 2019

If there's anything I've learned from Mad Men, it's that effective advertising can be difficult. Well, that and the fact that being a drunken mess with a dark secret can apparently help you be a better ad man. Let's peruse some out-of-the-box advertising that would make Don Draper proud.

1. Hey, just wait a minute.

Reddit | mdsign

These ads were put up along a cycling trail in the Netherlands. The advertiser is clearly self-aware about the likelihood of any cyclist actually processing the ad as they whiz past.

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2. At least they're honest.

Reddit | Zizzily

Lots of companies offer to buy houses with these little signs, but not many are this up-front about just what kinds of houses they're willing to buy. So hey, if you've got a meth house in the 602 area code, this might be for you.

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3. You wouldn't download a car, would you?

Reddit | mosquitoiv

This anti-piracy ad brings us back to the golden age of anti-piracy messaging. I like how they frame this as a horror story. Like, the guy just got the wrong movie. It's hardly the end of the world.

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4. I get it, I think.

Reddit | dustin1776

This is some clever advertising. But honestly, if a gigantic man ever comes along who's able to actually reach that box, only to find out there are no catalogs...well, Dan's Big & Tall will have a big problem on their hands.

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5. You can't be all things.

Reddit | PuppieWayne

It's good to get fit, but let's be real here: if you're ugly, no amount of working out is going to help you. This gym is honest, and really leans into the whole idea.

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6. Okay then.

Reddit | greglasher

I'm having a hard time getting my head around this one. That said, it's good to support small businesses, so I'm willing to give this...professional...spider...eater the benefit of the doubt.

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7. They're not wrong.

Reddit | pogue23

If you want to top up your tank on your way to your favorite fishing hole, you definitely want to get gas and worms. For everyone else, this sign's a little off-putting.

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8. Brilliant.

Reddit | Fade1709

Y'know, full-color, double-sided, custom-cut flyers aren't exactly cheap. It's kind of a shame that such a creative, costly advertising idea is destined to be angrily crumpled up by everyone who finds it.

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9. They're not afraid to get their hands dirty.

Reddit | xotic_illusions

This plumber put a reassuring message on the side of their truck. More importantly, they realize that the poop emoji draws eyeballs, and leveraging this fact is a great idea for any plumber.

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10. I'm intimidated.

Reddit | rSpyderByte

This place offers pies by the slice. It also has gluten-free and whole wheat options. This is all great, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable if their whole staff wasn't glaring at me.

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11. That didn't age well.

Reddit | Axxalon

A few years back, McDonald's sought to compete with Starbucks by offering lower-cost espresso and latte options. But in the years since, they've become everything that they once fought against.

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12. Can't argue with that.

Reddit | usrcncld

I think the big problem facing dinosaurs was an apocalyptic comet event, not a lack of vaccinations. That said, I don't want to argue too much because, hey, everyone should get vaccinated.

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13. They've got memes.

Reddit | YeetedHypermeme

Maybe the distracted boyfriend meme has run its course in some circles, but I don't know if it'll ever get old for me. I mean, it's appropriate in so many contexts, even in bank advertising.

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14. How convenient.

Reddit | mdavis360

We don't live in a haggle-based economy, but that goes out the window when it comes to antique shops. This purveyor of fine antiques has clearly had enough of customers trying to negotiate.

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15. Naruto runners, take note.

Reddit | Patrick324

This billboard is in Mobile, Alabama, which is a long way from Area 51. But the raid of Area 51 was a global event, so maybe it's not a bad idea to cast a big net.

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16. Sale!

Reddit | Jensgt

I need to know the story here. Was it a disgruntled employee on their last day, or does the new manager just not believe in sales? Either way, at least they're up front about it.

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17. Yeehaw.

Reddit | frostedferret

I kind of doubt this claim, because "y'all" is its own word, not something to be grafted onto other words. Still, this Georgia insurance broker understands his target audience.

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18. They must do a great job.

Reddit | YouRebelScumGuy

Honestly, considering how hard it is to draw a bike, I think the artist here did a pretty good job. And if their repairs are better than 'pretty good', I'm already sold.

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19. Hufflepuff?

Reddit | Msmadduh

There are a ton of billboards throughout the Detroit area for personal injury lawyers. I don't know who put this nonsensical billboard up, but as soon as I figure it out, they've got my business.

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20. The proof's in the parking lot.

Reddit | evidica

If you've ever doubted that Dairy Queen uses real flamethrowers to grill their "flamethrower grillburger", just look at this pic. Not only is it freshly flamethrown, it's served in the parking lot for your convenience.

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21. Let your vehicle be the billboard.

Reddit | mortredclay

This truck has a rather humble stick-on ad for an auto repair service. It also has all kinds of dents and dings throughout its body. I'm not sure if that makes me more or less likely to want to use this service.

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22. Mmm.

Reddit | sbstnh

When light-up signs have a few letters burn out, the results range from nonsense to funny to accurate. Depending how you feel about Panda Express, this sign may speak to you.

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23. Shouldn't it be spelled 'thomething'?

Reddit | yaboiRich

I like this ad for its subtle humor. If there was some way to convey involuntary whistling through text, you know they'd include that as well.

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24. Speaking of missing teeth...

Reddit | [deleted]

This ad is totally right. It also gives no backstory on why this guy's missing one eyebrow, but I suppose that was never the point to begin with.

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25. Pobody's nerfect.

Reddit | rebelshirts

Universities are institutes of higher learning, full of super smart people. I've never heard of the University of Pikesville, but judging by their spelling, I wouldn't want to go there for anything English-related.

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26. 'Tis the season.

Reddit | CoastieMark

This garage is sick and tired of pumpkin spice everything, and they're lashing out with this sign. Do they have pumpkin spice brake pads? I doubt it. Will it draw in customers? Maybe.

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27. When billboards answer questions.

Reddit | 5_Frog_Margin

Not sure if Spearmint Rhino decided to put their billboard up to serve as a punchline to the preceding billboard, but it's definitely possible. The placement is just too perfect.

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28. Shots fired.

Reddit | critsonyou

Sonic might want to lawyer up, because anytime you take aim at Ronald McDonald, you'd best not miss, because that clown has deep pockets and a whole army of lawyers.

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29. Truth in advertising.

Reddit | beanstalkim

If you're buying ramen noodles, you already know perfectly well how your life looks. When the package throws this at you, it's hard not to feel a little bit attacked.

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30. Catch what all?

Reddit | southwoodhunter

I want to know if this gentlemen's club put this sign up in the midst of the Pokémon Go craze and, if so, if they were overrun by a bunch of wannabe Ash Ketchums.

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