The 40 worst failures in advertising billboards of all time all began with the need to put out a message. The problem was in the delivery of the message. This could be in the words and or pictures to get the attention of those passing by. If the right message is not received by the viewers then the advertising campaign is a failure.
One great example of this is an advertisement in a car on the tube in London. At first glance this ad seems to glorify the selling of arms and munitions to Arab nations. For many the small print will not be read because they are so turned off by the large print. This is an example of how a very poor choice of words can cause the real message to never be received by those that view the billboard.
This advertisement from an insurance company does not even make sense. At a glance it is almost impossible to know what they represent or attempting to sell. This ad forgets to make the message short and simple. While it is short, it is not simple or clear and fails.
This is another example of very poor choice in words by the person who not only came up with the advertising idea, but those that approved it. The flames are a nice touch, but the insinuation your mouth has its own face is a stretch too far.
One group that nearly always goes too far in their advertising campaigns is PETA. Save the Whales is a good idea, but I am talking about the marine animals. With the depiction of a fat women and telling them to lose the blubber and only eat vegetables is just an insult and in poor taste.
This one is difficult to get a message from. With the image of two women about to kiss, the words are not even seen by the viewers. For a company that is in the business of teaching the English language, they sure do not know how to use it properly.
What in the world is this outdoor billboard trying to say? Yes the image of the boy in a mask is cute, but the imitation of the Force from Star Wars has nothing to do with banking and investing. This is another message lost to the world.
This is a great example of how public service messages in third world nations have a very small budget. The ad does not grab your attention and for most will not be remembered.
This depiction is how the placing of two unrelated advertisements next to each other can just be a very poor choice. The example is from the UK where the advertisers did not look where the billboard was to be placed before they were posted.
Wow what a mess of an advertisement. This is a great example of what not to do when attempting to compose an advertising campaign. This image is so jumbled it is just ignored and a total waste of advertising money.
This is a confusing advertisement that only sends the message WHAT??? Seeing cute baby animals has nothing to do with being a vegetarian. What this campaigns has forgotten, in some parts of Asia, both of these are eaten. This is a very bad choice of words and characters. Most of all the baby animals are not eaten, it is the adults.
This ad uses the wrong type of font and the message is too hard to read and way too long. When the basics of 6 words or less and to the point easy to read are forgotten so is the message.
This tobacco advertisement forgot not everyone knows English. This is an example of not knowing the target audience or maybe it is simply not caring. Just so everyone knows this outdoor billboard is in Romania. In most parts of the world tobacco is not permitted to be advertised.
This is a perfect example of how not to mix colors to get a message across. This message is just on a small sign, but is confusing for those passing by it. For many it also hurts their eyes because they have to focus so intensely to read it and another failure from the advertising world.
Ok, nice clear message, but for what purpose? Is this an advertisement for the green frogs of the area and its safe for them to hoop around? Way too many questions involved with this advertisement. Whoever put this up should have thought about it for a longer time.
This outdoor billboard is an example of an attempt to use patriotism as a force to make people switch the beer they drink. This was a nice attempt, but the country of Texas has not been around for more than 180 years. This is one that just gets ignored by a majority of those who see it.
Conflict and religion sometimes goes hand in hand. With this advertising campaign, the message does not make sense for anyone of the Christian faith. Jesus has his own literature it is called the Holy Bible. This is a bad choice of words that has led to a failure of the message getting across to the target audience.
Forgetting the principals in proper outdoor advertisement is very common with public messages. This one from the county San Diego is well meaning, but the print is too small and way too long for anyone in a car to read it. All it does with the image is to say look swimming is fun.
This is an attempt of being cute gone wrong. Yes the images are nice, but with just a glance the message does not go through. With the two cars and what appears to be a sun between them forces a person to think about what are they saying? By then the name of the legal firm is out of sight because the cars are just traveling to fast for this message to be received.
This outdoor billboard is kind of twisted. If you look closely at it you can see the real message, watch out for cyclists. What most people take from this as they pass by is the thought ‘yup advertising sucks’. It gets a message across, but the wrong one.
The aim of this advertising campaign was to be big, offensive and impossible to be ignored by those passing the billboard. The problem is that is so offensive to so many the advertisement of the graphics company is missed.
Here is another public message that forgot about the flow of traffic. This outdoor billboard in Monrovia is angled away from the street and it can only be seen by vehicles on the other side of the road. The images are also very small and will not be taken in by those passing by it unless they are slowing walking by.
This attempt to influence children on an outdoor billboard in a bad way is beyond sad, it is truly pathetic. Shocking adults is one thing, but attempting to influence small children and interfere with how a parent raises their children is going way too far PETA.
Ok clear image but the message is like many of the household cleaners that are for sale. When you can read the fine prints you discover it is about reducing waste in Ireland, but at highway speed, that will be missed. They should have included the word Recycle or reduce waste in the bold type to get the real message across instead they failed.
This is a total lack of attention to detail. Sex does sell and this young lady is beautiful. The problem is that by not mounting the sheets correctly, those passing by only see how bad this ad is presented and not what is being advertising which makes this another failure in the advertising world.
It is not that these outdoor billboards are bad or send the wrong signal. The problem here is there are way too many billboards present and to close together that no one will even attempt to read any of them. This is mass marketing with total failure. While the advertising company and owners of the outdoor billboards will make a hefty profit, those advertising on these signs will see little benefit from their investment.
This is one of the best examples of total clutter to stop from getting the message out to the public. If this was a highway identification sign posted with public tax dollars, the tax payers should demand a refund.
While it seems to endure the test of time, racism has no place in our civilized society. No matter and from what angle or perspective you view this advertisement by PlayStation it is just plain wrong. The image is so strong I had to take my time and look for the advertiser. If I was just driving by I would not have tried to look who posted it. I would have just turned my head away in disgust.
What were they thinking when they came up with this advertising campaign. Not only does the slogan make no sense, but with the tree as an obstruction in front, no one will take the time to read it. This is another great example showing a lack of detail in this advertising campaign.
While this outdoor billboard looks nice, just what are they advertising? By saying ‘Pedro no shoot ze bool’ are they advertising a vegan Mexican restaurant? While the locals might recognize the figure most people who do not live in the area that are passing by won’t, making this to be another failure in advertising.
Ok this is another public service message. This one was created for the government of South Australia and by the lacking of lighting on this mobile billboard; it is only out on public roads during the day. The message has to be interpreted to look out for drunks walking at night. How effective this type of message is not known, but there is a need. Statistics show a large increase of pedestrian deaths between 3 pm and midnight over the rest of the day.
Once again what were they thinking when they decided to show a man who was attacked by another with a tomato and using vulgarity. None of that has anything to do with the soft drink Sprite that is even spelled wrong. Yes the image and words grab the attention of the viewer but the advertisers went overboard. Most viewers just look away in disgust which causes this ad to fail in its purpose.
This outdoor billboard attempts to use color and fading to make their statement. Most will understand the message as they pass by, but that is all. After it has been interpreted, the vehicles have passed it by and the location of the relief will not be read or absorbed.
What does the scratching of a cat on a wall have to do with a cell phone company? After taking the time to read the fine print it is understood, but no one in a vehicle passing by will have that time. Yup this is another example of forgetting the basics of advertising.
This one with a made up word just has people thinking huh and by then they have passed it by. At times like this one getting to cute and original, the ad will backfire and fail.
Nice use of color but total failure of the advertiser. No one even just walking by will read this entire billboard. Maybe the advertiser that wanted this posted and did it anonymously since they did not place a logo or name on it. Just so everyone can know, this is an ad from CBS in the Tube in London.
This is an example of Prismavision being used on an outdoor billboard. This is a three sided moving billboard face that can be ok if assembled properly. It also has high maintenance on the pivoting triangles. When there is a mechanical problem all three advertisements are unavailable.
This one speaks for itself as just an awful idea. What is obvious is he has way too much money and does not know how to spend it. To make matters worse this outdoor billboard was posted in West Hollywood which is known to be predominantly gay. That is not the best place to find a single young lady.
Nice old car but way to much writing for anyone to absorb it all especially since most of the time when the ad is in view the travelers will be looking at the car. Remember 6 words or less.
This is another billboard with a nice message that never gets read by those passing by. Way too many words and the font are too small.
When an advertisement requires a person to think too much, the message can get lost like this anti corruption billboard in Rwanda.
Ok this is a skyline from some unknown city for some unknown reason. Upon looking into its history it was to be a political ad, but those passing by will never know this or care.
This one takes the cake. Most of the people that saw this billboard had no idea why it was there. It is not associated with any of the advertisements around it. Upon looking into it since I have the time, unlike those just passing by, this is a Japanese QR code. To get the message you have to scan the code with your cell phone which will take you to their website. Way too much work for anyone just passing by and why this is a total failure as an advertisement.
These 40 worst failures in Advertising Billboards of all time should be noted by anyone in the advertising business. Forget the basics and you will fail in your objective.