"Advertising, as you know it, is dead," wrote Sergio Zyman, a former Coca-Cola executive in his book The End of Advertising As We Know It. ((page 1, published in 2002))
Most people switch their brains off when bombarded with useless ads that do not give anything valuable to them. Well, at least I do, especially when I receive endless direct mailing letters and leaflets that clog up my mailbox every day (See my post Winnie the Pooh and Responsible Marketing).
But sometimes, advertising can be innovative, not only in terms of content, but also where it appears. Here's a list of innovative advertising spaces and mediums that I have put together for you:
Eco-friendly paper hangers
The Smart Hanger, an eco-friendly startup from Canada that I featured in a Funky Brand Interview back in August, provides an innovative space for advertisers who display their messages on hangers made from recycled paper. Those who view the ads, actually perceive them in a positive way, since the Hanger helps solve a problem of landfill waste.
This is a photo of a Villo city rental bike in Brussels, featuring an ad by a hosiery manufacturer, DIM. I think DIM did a pretty good job here selecting the bike as an advertising medium to promote their stockings. I can imagine many female bikers would hesitate to rent a bike in the fear of ruining their stockings, and DIM proposes to solve that issue. (The fact that scarce biking paths in Brussels make this city ill-adapted for this activity is more important than stockings, but this is a whole different issue).
404 error pages on web sites
Murphy's beer (a brand that belongs to the Heineken group) ran a Murphy's Law (( Murphy's law is, "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.")) ad campain by placing ads on 404 error pages of the Dutch portal Planet Internet back in 2000. I think that the ad space itself is rather innovative, though I doubt this kind of a campaign would trigger a lot of associations between the beer and Murphy's law, even when somebody lands on a "wrong" page.
I am listing this "medium" here as it's quite unusual, but it's also pretty controversial. In fact, several companies have made attempts to link advertisers with those people who're willing to tattoo ads on their body. However, it seems that these companies didn't live too long. For instance, Body Billboardz, a social network of people willing to tattoo ads, doesn't seem to exist any more. Something called Handvertising USA probably went bust as well.
I can imagine that there would be many volunteers willing to provide "ad space" on their bodies, but the other side of the market -- advertisers -- probably wouldn't want to risk their reputation by "placing" tattoo ads on people.
Body art is a whole different matter, and body painting has been used by advertisers to create artistic effects as the one on the left. Remember that Paris Hilton wore nothing but a thick layer of golden paint to launch Prosecco Rich?
If you have more examples of innovative ad spaces, please comment! :)
See another example in this post.