For most people, buses are a means of transportation to get around in your daily life, but the masterminds of the advertising world see a bus as a perfect moving canvas for the most creative and effective ambient ads. In a competition-fueled digital world, clever agencies still turn to traditional outdoor advertising with an original twist that catches people‘s eye and is thought-provoking. And they are definitely doing it right!

I collected a list of the most ingenious bus wraps spotted around the world. And some of them are so engaging, you might actually miss your bus. 

Be sure to read on for Bored Panda's in-depth interview about the benefits of going for out-of-home, transit, and bus advertisements with the Senior Director of Marketing of Vector Media, Luke Leonard.

#1

Copenhagen Zoo: Snake Bus

Copenhagen Zoo: Snake Bus

Bates Y&R Report

MsM
Community Member
1 month ago

I've heard of snakes on a plane, but this is a whole other level! 😂

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Bus adverts are just one form of out-of-home (aka OOH) advertising which does pretty much what it says on the tin: it's advertising that reaches people while they're out and about outside of their homes. Bus adverts fall under the 'transit' category of OOH but there are others, including traditional billboards and so-called street furniture that includes ads on bus stops and news racks.

Vector Media's Senior Director of Marketing, Leonard, told Bored Panda that their company specializes in bus and train transit advertising. "It's proven to give advertisers the largest possible audience with efficiency."

#2

National Geographic

National Geographic

unknown Report

Why?
Community Member
1 month ago

That's one small step for grandma, one giant bite for the shark.

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#3

Netflix: Stranger Things

Netflix: Stranger Things

Cantioy87 Report

glowworm2
Community Member
1 month ago

Genius!

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Leonard gave us a few key reasons why advertisers should choose bus advertising over other options.

  • "There are limited outdoor advertising options for billboards and signage particularly in major cities and their hot spots but bus advertising allows you to get into those hard-to-reach areas by way of driving through these districts via major thoroughfares in cities. 
  • Bus advertising comes in many shapes and sizes making it accessible to all kinds of advertisers and their budgets. Advertisers can go big and bold with what the industry calls 'Ultra Super Kings' (where the advertising covers the entire side of a bus between the wheel wells, or even bigger with fully branded Double Deckers. Alternatively smaller advertising options like King or Queen-size posters or tails (on the back). 
  • Bus advertising is scalable with vendors like Vector—we have advertising partnerships with dozens of transit authorities and bus companies in over 50 cities, so we can provide advertisers with placement in several major markets around the country all via our one-stop shop. 
  • Bus advertising is integrated with the environment around you meaning it is an efficient, economical use of existing infrastructure. Billboards are expensive because the property owners have to build massive structures that are sometimes in unfavorable locations that don't appeal to the local community, but buses are providing essential services to many communities.
  • When partnering with vendors like us, we can amplify advertising by creating experiences for consumers beyond just seeing an ad on the outside of the bus. We can do interior transformations and build custom interior environments to provide consumers a truly memorable moment."
#4

King Kong Movie

King Kong Movie

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Jo Choto
Community Member
1 month ago

That's such a skill to make a 2D image look completely 3D.

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#5

Ready To Quit?

Ready To Quit?

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Billy The Kid
Community Member
1 month ago

Brilliant idea

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Leonard also shared some great tips and tricks for how to turn heads with bus ads. They're bound to get lots of attention either way but creativity does wonders.

  • "Play off of the fact that it's a bus—warp peoples' perspective of what they think they know they're looking at. Use the doors, wheels, lights, even the passengers inside the windows or on top of the Double Decker to be playful with the creative. Make the bus look like something it's not! For example, Vector Media won a 2020 OBIE Award for Paramount Pictures' 'Playing with Fire' Double Decker advertisement that turned the vehicle into a fire truck with the characters on board.
  • Be contextually relevant—consider where this bus is and who will see it. How can you leverage the context of the environment to get attention? Consumers love being seen, represented or feeling like they're in on the joke. Make location-specific references to make connections with the people that see it."
#6

SF: Americans Abroad, Vote!

SF: Americans Abroad, Vote!

Uncle Grey Report

MsM
Community Member
1 month ago

TREMENDOUS!!! 😂😂😂

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#7

The Accordeon World Championship

The Accordeon World Championship

franknystuen Report

Catlady6000
Community Member
1 month ago

I would go just for the ad. But the musicians are actually pretty awesome!

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He added that Vector media has a lot of in-house creative production capabilities, including 3D printing and LED illumination on bus advertising. "Or even special effects like the genie smoke coming out of our Aladdin genie lamp." The cost might be higher but there's a lot of potential here to make advertising history, don't you think?

"If you follow these tips, not only will your bus advertising be effective in catching the attention of consumers but it will drive them to take pictures and share what they see on social media—meaning advertisers will gain even more media value through organic engagement online."

#8

Aladdin

Aladdin

vectormedia Report

Little Dino
Community Member
1 month ago

super cool ad, plus i loved the movie!

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#9

Colorectal Cancer Association Of Canada

Colorectal Cancer Association Of Canada

Ogilvy Report

Billy The Kid
Community Member
1 month ago

Love this. Something to start your day if you have to catch this bus to work.

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Buses are far from the only means of transportation that have had adverts plastered all over (and even inside of) them. Other OOH transit category vehicles include trucks, subway trains, taxis, and even airplanes. They’re effective because you can’t skip them and it’s hard to ignore them when they’re in your face. However, this doesn't mean that all transit ads are as creative, ingenious, or effective as the ones you can see in this post.

Partially transparent window coverage techniques and see-through graphics have made it easier than ever for advertisers to 'wrap up' the entire bus, including the windows (except for the front ones, for obvious reasons). This means that advertisers and artists have a lot more flexibility when it comes to showing off their product or spreading their public service message. Two different types of vinyl can be used, one for the windows and one for the body of the bus.

#10

Arts University Bournemouth: Boombox Bus

Arts University Bournemouth: Boombox Bus

Creative Forager Report

Amber Sanders Amlie
Community Member
1 month ago

This beyond awesome.

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#11

Specsavers: Bus Crash

Specsavers: Bus Crash

Smart Report

glowworm2
Community Member
1 month ago

How many police officers have tried to pull this bus over?

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There are lots of pros to using OOH advertising. The Canadian Out of Home Marketing and Measurement Bureau claims that OOH quickly generates reach and a high return on investment. It also generates viewer interaction and emotional connections.

There are several reasons why OOH is so good at capturing people's attention. The first is obvious: it's all about the numbers. And with your ad being outside, there will be plenty of eyeballs ogling it. Even more, if your ad's on a bus that’s zooming around town. Secondly, the Canadian OOH Marketing and Measurement Bureau claims that consumers are 33 percent more alert when they're outside. In other words—ads and brands leave deeper, lasting impressions in the fresh air.

#12

International Organization For Migration

International Organization For Migration

McCann Report

Amber Sanders Amlie
Community Member
1 month ago

This is extremely disturbing.

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#13

Duracell

Duracell

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Coleen
Community Member
1 month ago

That's cute.

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Meanwhile, the University of Alberta and Mediacom studied over 300 out-of-home advert campaigns and found that the time of the year had no impact on their effectiveness which makes them a pretty stable investment. However, what did have a significant impact was the creative execution. That means that with OOH, transit, and bus ads, creativity really is the key to getting noticed! In other words, you can’t afford to get sloppy with lazy and overly simplistic ad design.

According to them, literal ads that state facts or obvious things had the least impact. Meanwhile, ads that were single-minded, had shorter text length and larger type size were found to be more impactful.

#14

Compassion In World Farming: Stop Live Exports

Compassion In World Farming: Stop Live Exports

Elvis Report

Ljdia
Community Member
1 month ago

Very important issue...

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#15

Perth Zoo: Come To The Zoo Before The Zoo Comes To You

Perth Zoo: Come To The Zoo Before The Zoo Comes To You

The Brand Agency Report

A.M. Pierre
Community Member
1 month ago

"So why did you decide to visit the zoo today?" "Well, a bus threatened me with a tiger mauling, so...."

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#16

Keep Holland Clean Foundation: Garbage Bus

Keep Holland Clean Foundation: Garbage Bus

GREY Amsterdam Report

Astrid Nineor
Community Member
1 month ago

It says something like 'Don't turn the bus into a garbage truck'

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#17

Nice Legs

Nice Legs

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Billy The Kid
Community Member
1 month ago

I would be to embarrassed to sit on this bus. doesn't look like the passenger knows what people are looking at.

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#18

Optical Illusion

Optical Illusion

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Mainecoonsandhuskies
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Oh man I thought it was real for a second

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#19

Careerbuilder: Don’t Jump

Careerbuilder: Don’t Jump

The Martin Agency Report

Mainecoonsandhuskies
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Good idea, great execution, they could've put the website on the side and make the message more genuine

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#20

Dallas Morning News: More Reporters. More Reporting

Dallas Morning News: More Reporters. More Reporting

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MsM
Community Member
1 month ago

So, we finally got the answer to "Who Let the Dogs Out?" It was the Dallas Morning News.

Faramir10
Community Member
1 month ago

Cute.

Kim Bush
Community Member
1 month ago

They'll sniff out the story

Monty Is Fiennes
Community Member
1 month ago

4th window

Amber Sanders Amlie
Community Member
1 month ago

I don’t get it.

Pretty Pangolin
Community Member
4 weeks ago

I think they are bloodhounds 'sniffing out' the story.

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Randy Klefbeck
Community Member
3 weeks ago

news hounds.

katboxjanitor
Community Member
3 weeks ago

It should alternate dog butt \ dog nose - all the news that's fit to sniff!

Mishte Tine
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Best. If dogs are involved, best.

Lynn Elliott
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Somebody please return the dogs to the Cleveland Browns Dawg Pound.

Joanne Dufilho
Community Member
3 weeks ago

They're the News Hounds!

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#21

Dr. Best Flexible Toothbrush

Dr. Best Flexible Toothbrush

Kim Sokola&Julia Neumann Report

Eva the Ravenclaw Bookworm📚💖
Community Member
1 month ago

You sure it's also stable?

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#22

Bad Weather, Perfect Timing

Bad Weather, Perfect Timing

Mocomedia Report

ElusiveIntrovert
Community Member
1 month ago

They flooded the streets too?? :O Extreme Advertising!!

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#23

Copenhagen Zoo: The Giant Pandas Have Landed

Copenhagen Zoo: The Giant Pandas Have Landed

Advice A/S Report

MsM
Community Member
1 month ago

YAYYYY we have our own bus now, BP's!

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#24

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand

mikebarti Report

Eva the Ravenclaw Bookworm📚💖
Community Member
1 month ago

Took me a minute to figure this one out... perfect.

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#25

Visa, Wellington On A Plate Culinary Festival

Visa, Wellington On A Plate Culinary Festival

TBWA Report

MsM
Community Member
1 month ago

That lobster wants the bus all to himself. How shellfish...

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#26

Tiernitos Dog Food

Tiernitos Dog Food

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Bacony
Community Member
1 month ago

Probably the first death by Dog Food in human history.

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#27

Toydirect.com: Batteries

Toydirect.com: Batteries

Robson Brown Ltd. Report

Dorothy Cloud
Community Member
1 month ago

That's good.

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#28

Bernmobil: Airport Bus

Bernmobil: Airport Bus

Neue Lgk Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
1 month ago

And here we see the rare mating of the buses.

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#29

X-Games: Real Street Skate Festival

X-Games: Real Street Skate Festival

Kit Walker Associates Report

Zoe's Mom
Community Member
1 month ago

clever

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#30

Smint: "Bus Opened-Doors"

Smint: "Bus Opened-Doors"

DDB Barcelona Report

Animebooklover
Community Member
1 month ago

I’d hate to be the person in the middle!

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#31

All Laundry Detergent Bus

All Laundry Detergent Bus

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Jo Choto
Community Member
1 month ago

How does anyone see out of that?

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#32

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

/hireimagination Report

Bacony
Community Member
1 month ago

*Image of entire zoo slowly crawling down a road*

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#33

Nzdating.com

Nzdating.com

Draft, New Zealand Report

PyroarRanger
Community Member
1 month ago

My brain read this as "Find perfect your match"

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#34

Mercedes: Glow In The Dark Bus

Mercedes: Glow In The Dark Bus

FHV BBDO Report

Mainecoonsandhuskies
Community Member
1 month ago

I love this

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#35

Potawatomi Zoo

Potawatomi Zoo

extracreditprojects Report

Dorothy Cloud
Community Member
1 month ago

Yea, love these Zoo ads

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#36

Toy Bus: Children’s Charity

Toy Bus: Children’s Charity

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Animebooklover
Community Member
1 month ago

I honestly thought that hand was going to take that man. :O

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#37

Eyes

Eyes

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Anton Kider
Community Member
1 month ago

The lady's dizzy...

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#38

Seriously Transparent Capital Metro Buses

Seriously Transparent Capital Metro Buses

bigpicture Report

Francis
Community Member
1 month ago

We had a similar ad for a hospital in Switzerland (Bern) some years back. You could find a lot of eastereggs in the xray pics :D

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#39

Compassion In World Farming: Stop Live Exports

Compassion In World Farming: Stop Live Exports

Elvis Report

Bacony
Community Member
1 month ago

Then... What did Shaun the Sheep do?

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#40

Canon's Bus Ad

Canon's Bus Ad

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Kaori
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Oh,Yodobashi.They are doing better job than Amazon these days.Check their website if you are living in Japan.(possibly not so English friendly though.)--I think I did ad for them..?

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#41

Burger King

Burger King

BurgerKingUK Report

Phunny Philosopher
Community Member
4 weeks ago

This is pretty snarky. I approve.

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#42

Tabasco Bus

Tabasco Bus

duvalguillaume Report

Tobias the Tiger
Community Member
4 weeks ago

The wheels on Tabasco round and round.

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#43

Kontanten: Wallet

Kontanten: Wallet

"ATMs close by"

Faltman & Malmen Report

Billy The Kid
Community Member
1 month ago

To how empty that bus looks is like my wallet!

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#44

Just One Bite

Just One Bite

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Bacony
Community Member
1 month ago

christ is he an ostrich

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#45

Seattle Mariners Bus Back Scoreboard

Seattle Mariners Bus Back Scoreboard

mister_pjm Report

Sawdust
Community Member
1 month ago

Clever incorporating the bus ID number.

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#46

Community First Credit Union: Flexible Bus

Community First Credit Union: Flexible Bus

I.D.E.A.S. Report

Bob Belcher
Community Member
4 weeks ago

But, its a fixed rate loan? How is that flexible?

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#47

National Council Against Smoking In The US

National Council Against Smoking In The US

Lowe Bull, Johannesburg, South Africa Report

Chris DiFonso
Community Member
1 month ago

It would be better if the lettering on the red background were bigger

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#48

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers

Lowe Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
1 month ago

That's just rude.

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#49

Outofhomedia: Ad Block This

Outofhomedia: Ad Block This

&Co Report

Colin Allcars
Community Member
1 month ago

Do the Ad Blocker companies stop to think about the fact that they are posting ads?

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#50

Topfit: Exceed. Be At The Top

Topfit: Exceed. Be At The Top

martpet Report

Woltax
Community Member
1 month ago

Russian bus?🙊

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Note: this post originally had 100 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.