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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

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."

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    #2

    National Geographic

    National Geographic

    unknown Report

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    klrenk avatar
    Why?
    Community Member
    3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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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."
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    #4

    King Kong Movie

    King Kong Movie

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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."
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    #7

    The Accordeon World Championship

    The Accordeon World Championship

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    florapolvado avatar
    Catlady6000
    Community Member
    3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    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."

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    #9

    Colorectal Cancer Association Of Canada

    Colorectal Cancer Association Of Canada

    Ogilvy Report

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    Billy The Kid
    Community Member
    3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    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.

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    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.

    #11

    Specsavers: Bus Crash

    Specsavers: Bus Crash

    Smart Report

    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.

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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

    #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

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    a_m_pierre avatar
    A.M. Pierre
    Community Member
    3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    "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

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    twilight_mist avatar
    Astrid Nineor
    Community Member
    3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    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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    robert-townsend avatar
    Billy The Kid
    Community Member
    3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    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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    #19

    Careerbuilder: Don’t Jump

    Careerbuilder: Don’t Jump

    The Martin Agency Report

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    Mainecoonsandhuskies
    Community Member
    3 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    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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    #22

    Bad Weather, Perfect Timing

    Bad Weather, Perfect Timing

    Mocomedia Report

    #23

    Copenhagen Zoo: The Giant Pandas Have Landed

    Copenhagen Zoo: The Giant Pandas Have Landed

    Advice A/S Report

    #25

    Visa, Wellington On A Plate Culinary Festival

    Visa, Wellington On A Plate Culinary Festival

    TBWA Report

    #26

    Tiernitos Dog Food

    Tiernitos Dog Food

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    #28

    Bernmobil: Airport Bus

    Bernmobil: Airport Bus

    Neue Lgk Report

    #31

    All Laundry Detergent Bus

    All Laundry Detergent Bus

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    #32

    Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

    Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

    /hireimagination Report

    #36

    Toy Bus: Children’s Charity

    Toy Bus: Children’s Charity

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    #38

    Seriously Transparent Capital Metro Buses

    Seriously Transparent Capital Metro Buses

    bigpicture Report

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    franziska-birk avatar
    Francis
    Community Member
    3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    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

    #40

    Canon's Bus Ad

    Canon's Bus Ad

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    kaorio avatar
    Kaori
    Community Member
    3 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    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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    #43

    Kontanten: Wallet

    Kontanten: Wallet

    "ATMs close by"

    Faltman & Malmen Report

    #45

    Seattle Mariners Bus Back Scoreboard

    Seattle Mariners Bus Back Scoreboard

    mister_pjm Report

    #46

    Community First Credit Union: Flexible Bus

    Community First Credit Union: Flexible Bus

    I.D.E.A.S. Report

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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

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    chrisdifonso avatar
    Chris DiFonso
    Community Member
    3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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    #49

    Outofhomedia: Ad Block This

    Outofhomedia: Ad Block This

    &Co Report

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    braunboys4 avatar
    Colin Allcars
    Community Member
    3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    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

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