RAD-Vertising: Crazy Clever Ad Placements for Creative Copywriters

It's easy to tune out the deluge of ads around you. But creativity can make an ad stand out and grab hold of your imagination—before you even realize it's an ad.

A cleverly placed ad by McDonalds, with french fries in place of a crosswalk.
Photo source: Adsarchive.com. Advertising Agency: TBWA

Bombarded with ads in a growing number of media, we consumers have gotten very good at filtering the copywriting messages we want to see—and disregarding the ones we don’t.

So advertisers are one-upping their game. Look around, and you’ll see interactive placements combining form with function, even creating dialogue between dueling brands.

Let’s take a lighthearted look back at a few of our favorites.


Two billboards for car companies with a competitive rivalry.
Photo source: Kevin Harrington. Advertising Agency: Juggernaut, USA


“Direct Response” Advertising

Say you’re cruising down Wilshire with your convertible top down. It’d be hard not to do a double take for this pair of ads. BMW’s cunning—and extra-large—billboard placement beside rival Audi’s creates a playful competition with cutting dialogue. As copywriters, we take our hats off: it was done in just one word.


A gory interactive billboard advertising the movie Kill Bill: Volume 2.
Photo source: StopPress NZ. Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi


Bloody ‘Bill’board

This interactive billboard for the movie Kill Bill: Volume 2 dramatically encapsulates the energy of Tarantino’s uber-violent films. Ick. We didn’t see it in person, but we imagine that it might have caused some rubbernecking when it first went up.


A magazine advertisement for tempting cookies.
Photo source: Vantage Point.


Crave-worthy Cookies

Thoughtful placement turns this print ad from Otis Spunkmeyer into a delightful reader journey. The full page spread captures eyeballs, while the right-hand column gives a handy recipe—and a glimpse at how the consumer could use the product. We’re not sure what Digital Darwinism has to do with it, but man those cookies are giving us mean chocolate cravings!


A cleverly placed ad by McDonalds, with french fries in place of a crosswalk.
Photo source: Adsarchive.com. Advertising Agency: TBWA


Supersized Safety

Here, McDonalds strengthens its position as a brand that cares…about getting people safely to lunch. Creating a box of fries out of a crosswalk, the clever ad placement bolsters the brand’s campaign for safe roads.


A clever ad for energy drink Vitaminwater at a bus shelter, allowing a man to charge his phone.
Photo source: Huffington Post. Advertising Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky


Powerful Ad Placement

Vitaminwater takes creativity one step further with a smart ad strategy. Not only does the ad put the product in front of potential buyers, it draws them in by offering a functional piece of hardware—a way to charge their phone mid-street. Finally, they nicely tie in the whole concept with the ad’s clever copy.


As these ads show, thoughtful positioning can add value and consumer awareness to a brand. Whether it’s a subtle placement or outrageously creative ad, a little inventiveness results in some truly memorable copy campaigns.


Need a team of creative copywriters to help you turn heads with your marketing messages? Contact us today.

Charlie Claxton

Charlie Claxton

A native Brit, Charlie comes to MarketSmiths by way of Paris, Montreal, and Sydney.

She’s written for both B2B and B2C clients while on the content teams for global brands, digital agencies, and as a freelancer. She loves nothing better than crafting captivating copy for clients. Her experience ranges from blog posts to news articles to landing pages, with a focus on nonprofits, travel, and tech.

When not writing, she’s usually following her own foodie tour round NYC, kickboxing, or planning her next weekend trip out the city.

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