Subversive OOH: Cheetos, Adidas and McDonald’s are leading the way

Subversive OOH: Cheetos, Adidas and McDonald’s are leading the way


OOH took a decidedly experiential bent this month with brands including Cheetos, Adidas and McDonald’s using surreal humour, water-filled billboards and even scented fabric to coax the attention of passers by.

Creatives have been putting the ‘creative’ in ‘creative budget’ this month, with a series of outlandish OOH projects proving that out of the box thinking is not immune from director sign off.

Cheat shot

Cheesy snack brand Cheetos Frito-Lay first piqued our interest with this campaign, designed to highlight the brand’s distracting allure.

Titled “Other Hand,” the campaign comes off the back of a televisual spot featuring Denver Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray, who previewed the effort by using his non-dominant hand for high-fives — and failing to land them — during games, among other instances on- and off-court.

A white van on a poleDescription automatically generated

The OOH is reminiscent of Specsavers’ work with Grand Visual last month.


Next up is a the latest in a line of unorthodox collaborations by megabrand McDonald’s. 

McDonald’s introduced mini mobile billboards in the Dutch cities of Utrecht and Leiden, positioned approximately 650 feet from each restaurant. These billboards, adorned in red and yellow, forego traditional advertising tactics by abstaining from any textual or visual promotion of McDonald’s products.

The billboards emit the familiar aroma of freshly cooked french fries. Pedestrians passing by are immediately drawn to the familiar scent, highlighting the profound effect of scent on memory: a scent as familiar as their iconic arches logo.

Adidas’s OOH is going swimmingly

Lastly, Adidas made a splash in Dubai recently with the "first-ever liquid billboard". Women were invited to swim in a five-meter-high, three-meter-deep pool made of transparent acrylic, holding 11,500 gallons of water, promoting the brand’s inclusive swimwear collection.

The activation was supported by a PR effort, sending conservative swimwear kits as invitations. Participants received personalised posters and digital assets for their social channels. The campaign aligns with Adidas’s commitment to inclusivity, featuring an ad with activist Asma Elbadawi.

Our take

This curious genre of OOH, mixing sculpture, experiential, scents and amusingly juxtaposed installations hasn’t, as far as we know, got an official namesake yet. However ‘subversive OOH experiential’ (as we might have just Christened it) has been particularly active this year.

Of course, it plays nicely into brand’s need to stand out, and provide novel, social media-friendly creative, but it also seems to represent a newfound creative freedom in our industry.

Adidas has been particularly active this year, we note, diving (literally this time) into a wide palette of engaging marketing, spanning retail, installations and anime. A sign (geddit?) of the times, we think.

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