Just in time for Spooky Season, the BooneOakley advertising agency created this viral anti-vaccine campaign…with a twist. Spotted last month parked in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, this creative advertisement displays a fake funeral home advising people to stay jab-free. Resting just outside the Carolina Panthers vs. the New Orleans Saints game, the truck turned heads and quickly made the national news. Showing the only industry that would truly benefit from low vaccine rates, the agency hoped to spur conversation and people to get jabbed. The website listed on the truck urges people to get vaxxed, “if not, see you soon.”
Agency director David Oakley told CNN, “We wanted to do something that saw it from a different perspective and kind of shocks people into thinking, ‘Holy moly, man.” The idea of using subversive or guerilla advertising to shock people out of their complacency or to change minds is not new. Part of what makes outdoor advertising so successful is that it seamlessly integrates the unexpected into the everyday. We think they hit the ball out of the park with this mobile truck ad. In honor of their contribution, we are showcasing some of the best mobile truck ads out there.
- German Coffin Wrap Truck Ad
In true Spooky Season style, this sepulchral semi-truck ad leaves us chilled to the bone. While this ghoulish design can be found uncredited on many sites, its origin is not that unearthly. Part of the 2005 RollAd truck art design competition near Heidelberg, Germany, this digital mock-up was never found out in the real world but some of its competition dug themselves out of the digital mausoleum to live again.
- Apocalypchips Truck Ad
Along with #3 on our list, this mobile wasteland was one of seven winners of the RollAd competition that brought us the coffin wrap above. Designed to show just how devastatingly spicy Pringles Hot & Spicy are, this mobile truck ad left its competition breathing fumes. The black and white scene of devastation emphasizes the brand’s colorful logo on the truck’s back and leaves the viewer amazed by the concept.
This eye-catching design wowed judges and it is easy to see why. The floating cola cases make it seem like gravity has been suspended. The grey negative space at the bottom of the truck wrap adds a convincing element to this optical illusion.
- Heine-Can Truck
This mobile truck ad’s origin is not known but we are glad it exists. Whoever designed this took truck advertising to the next level. The details of this beer-can-as-truck leave us thirsty and you can easily imagine the impact it would have cruising down the highway passing by road-trippers and long-haulers. It also shows that trucks of all types can be wonderful mobile advertising mediums.
Cheers to you, Heineken!
- Braun Japan
This bristly truck ad swept Beacon Communications KK into the top place, taking the 2010 One Show Gold Pen award for advertising. A genuine ad campaign has been done for the client, Braun, this ad takes the ordinary street sweeper and reimagines it. While the brand advertisement takes up minimal space on the truck, its use of diagonal lines creates visual interest. The design immediately draws your eye to its toothy visual pun—the sweeper brush as an electric toothbrush head.
- A Whale of an Ad
One of the oldest truck ads on our list, this classic mobile billboard truck envisioned by Mobile Ad Marketing featured a nearly 20 ft cetacean swimming in a small space. Part of a touring exhibition called the “Tale of the Whale Tour” from 2006, it was billed as the “First 3 Dimensional Mobile Advertisement” to roam American highways. This mobile truck advertisement traveled to seven cities in seven days. A pdf of the tour can be found here.
- Siren of the Lambs
In 2013, prolific UK street artist Banksy came to New York and produced a month-long art show. One of the thirty-one installations all over the island, this mobile slaughterhouse truck ad showcased stuffed farm animals poking out the sides of the truck. “Siren of the Lambs” drove through New York’s meatpacking district and sounds of animals screaming and crying could be heard emanating from the truck. Meant to illustrate the brutal reality of slaughterhouses, this mobile truck ad art installation shows that modern art and mobile advertising still work well together to create conversation and challenge people.
- Ban Breitbart
The brainchild of the anonymous marketing collective Sleeping Giants, this mobile truck ad hit the streets of Seattle outside Amazon HQ. Part of a campaign to pressure Internet giants like Amazon to end advertising on far-right sites like Breitbart. Taking a digital fight to the streets may seem extreme but the collective stated that it was only done after Amazon refused to do what 2,250 companies had already done.
- Hitting the Bricks
Continuing the trend of optical illusion mobile truck ads, this clever design shows an angled view of a police car as it crashes into a brick wall. Ostensibly an advertisement for The Brick furniture stores, this truck wrap ad is one of the funniest on our list combining the unexpected with a dad-level visual pun sure to leave passersby groaning.
- We Fix Trucks
One of the most challenging things about advertising is how to let the ad speak for itself, without having to explain the context. We think this clever ad does that in spades. While a facedown semi standing rusting in a field may not be the right medium for every brand, for a truck part store this is *chef’s kiss* perfect. This truck ad may not be mobile anytime soon, but considering this picture has traveled around the interwebs, it has done its job.
- Samsung’s Safety Truck
While rear-viewer cameras are becoming commonplace, rear-facing video screens are not. This entry is not an ad but a prototype truck that may be hitting the road near you soon. Concerned about the number of people who die each day from accidents with semi-trucks, Samsung designed this prototype. The truck features a front-mounted camera that is connected to a rear-facing screen. This screen projects a live feed of what the road is like in front of the semi. Technology is truly revolutionizing how we live and the potential of projects like this is exciting!
- Twitter Truck Ad
Starting off as an Internet meme, this truck ad became the real deal courtesy of activist Antonio Arrelano in 2018. Showcasing a tweet from now-former-president Trump ragging on Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz and Trump’s history as political opponents was put on display to show Texans how little trust they should put in the words of the fairweather friends. Arrelano started a GoFundMe for the campaign that quickly reached its $9000 goal, especially with supporters like Sandy Hook Survivor David Hogg, who has become a voice for ending school shootings and tougher gun laws. The mobile billboard spent 22 days cruising the streets of Dallas and Houston—including in front of a Beyoncé concert.
- Bone to Pick
While some people might not find these puns humorous, entries like this bring them out. Advertising a natural history museum by displaying a fossilized dino bone definitely creates a memorable moment. This is another great mobile truck ad where no information can be dug up on where it comes from but the background imagery is similar to others on this list and may be a conceptual design from the RollAd competition. Its addition surely gives a leg up on this list.
- The Red Cross
From 2007, this Red Cross mobile truck ad reminded Bay-area residents of the dangers of earthquakes. Pairing with Pacific Gas and Electrical Company and Catholic Healthcare West, the Red Cross included this truck in their Prepare Bay Area campaign. What prompted this campaign was statistics showing that “there is a 62 percent chance that a catastrophic earthquake will hit the Bay Area in the next 30 years—leaving an estimated 3,400 dead, 63,000 seriously injured, and over 400,000 people homeless.” The campaign’s goal was to get one million residents to take the danger seriously and prepare. The visually stunning truck ad shows a section of a San Francisco street post-earthquake and included a website link where people could find information on how to prepare.
- Yes, T Can
It is hard to imagine that it was only in 2008 that Barack Obama used the power of social networks to get into political office but the impact that his powerful political imagery had on pop culture can’t be understated. This digital mobile truck ad takes one of his more iconic poster designs and slogans and turns it into a socially aware beverage ad. Sometimes advertising means creating something new, and sometimes it means taking what is already out there in our culture and putting our own spin on it.
- Fedex- Always First Truck Ad
This ingenious truck wrap advertisement uses the back half of a Fedex Delivery truck as a poignant reminder to passersby that Fedex leaves the competition lagging. This design is courtesy of Thomas Ilum, Zoe Vogelius, students at Miami Ad School for Fedex Germany. The added detail of the DHL driver that can be seen in its truck window shows the detail and thought that went into this ad campaign.
- Chicken Grocery Run
One of the fifty electric vans run by UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, this mobile truck advertising their eggs and free-run chickens delivers customer’s groceries at the same time. While we never recommend counting all your chickens before they have been dropped off, this image of 12-foot-tall chickens towering over the neighborhood is bound to make you smile.
- Wooden Truck Ad
The last conceptual mobile truck ad on our list, this jarring ad comes courtesy of the Rhino Ad Awards. The log shattering out the side of the truck with the back appearing to be open showing a towering stack of wood would cause a lot of rubbernecking on the highway.
- Ubisoft LED Digital Mobile Truck Ad
The last mobile truck ad on our list is the most high-tech. This digital mobile billboard from gaming giant Ubisoft must be seen to be believed. The panels of the truck play back clips from one of the giant’s most popular games, dropping those watching it right into the game’s virtual world. This is one of the few instances where spending the extra to go digital instead of opting for a mobile truck wrap pays off.
2021 is not over yet and we are bound to see more creative truck advertising out on the road with the holidays ahead of us. OOH advertising is one of the most diverse advertising industries out there and there are so many ways to get your message across. From digital LED mobile billboards to truck wraps, advertising comes in all forms. And the wide, open canvasses that trucks give us allows for in-your-face, immersive advertising that draws the eye and engages. From public service campaigns to art installations to video game releases, there is much that can be done with a mobile billboard.