The Funniest Mobile Ads

By Nadiya Sehgal and Antonia Mungal

What better way to capture your audience’s attention than with a good laugh? If you’re looking for inspiration for your next mobile ad that will engage your audience, or simply on the hunt for a good chuckle, look no further! We’ve put together our top picks for the funniest mobile billboards.

Before we dive in, think back to the last time you had a good laugh, or even let a subtle smirk slip through. We bet you’re smiling right now just thinking about it. And that’s precisely why humour is such a powerful tool in advertising. It has the ability to humanize a brand and invite audiences to not take themselves too seriously.  

Humour has been widely used in the marketing and advertising industry to connect with audiences, convey a brand personality, revitalize a company’s image or to create a lasting impression. Out of home (OOH) advertising provides the perfect arena for companies ready to communicate a playful deposition or a satirical outlook. This is so as OOH advertising offers lots of exposure, a wide and adaptable reach, and a large canvas for all things clever, witty and downright wacky. 

Now, we must warn you, incorporating humour into mobile advertising campaigns might appear simple at first glance, but make no mistake, this seemingly simple task requires skill, tact and a comic sensibility to really deliver on creative execution. Have you ever heard someone botch a joke and try to recover? The impact just isn’t the same. In other words, humorous mobile ads are no joking matter.

The Politics of Funny Mobile Ads

Kóala, an Australian mattress making company, made clever use of the country’s political landscape on election day. The campaign addressed politicians in a series of cheeky mobile OOH truck advertisements across key constituencies. These tongue-in- cheek ads addressed serious issues surrounding political deception and directly called out Aussie politicians for blatantly lying in parliament. However, the success of these ads resulted from the relevant use of satirical appeal coupled with the strategic placement and movement across constituencies – a visible reminder to voters to hold their representatives accountable as they placed their ballots.

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“Lying straight in bed is the only kind oflying that benefits everyone and at Koala, we can help with that. So we call on Australia’s politicians to leave the lying to us from now on, and allow the people of Australia to get a good night’s sleep.” – Bradley Firth, global brand strategy and creative VP, Kóala.

Through their skillful incorporation of humour and social commentary, Kóala not only provoked thought and encouraged a spirit of political activism, they also appealed to Aussies’ desire for a good night’s rest. In essence, not all lying is bad, just make sure it’s confined to the bedroom on a Kóala mattress.  

FEDEX Delivered On This One

We’re all too familiar with the FedEx/UPS rivalry. However, it’s safe to say, FedEx understood the assignment. The OOH ad insinuates that FedEx is the ultimate courier provider, so much so that it delivers UPS trucks. Can we get a LOL?

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Whether it’s Apple versus Samsung or DC Comics versus Marvel Comics, brands are continuously positioning themselves in relation to their competitors in order to stand out and remain relevant in the minds of their consumers and target audiences. “You need to find a way to distinguish your brand as the unique one and put that forward in your ads”

In this case, logistics mogul, FedEx, was able to capitalize on this rivalry by not only positioning themselves as unique but also superior; so much so that they are literally “carrying” their biggest competitor, UPS. Not to mention, what’s the irony of a courier provider using mobile advertising to deliver its message – classic!

A recent report found that 90% of people are more likely to remember ads that are funny, and 72% of people would choose a humorous brand over the competition.

Well played FedEx, well played.

Social Responsibility, Sex, and Durex

Durex has never been one to shy away from controversy, so it’s no surprise they’re in our top picks when it comes to mobile ads that give us the giggles. Over the years, Durex has really honed their skill of brilliantly incorporating humour into daring brand messages that often result in viral campaigns.

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Durex Australia launched #Erectometer in 2021 – a three-day OOH campaign geared towards encouraging Covid-19 vaccinations as Aussies prepared for the removal of pandemic restrictions and the long-awaited social mixing and intimacy. These mobile billboards cruised through the streets of New South Wales displaying real-time vaccination data using a phallic symbol (in case #Erectometer wasn’t direct enough) to indicate how far along Aussies were to reaching ‘vax climax’, with a targeted goal of an 80% vaccination rate.

“As singles prepare to mingle for the first time in almost four months,Durex wants to ensure Aussies are protected for the increase in closeness, physical intimacy and sexual connection that the end of lockdown brings. – Henry Turgoose, Marketing Director, Reckitt Health. 

The amusing display represents a perfect example of leveraging levity and OOH advertising for impactful and engaging cause marketing. Durex reminds us that making light of serious issues is not only possible but can be embraced during times of uncertainty to influence audience perception and behaviour. 

Playboy Keeps It Playful

Playboy is a men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine, formerly in print and has now adopted an online medium. It was established in 1953 and created a cult-like following by its readers and fans alike. 

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This incredibly clever and witty ad by playboy shows a bunch of men hanging onto a truck for dear life. Funny? We think so!  They are curious to see what’s behind it while being swayed away by the truck’s movement. It almost appears to be a 3D design. The art direction is unique and interesting, almost exaggerating the length that men will go to get a quick peek.  Over twenty years later, this hilarious ad still resonates to this day. 

People love laughing and this is a great and simple formula to make it happen. Playboy, whose brand is synonymous with  provocative imagery and controversial messaging, were apt in taking a light hearted approach to their mobile advertising.  This ad refrains from being crude and manages to remain witty, a misstep often taken by brands. It is appropriate, simple and clever. It is safe to assume that mobile billboards provide a versatile platform for brands to advertise. It gives a certain amount of leeway to try and experiment as well to see what strikes a chord with the audience. 

Playboy is a well established brand, while it is true that they have more space to experiment and adopt various advertising methods, there is no rule that says newer or lesser known brands cannot attempt the same approach. Since mobile billboards have a novelty factor which is that they are eye-grabbing and stand out easily, they tend to be noticed. This helps create a lasting impression and our brain tends to remember it. It is a great way to breakfree from the clutter of traditional advertising that our customers face on a daily basis. 

Cheers To The Jim Beam Marketing Team!     

Did someone say bottoms up? Well, Jim Beam implied it. This American brand of bourbon whiskey, established in 1795, is one of the best selling whiskey brands in the world. They have a secret family recipe that has been passed down for almost seven generations. The brand name is now synonymous with Kentucky Straight Bourbon.   

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Not only is the brand a veteran of the alcohol industry, but also of the advertising industry. The witty tagline: “If you are not satisfied, send it back. We’ll drink it.” sends an incredibly strong message, i.e. the brand is confident and believes that their product is the best in the market. Plus, we can’t help but chuckle thinking about what role day drinking plays in the company’s culture. The confidence it exhumes through this humorous and assertive tagline is exhilarating. Additionally, since the sole purpose of a mobile billboard is to reach a larger audience, this one hits the nail in the coffin perfectly. Their approach can also be considered to be upbeat and direct. It is almost as though they are speaking to the consumer directly, having a one-on-one friendly banter-styled conversation. 

Of course, there is always cause for concern with whether someone will be offended or not by the humor, hence understanding and learning about the target audience is important.  However, in the case of this mobile ad, we think it’s safe to say, whisky drinkers get it. 

Since mobile billboards have tracking and analytics, they can also study how effective their ad is. They can collect data and analyze whether this humorous approach works better for the brand or an alternative method. If the truck is parked in a certain location, they can learn how many people directly interacted with the ad and how many passively did so. This truly helps in later strategies. Since Jim Beam is a world-renowned brand and an old brand, they need to keep up with changing trends. A mobile billboard ad like this is pertinent to them to revitalize their advertising approach to newer generations. Optimizing messages can help resonate better with the consumer. Lastly, it provides valuable insights and helps drive sales. 

Chips Ahoy  Is One Smart Cookie  

Chips Ahoy is an American chocolate chip cookie brand produced by Nabisco. It was launched in 1963 and remains a favorite amongst many in North America. 

It is slowly becoming widely accepted that mobile billboards are the future of advertising. This is certainly the way to go. They get noticed often, receive an instant reaction and certainly add to stronger brand recognition. While billboards are undoubtedly a great way to go big and creative. It gets people talking about the brand instantly. 

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Chips Ahoy’s method was sweet and simple. They wanted to show how well consumed and accepted their product is. A poster that resembles the inside of a truck with its empty packets sends a strong message: nobody can resist our cookies. Similar to Jim Beam’s approach, they are confident in their product and know that their product always receives a positive review. “They go fast” is a statement that drives home the message in a subtle and delightful way. It has just the right mix of imagination, creativity and sincerity. 

A Big Win For Doydoy

Doydoy is a well established and known kebab brand in Germany which has elicited quite a few laughs over the few years with their witty and funny ad campaigns. This ad generated a lot of local press and made headlines internationally as well. It is probably considered to be one of the more creative ads to come out in the past few years. A cement truck is reimagined as a giant kebab skewer

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Since a cement truck is constantly turning and churning the cement within, it gives the same effect of a kebab turning around in a burner. It certainly elicited some laughs and social media shares plus traction. This proves that moving images and vehicles are impossible to ignore. This is without a doubt more eye-catching than a traditional billboard. 

As the old saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine”! This sure is true, especially since a break in a day where someone pauses to laugh at a billboard and find it relatable will certainly increase recall and make people want to share what they have seen either through word-of-mouth or by sharing it on social media. That could be in the form of a photograph they take to put it up on their story or a meme they create based on the ad. Plus a mobile billboard can reach your target consumer where they are. Since they can drive through both residential neighborhoods as well as shopping districts; being in the right place, in front of the right consumers is probably what elicited a reaction of this scale. 

Something of note here is that while Doydoy is a known brand in Germany, it was relatively unknown internationally until this truck made waves online.

Wholesome Humour

Wholesale club is a food company which has a huge inventory and offers low prices. It is owned by Loblaw Companies Limited. They have 58 stores across Canada. 

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Right off the bat, we can see that the wittiness in this ad is unmatched. The striking imagery immediately grabs your attention. The memorable tagline is noticed next, which is extremely clever. This is the brand’s direct and public attempt at standing out from its competitors. The underlying message is that while we might offer low prices, the quality of our products is superior compared to most food brands since chefs shop with us.  

The ad design is to be appreciated as well. The truck actually looks like a food stand and a real chef is shopping from the truck. They smartly drove the truck past streets which have restaurants lined up to make it seem like the products from this restaurant were probably bought from Wholesale Club. It probably opted for time slots around lunch and dinner rush to make a bigger impact. While the approach isn’t unique like Doydoy’s ad, it still is memorable. The concept makes it significant. 

The fear of using humor in advertising

While yes, a brand’s reputation is always at risk while using humor as a medium, that doesn’t mean it has to be avoided all the time. When used tactfully, it can be quite effective and worthwhile. This is where understanding your audience comes into play. Knowing what type of humor will be received well with the audience can and will be helpful. Understanding their trends, their consumption patterns will help resonate with them better. It also makes targeted advertising easier. This helps maintain brand reputation and probably gains a steady increase in a new customer base. 

There are several approaches that can be used in making an ad humorous. From clever wordplay to displaying the ad at the right time. Using contemporary issues in campaigns can also make it worthwhile. It certainly is hard not to laugh while looking at a funny billboard. The effectiveness is multiplied simply because people do not expect to see a clever and witty billboard in a sea of ads that they come across on the daily. It is refreshing to see one. 

Contact us at Movia for creating interesting ads using cutting edge technology. Our high quality billboards will certainly get your ad noticed. 

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