Billboards are a more traditional way of marketing.

With everything modernising in the industry, it is easy to look at billboards as stagnant or just the same-old same-old

While marketers might get extra excited when it comes to social media marketing and other GenZ-approved methods, some do still see the value in a great billboard on the side of the road or in a busy area. If you do it right, billboard marketing can be magic!

We believe in giving credit where credit is due, which is why we are looking at some of the best and most innovative billboards of 2023. 

Hit the breaks! Alrika Möller from media update is awarding the best billboards of 2023. 

The melting billboard by ITVX

Yup, you read that right …

In order to promote the new natural history documentary A Year On Planet Earth, ITVX created a billboard that really captured people's attention

The billboard was an icy structure that made its way to Liverpool Lime Street Station. As you can imagine, the ice started to melt little by little, revealing a beautiful spring image beneath the ice.

People went out of their way to see the famous billboard, which many called a piece of art

This marketing masterclass shows us that you don't need to be a tech genius or a social media wiz to create buzz. ITVX proved this by using a captivating image of nature — and a lot of ice

With a little creativity and a lot of imagination, something as mundane as a billboard became a must-see moment that intrigued a lot of people and made them excited about the documentary. 

KFC breakfast billboard

If you drove on the highways of South Africa in 2023, you probably saw a KFC billboard promoting its breakfast wraps.

One of these billboards features a picture of the wrap along with the words Muffins Are Meh. Yes, the billboard also states Eat Chicken For Breakfast, but it is the muffin line that caught everyone's attention.

In the world of fast food, one breakfast item reigned supreme. This item is, of course, the Egg McMuffin.

By making the statement that muffins are meh in big, bold letters, the scarlet-red fast food chain is taking a not-so-subtle dig at the famous McClown — without actually ever mentioning McDonald's or the Egg McMuffin.

In marketing, you are constantly in competition with other brands. The urge to clearly state that you are better than your competitor is strong, but there are certain rules and regulations against that in South Africa.

That is why marketers have to use the art of subtlety and innuendo to get their message across.

KFC proved this with its not-so-meh billboards

Barbie pink billboard

2023 really was the year of the Barbie movie!

The build-up for this film was huge, and the marketing techniques impressed the best of the best.

One of the most memorable marketing moments during the film's campaign was a billboard. The entire billboard was covered in what can only be described as Barbie Pink, with the premier date of the film in the right-hand corner.

That's it! That is all that was on the billboard.

You are probably asking how such a plain and simple billboard can make it onto our list of the best billboards of 2023.

Well, it's because the marketers for this film knew two things.

Number one is that this specific shade of pink has been associated with Barbie for a very long time. Number two is that they knew that the audience for this film would recognise it.

The marketers knew their target market so well that a colour and a date were enough to make images of this billboard go viral.

If marketers take the time to know their audience and the relationship their audience has with their brand or product, they don't need all the bells and whistles or extra fluff to make their billboard stand out!

Billboards might be seen as traditional, but when marketers truly know what they are doing, billboards have the potential to be brilliant!

Traditional marketing methods are not talked about enough! Let us know what traditional marketing methods you want us to discuss next in the comment section below. 

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If you are looking for more of our favourite marketing moments of 2023, have a look at The merriest holiday campaigns of 2023
*Image courtesy of Canva