Bus shelters are a wonderful medium for advertising, but it takes a lot of creativity to make the best of it. Bus shelter ads also known as “transit shelter displays” are highly effective, sometimes more so than larger hoardings, claims research sponsored by Right Angle Media.[1] Moreover, some areas do not have billboards as an advertising option, so transit shelter advertising will often be an excellent alternative to larger billboards.[2]

In addition to this, they are always on as they work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bus shelter advertising also offers great visibility – drivers, pedestrians and bus riders all see your ads. Moreover, a lot of people are going to see it more than once, because people usually pass the same location everyday while driving to work and then back home. Another really important benefit is the ability to make precise geographic targeting. If you do business locally and want to target local consumers, there’s probably no better advertising vehicle.

On the other hand, plain bus stop advertising cannot get consumer’s attention effectively because of one-way communication. Usually, people are bored to death waiting for a bus, so everyone would thank an advertiser for giving a little game to play, and eventually maybe even buy the product later. Here are 40 of the world’s most creative bus stop ads that managed to do that.

1. Real Hip Hop: Black Power

“Black music all the way.” Cannes Lions Outdoor finalist. (Advertising Agency: Dentsu, São Paulo, Brazil)

2. Wonderbra: I Broke the Glass

Advertising Agency: Publicis Frankfurt, Germany

3. Guarana Antarctica: Net

Actual size goal posts were placed in bus shelters around Sao Paulo for the Soccer World Cup (Art Directors: Marcelo Maia, Bruno Brasil, Rodrigo Rodrigues)

4. Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation: Wheelchair

Advertising Agency: BBDO New York, USA

5. IKEA: Bus Stop

Advertising Agency: unknown

6. Apple Macbook Air: Swing

Credits: Bruno Taylor

7. Treasury Casino: Let The Good Times Roll

7563 dice were painstakingly set into the face of Treasury Casino’s bus shelter sign. (Advertising Agency: Treasury Casino)

8. Victoria Bug Zoo

This TSA, made from a plastic sheet with hundreds of small magnifying lenses, allowed passersby to see through a bug’s eyes. (Advertising Agency: Rethink, Vancouver, Canada)

9. Osram – Energy Saving Light Bulbs

“Only use electricity when you need it.” (Advertising Agency: Saatchi&Saatchi, Cape Town, South Africa)

10. Alfa Romeo Helps Other People Sell Their Cars

Within days the poster sites were completely full. (Advertising Agency: Duval Guillaume, Antwerp, Belgium)

11. Coca-Cola: New Grip Bottle

Challenge: Let people know about how the new Coca-Cola Grip Bottle has a better grip for holding.

Solution: Posters printed on Velcro were placed in bus shelters in Paris to make people interact with the grip.Results: People literally hooked to the campaign. On the whole, a 3.8% brand volume growth in France compared to 2007. (Advertising Agency: Marcel, Paris, France)

12. Livegreen Toronto: Switch

“Hello, have you heard about livegreentoronto.ca?” (Advertising Agency: Agency59, Toronto, Canada)

13. Etv: Football World Cup

Bus stop ad promoting local TV channel live coverage of world cup 2006. (Advertising Agency: unknown)

14. 3M Security Glass

Break it and you can take $3 million in cash! The true is, that there were actually only $500 put on the top of the fake bills, and people were only allowed to use their feet to break it. In case, someone actually break it – there was a guard to assure that nobody kept the fake money from the glass. (Advertising Agency: unknown)

15. Rubbish Since Monday

Advertising Agency: Colenso BBDO, Auckland

16. Star Wars: Lightsabers

Advertising Agency: enVision, Aarhus, Denmark

17. Quiksilver: Ramp

A real skateboard ramp was mounted on the side of a typical danish bus shed providing pass time activities for the waiting passengers. (Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Copenhagen, Denmark)

18. Ecko Clothing: Bluetooth Graffiti

People will get the possibility to access the citylight via bluetooth with their cell phones and spray their own graffiti with the cursor of their phone. (Advertising School: Design Factory International, Hamburg, Germany)

19. Caribou Coffee: Oven Bus Stop

“To help Caribou Coffee launch its hot and fresh Daybreaker breakfast sandwiches, we decided to heat things up a bit. To do this, we created ovens out of transit shelters, complete with real heaters and working clocks. This not only allowed us to showcase Caribou’s new “Hot ‘n Wholesome” menu items, it also benefited Minnesotans during their frigid winter commutes.” (Advertising Agency: Colle+McVoy)

20. Poster That Responds To People Looking At It

“It happens when nobody is watching” (Advertising Agency: Jung von Matt, Hamburg, Germany)

21. The Dignity Project

The Salvation Army in Canada has created a series of bus stop ads featuring homeless people reaching out for necessities as part of The Dignity Project, which is attempting to restore hope and dignity for the less fortunate. (link)

22. March Against the Terrorist Organization FARC

“February 4th is March Against the Terrorist Organization FARC. We took the bus stop posters and chained three iconic characters of the Colombian conflict posing as hostages. A woman who reminisced Ingrid Betancourt (hostage for nine years now), a policeman and a farmer, all tied to the posters that held a message as follows: “Since you can do it, go out and march against FARC.” (Advertising Agency: Sancho BBDO, Colombia)

23. Science Alberta: Invisibility

“Is invisibility possible? Invent your future with a career in science.” (Advertising Agency: MacLaren McCann, Calgary, Canada)

24. San Francisco Zoo: Critter Quest

Advertising Agency: BBDO West

25. Fisch Franke: Filled with Water and Real Fish

Advertising Agency: Publicis, Frankfurt, Germany

26. Le Lait: Milk Carton

Advertising Agency: Nolin BBDO, Canada

27. Fiji Travel – Throw Away Your Clothes

Advertising Agency: TBWAOSLO, Oslo, Norway

28. Je*s Jeans – No Need to Bend Anymore

Advertising Agency: Bruketa@Zinic, Zagreb, Croatia

29. Fitness First: Bus Stop

A health club chain called Fitness First, have actually converted a bus stop bench into a scale that displays the weight of people sitting on it. (Advertising Agency: N=5, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

30. Movie up: Balloons

Advertising Agency: unknown

31. Free Coffee From April 20th till May 3rd

Advertising Agency: Cossette West, Canada

32. Asian Weeks till 24th August

Advertising Agency: DDB Helsinki, Finland

33. McDonald’s: Night

Advertising Agency: DDB Sydney, Australia

34. Norwegian Airline’s New Destinations: The Kilt

Advertising Agency: Volt AB, Stockholm, Sweden

35. Norwegian Airline’s New Destinations: The Sauna

Advertising Agency: Volt AB, Stockholm, Sweden

36. Calgary Zoo: Dinosaurs Alive!

“More real. More scary”. (Advertising Agency: Trigger, Calgary, Canada)

37. Australia Post: Personalize Your Post

Advertising Agency: M&C Saatchi, Melbourne, Australia

38. Coca-Cola Refrigerator Bus Shelter

“Open Happiness.” Real Coke bottles settled to the mock-up cold refrigerator. (Advertising Agency: McCann Erickson Istanbul, Turkey)

39. Hasbro Cluedo: How Does It Feels To Be Involved..?

“How does it feel to be involved in a crime.” (Advertising Agency: DDB, Italy)

40. Playstation Bus stop

This bus station in Malaysia features boards with bubble wrap. I would probably miss the bus here! (Advertising Agency: unknown)