Tuesday Blink: Effective Outdoor Ads for an Unusual Product

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Outdoor advertising’s been a recurring theme with my recent Tuesday Blinks.

Examples are easy to find when I’m wandering about during summer and they’re equally easy on the mental digestion. (We are just ending a long weekend here in Ontario.)

So we’ll consider this the third in my summer hat trick.

Anyone else find outdoor advertising sub-par?

Outdoor ads fascinate me as a tactic, but I rarely find individual examples to be fascinating.

Each time I enter the subway or pass a bus shelter, I look for something new and different, but seeing anything that makes me stop and explore is rare.

It’s like we should be grateful the ad is there to break the visual monotony and not an intrusion that has no obligation to entertain or inform.

A thoughtful, interesting bus shelter ad?

Friends, it is possible.

Consider this bus shelter ad for TreeTopTrekking.com.

Here’s the outward-facing panel (forgive the blurriness as the focus looked okay when I glanced down at my phone):TreeTopTrekking TTC Outward Panel

Nothing surprising, at first.

Here’s the inside: TreeTopTrekking's TTC Bus Shelter Ad (interior)

Did you see the people sketched in across the shelter’s rear glass pane?

Or the butterflies?

Or the floor?

No worries if you can’t quite see the floor. We’ll look at it in more detail in a sec.

I’ve seen sidewalk advertising where a product is rendered so that it appears as though it’s lying on the ground in front of you at a certain distance.

In the past, I’ve seen only cheesy iterations of this tactic: gimmicks trying to get me to notice some sale by making it look like there’s clothing on the sidewalk.

My response is usually along the lines of, “Why the hell is there a dress on the . . . oh, wait. Just an ad.”

Until I came across the TreeTop ads, I’d never seen an instance of 3D perspective where the design layout so cleverly showcased the product.

TreeTopTrekking.com operates a series of outdoor parks (four locations in Quebec and three in Ontario) where guests explore the trees via aerial courses, forest trails, ziplines and other features.

At least three locations (Barrie, Ganarska and Huntsville) are within day-trip distance of Toronto, which explains the placement of this ad series on TTC bus shelters.

If you’re selling the experience of walking among the trees, making ads that replicate as much of that experience as possible makes total sense.

This is the floor of the bus shelter (TTC regulars will recognize the gray thing in the upper corner as the bench no one sits on):TreeTopTrekking's 3D Floor detail in the TTC Bus Shelter

The perspective may or may not match actuality, but it’s playful and succeeds at interrupting an otherwise mundane sidewalk stroll.

Well played, TreeTopTrekking.com. Well played.

Except For The Part Where ….

. . . your site design wanted me to think too much.

I was tempted to do a full case-study length review of TreeTopTrekking.com’s materials, but the fact that they didn’t have an easily accessed About Us section on their website made me decide it would be too much effort.

You have to go down to the level of individual locations to figure that out.

Pro Tip: Don’t make visitors dig down to sub-level sites to figure out who you are and what you do. It’s too much work when I haven’t decided how interested I am in you or your business.

If you want more on this subject, read this book by Steve Krug.

I will give TreeTopTrekking.com props for making high-res copies of their logo easily accessible.

Bonus logo placement!Tree Top Trekking logo