What Is Ambient Advertising? (Advantages and Examples)

We’re accustomed to believing that advertisements provide us with a brief window of opportunity to use the restroom while watching television or movies. Some advertisements, however, are so cool that you’d rather not miss them, so it shouldn’t always be that way. One of the coolest forms of advertising and one of the most effective marketing techniques, in Panda’s opinion, is ambient advertising. “What’s that?” you say? I’ll explain.

Ambient advertising markets products in novel ways by utilizing our natural surroundings. This inventive advertising captures our attention in unexpected places. A great piece will help to create a talking point about the advertisement itself, not just the product. It’s a combination of viral marketing and installation art.

Marketers have sought out alternative strategies to reach their target audience because billboard advertising has reached its saturation point. And what better way to do that than to actually do it (see example in photo #1) in order to get products into customers’ hands. In addition to the humorous ads on the list, there are also serious activist campaigns that draw attention to social and environmental issues.

Cool and Creative Ambient Ads

Advantages of ambient advertising

Here are some advantages of ambient advertising:

Potentially viral content

Many marketers favor ambient advertising because it engages viewers and encourages them to share it naturally on social media or by word of mouth. Successful ambient advertising can acquire novel status, luring viewers to seek it out and engage with it. Because of its placement, ambient advertising that goes viral may end up reaching more people than it would have otherwise. As a result, more people may see the advertisements and be inspired to learn more about the product.


It’s not necessary for a piece of ambient advertising to interfere with the consumer’s life in order to boost the brand’s popularity. A passive form of advertising might be more effective with consumers because it gives them the freedom to participate at their own pace. By forgoing the hiring of salespeople to physically engage with the public, non-intrusive advertising can also help brands save money.

Wider market

Through ambient advertising, a brand can reach any audience that sees their advertisement as well as anyone who views a shared image or video of the ambient advertising experience. This could increase the demographics and geographic scope of your market. Imagine that a creative ambient ad inspires a travel destination or a social media sensation. In this case, thousands more people could see the advertisement than if it had been seen in person.

Draws attention

Ambient advertisements employ creativity and engagement to highlight the product and locations that people might not immediately associate with it. Possessing the element of surprise and the additional creativity can positively influence how much attention the advertisement receives. People will be more interested in your brand and your product than they would be through traditional advertising if you can surprise them and get them to think about it in a new way.

What is ambient advertising?

Ambient advertising is the practice of disguising visual and interactive ads so as to surprise and pique the interest of your target audience. These advertisements stand out more than conventional forms of advertising, causing consumers to remember the company and motivating them to spread the word about it. The idea that an advertisement might serve a second purpose as a component of the consumer’s environment is referred to as ambient advertising. Ambient advertisements refer to the function of the product and offer details that may encourage the consumer to buy it in addition to being unexpected.

Here are some characteristics of ambient advertising:

Ambient advertising examples

Here are some examples of common forms of ambient advertising:

2D illusion

Installing a sticker or an image to draw attention to how a product or the people who use it relate to the brand is one common form of ambient advertising. The sticker may alter the appearance of the objects or may simply contain a message urging the observer to approach the optical illusion in a different way. Here are some examples of potential ambient advertising using stickers:

Windex purchased numerous bus stops from New York City and applied a 2D illusion to the back of each one to make the glass appear cloudy. The advertisement claimed that the illusion had a specific clear area where it was possible to see through the glass, but it was actually the layout of the sticker. This is clever ambient advertising because its subtle and creative. Although it didn’t occupy any additional space in the city, it was highly visible and drew in viewers by suggesting that Windex could help clean even a filthy New York City bus stop.

At the bottom of escalators, National Geographic used mats that looked like an alligator in a body of water to create 2D illusions to promote their nature programs. The deception gave the riders of the escalator the impression that they were descending into an alligator habitat. Due to its unconventional positioning and inventive use of the descending escalator, this unexpected illusion might surprise the audience and pique their interest in the advertisement.

A dentist’s office placed images of an open mouth above bowling pins in a bowling alley using a 2D illusion technique. The pins were actually teeth that had been knocked out, but the illusion made them look like teeth. This was a creative way to draw attention to their offerings for the audiences’ teeth’s protection and resiliency. It didn’t take up extra space or interfere in any way with the bowling game, but it was unexpected and visually appealing.


Another common form of ambient advertising is when a company places an unfamiliar object in the environment of the consumer to attract their attention to the product in a novel way. The object may be static because it is a stable structure that doesn’t change or it may be dynamic, allowing the consumer to modify or move it. Here are some examples of installations:

For publicity purposes, UNICEF placed a water vending machine selling tainted water on the streets of New York City. This was done to promote their efforts to supply remote, vulnerable areas with clean water. A water bottle with information about various contamination, including having various bacteria and viruses, cost $1 from the vending machine. The slogan called attention to those without access to clean water, just as the vending machine prevented pedestrians from getting clean water. This unexpected addition to the New York City street scene caused people to reevaluate their own and other people’s water consumption habits.

A sculpture of a sizable bottle of vividly colored nail polish that appeared to be hovering in the air and pouring nail polish onto the ground was used by Rimmel cosmetics to promote their quick-dry nail polish. Its unexpected placement worked to draw attention to the product. The illustration of the dried nail polish supporting the bottle in midair served to further emphasize how durable and quickly drying the nail polish was. It made an unexpected and eye-catching advertisement using a common public art technique.

With the message “Take a break and have a KitKat,” KitKat placed park benches decorated to resemble KitKat bars. The catchphrase parodied the brand’s original tagline and provided a way for customers to engage with their ambient advertisement. Although this advertising campaign was understated and unobtrusive, it was still able to draw attention to the product at a time and location when the customer might not have been considering it. This widens the audience and draws them in new directions.

Please note that Indeed is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in this article.


What is an ambient advertisement?

Ambient advertising is the practice of placing advertisements on unusual items or in unusual locations where you might not typically expect to see them. Because it leaves a lasting impression on consumers’ minds, ambient advertising has become a more popular concept.

What are the benefits of ambient advertising?

The goal of ambient advertising is to strategically place advertisements in unexpected places. This type of media has the advantage of interacting with your target audience within their daily lives and the environments they frequent, promoting positive associations and brand familiarity.

What are the 4 types of advertising?

Types of advertising
  • Newspaper. Your company can reach a wide range of customers by advertising in newspapers.
  • Magazine. You can quickly and easily reach your target market by placing an ad in a specialized magazine.
  • Radio. …
  • Television. …
  • Directories. …
  • Outdoor and transit. …
  • Direct mail, catalogues and leaflets. …
  • Online.

What is the difference between guerilla and ambient advertising?

Guerrilla marketing and place-based marketing are two terms that are frequently used to describe ambient marketing. The fundamental idea is to draw consumers’ attention in unexpected ways to increase the likelihood that they will remember the advertising message.

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