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Outdoor ads that belong in the Digital Budget

Posted by: Burth Helm on June 6, 2007

Here’s a picture, taken from a helicopter last week, from McDonald’s and its ad agency Leo Burnett.

blog pool.jpg

The photo is of a one-day, 12,062 square-foot advertisement placed in a suburban Chicago swimming pool to promote McDonald’s new 42 oz. soda (Yes – that’s almost 1.25 liters, for those keeping score). Notice the cutesy diving board-straw. Burnett’s PR rep also sent along the following factoids:

-The banner is seven pieces, lowered into pool with leverage

-Two scuba divers positioned the sections in the pool

-Sections were snapped together with a total of 681 maritime quality snaps

-The ad’s 474 foot perimeter was fitted with grommets every 2 ft for cable wiring to hold it in place.

-Total banner weighs 3,000 pounds

-Took a full day to install

Seems like an awful lot of trouble, especially since you pretty much needed to be in that pool that day or in a helicopter to see it. That is, unless you clicked onto a blog. I’ve got a soft spot for this new genre of ads, these old-fashioned publicity stunts fitted for viral play online. This one is extreme, but it’s amusing to see cool stuff in the real world when you’re cooped up in an office all day. And it’s a much livelier way to advertise outdoors than another billboard.

Reader Comments

Jim Lane

June 7, 2007 2:55 AM

It probably would have been cheaper and quicker to drain the pool and paint it with water-soluble paints, shoot it and then hose down and drain the pool. Way back, we used to see ads on pool bottoms.

joel cohen

June 7, 2007 5:33 AM

Great restaurant marketing idea. Smaller restaurants could paint their logos or selling messages at the bottom of community run pools.



June 9, 2007 12:35 AM

I thought McDonald's was going away from super sized portions, but a very buzz worthy idea nevertheless. How many laps would it take to burn the 300+ calories?

Propaganda Minister

June 13, 2007 5:18 PM

Very nicely done indeed. But since you can only see it high from the air, maybe it is really only meant to be on the blogs like a virus.


July 8, 2007 4:28 PM

5 minutes with Photoshop would the trick...

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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