Last month Chevrolet U.K. put up a billboard in Central London that was meant to emphasize that the new Aveo was budget-friendly. The designers used magazine glue to affix British pence to the background.
The company was hoping for consumer reaction, and it got it: passers-by peeled the money off rather quickly.
“It only lasted for 30 minutes,” said Daniel Glover, creative director of Mischief, the public relations agency that devised the campaign. “But it kind of made everybody smile.”
HSBC hit some snags with an outdoor campaign this summer, when it sponsored Wimbledon. In honor of the grass-court tennis tournament, its London advertising agency, JWT London, commissioned grass portraits of three little-known Wimbledon personalities, made by artists who expose grass seeds to different amounts of light to produce shades of green. It also decided to cover taxis and subway stations with grass.
Grass, as it turned out, was not the most flexible medium.
One of the portraits was of a British player, Tara Moore, who was out of the tournament by the time her grass portrait had grown (it takes about eight weeks).
As for covering the stations and taxis, the agency wanted to use real grass, said Mark Norcutt, the art director of JWT London. “But because of health and safety, we weren’t allowed to, because people might slip on it if it were on the floor. It got to be a bit of a nightmare,” he said.
In the end, Mr. Norcutt went with fake grass on the taxis and stations, and kept the portrait of the eliminated Ms. Moore in the stadium.
“A lot of people wanted to know about the process, a lot of people came up and touched it,” Mr. Norcutt said. “That was part of it as well — we wanted people to interact with it. Some were even sniffing it.”
Papa John’s, too, has been wrestling with natural elements as it tries to create a giant pizza in a field near the Denver airport in time for the Democratic National Convention. The idea is to promote its whole-wheat crust pizza.
Papa John’s hired an artist, Stan Herd, who has created crop circles for Absolut Vodka and Beck’s beer, among others. He devised a pizza made of pepperoni (red mulch), onions (limestone), green peppers (cornstalks) and olives (black mulch).
“It’s the best field location I’ve ever had,” said Mr. Herd, who says it will take him another week to finish. “All of the passengers at that point are all anxious to get out, and all looking out the window, and we’re perfectly poised to have them see something.”
If Papa John’s is lucky, its stunt will be as well received as the one done this spring for Oreo by Draftfcb. The agency converted a clear glass elevator in Manhattan Mall with a giant sticker of an Oreo cookie; on the clear vestibule in the lobby, it pasted a large sticker of a glass of milk. Whenever the elevator descended or ascended, it looked as if the Oreo was being dunked in a glass of milk.
The gimmick lasted only a day, but YouTube video of it has been viewed more than 34,000 times. Oreo, which is owned by Kraft Foods, said it was a one-time event.
“Out-of-home is an area that it makes sense to explore,” said Laurie Guzzinati, a Kraft spokeswoman, but any further plans “are all sort of T.B.D.”