Advertising through photographs is a complex form of storytelling that conveys the message on a clean, creative canvas. Bill Bernbach famously said, “An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.” It is becoming increasingly difficult for people’s attention, and print has lost its charm since people are getting hooked on videos more. But print advertising, when well executed, still grabs eyeballs. We have compiled a list of the 15 best photography advertisements that managed to grab our attention.
Some exceptional ads manage to tease multiple senses and not just the eyes. Here are the 15 best photography advertisements that convey a million things with their strong photography.
1. Chupa Chups
Year: 2013 | Agency: DDB Spain
Campaign Objective: To advertise its sugar-free lollipop
Apart from kids and people with sweet teeth, who else likes lollipops? ANTS. It was the answer for DDB Spain to showcase a sugar-free lollipop without being too preachy. The ad showcased a lollipop fallen on the ground and a trail of ants that walked without touching it. When you look closer, you see how the ants walk toward Chupa Chups, guiding viewer’s attention to the brand logo.
Year: 2004 | Agency: KNSK, Germany
Campaign objective: WMF Grand Gourmet Knife is extremely sharp
A knife is a knife, and a brand-new one ought to be sharp, right? But then, how do you distinguish it from the rest? Well, with this beautiful ad from KNSK. The ad is simple and conveys the message right away. It showcases that the knife is sharp enough to cut through the board (exaggeration, of course) without creating a mess. It guarantees the users that the WMF Grand Gourmet Knife is probably the sharpest tool they will find. Notice that the ad focuses on households and not chefs. The subtlety lies in the way the carrot is cut. The size of the pieces is not even. This ad also won the old award at Europe’s Premier Creative Awards in 2005.
3. Mercedes Benz
Year: 2012 | Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Colombia
Campaign objective: To promote the Distronic Plus Technology
It is difficult for you to touch your nose with your tongue or for a dog to touch its tail. It is not impossible, but it is difficult. Leveraging this gap gave rise to this masterpiece from Ogilvy & Mather Colombia. The path, showcased as a road, with the car finding it almost impossible to get closer to the truck. It showcases how Mercedes Benz Distronic Plus Technology works to keep its users safe.
Year: 2009 | Agency: Euro RSCG Singapore
Campaign objective: Bose QuietComfort noise-canceling headphones
The ad conveys noise-canceling headphones without showing the product itself. The ad makes the viewer a part of the scene as someone who is wearing headphones. Once on, any surrounding noise, be it a baby crying or a mother trying to put it to sleep, seems like a mime.
Year: 2019 | Agency: David The Agency, Miami
Campaign objective: A brand refreshment ad
What does a brand do when it is almost over a century old? It activates your senses from familiarities it established over the years. The ads showcase a series of macro photographs with a small caption, ‘Try not to hear this’. The sound of fizz is so familiar to all of us that it is almost impossible to miss the sound. Yes, most cola drinks have the same sound, but Coca-cola manages to capture it all with its simplistic advertisement. Coca-cola has constantly managed to get some of its work to rank among the best photography advertisements countdowns, so this is no exception.
Year: 2009 | Agency: DDB Berlin
Campaign objective: Home delivery service by Ikea
Ikea is known for its elaborate setups and catering to almost everything that a room would require. It quickly captures the user’s attention with its vibrant spaces, only to notice the little window with a truck driver. The message is clear, crisp, and beautifully conveyed.
7. Schusev State Museum of Architecture
Year: 2013 | Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Russia
Campaign Objective: Encourage Muscovites to visit the Schusev State Museum of Architecture
This series of advertisements from Saatchi & Saatchi showcased only a tenth of their total volume. It uses fonts that depict mysticism and magic and invites viewers to the museum to discover the complete story. The advertisement is a great mix of storytelling, fantasy, and works by making the viewer curious. This ad still ranks among the best photography advertisements executed by Saatchi & Saatchi’s Russian office.
8. Pink Ribbon – Breast Cancer Awareness
Year: 2021 | Agency: WEFRA LIFE
Campaign objective: Breast cancer awareness to the diverse women population in Germany
Germany has a growing diverse, multilingual population. To address breast cancer to them, the ad showcased text written in different languages. To capture the viewers’ attention, the ad used monuments from various corners of the world, that, when turned to a 90-degree, resemble the breast. The ad is simple yet resonates with anyone who sees it. The ad also promotes the multilingual app breast care for its diverse users.
Year: 2021 | Advertising Agency – McCann Health, São Paulo
Campaign objective: Create awareness against high cholesterol
In this campaign, McCann Health beautifully captures what happens in our bodies when cholesterol levels rise. The red cars (depicting the RBCs) cannot traverse once the road gets blocked with cholesterol (yellow cars). The messaging is kept crisp and complete with a caption, ‘When it clogs up, life stops’.
Year: 2013 | Agency: AMV BBDO
Campaign objective: Don’t make your cat a vegetarian
The pet cat belongs to the same family as a lion or tiger. The ad by AMV BBDO showcases this by placing the pet cat in the wild, showcasing that the pet cat has similar instincts as a tiger or lion and is naturally a carnivore. This clever campaign urges the viewer to nurture their pets with what they need and not force them to eat something that isn’t their natural choice.
Year: 2013 | Agency: Adam & Eve DDB
Campaign: Print ads to popularise 90-second TV spot
This campaign complemented a 90-second TV for Marmite that personified Marmite. It had a Marmite police that took it from homes that were not using it to homes that loved it. Following the same story, these print ads, in a bold move, showed only a glimpse of Marmite. The text on it, ‘Love it. Hate it. Just don’t forget it’, aimed at reminding users about their Marmite jars.
12. Burger King
Year: 2018 | School: Brother Escuela de Creativos
Campaign: Burger King the Friendly Grill
In this advertisement, Burger King calls out McDonald’s. It instantly captures the viewer with the ruptured Happy Meal toys and establishes McDonald’s as a toy shop against Burger King that serves the real deal. The ad is quirky, fun and adds to all the series of ads that users enjoy of these two brands. Burger King has constantly managed to get its work listed in the best photography advertisements, so this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the brand is capable of.