How can traditional media be transformed by experiential marketing tactics? Take a peep at this billboard. Created by the dynamic duo at TBWA/Vancouver — copy writer Michael Milardo and art director Bart Batchelor — this billboard is as experiential as it gets. Blacktower

Forget that giant MTV billboard in Times Square or even that Adidas board in Japan where two guys played soccer suspended by bungee chords. This billboard gets interactive with consumers in a very unique way — it makes them steal. That’s right: larceny. Created for client Black Tower Home Security, the billboard was debuted covered with a bunch of stuff — mirrors, slippers, pillows and picture frames — that were easily removed by passersby (the billboard was uniquely low to the street).

After less than 48 hours, enough people stole the stuff to reveal the message hidden underneath: "People steal." With an execution this good, it’s a matter of time before media creatives will be stealing this idea instead.


  1. Stolen Billboard Items Reveal Message

    Max Lenderman points to a billboard created by TBWA/Vancouver which leveraged the unfortunate but dependable human propensity to steal stuff. The billboard was created for security company Black Tower Home Security and after enough people had stolen v…

  2. Interesting billboard: sad, but true..

    Black Tower Home Security proved that ‘People Steal’ in their latest experiential marketing effort.  Black Tower created this interactive billboard covered with easily removed items and as the items were removed the message could be s…

  3. Steal (From) This Billboard

    This is a clever spin on an old idea. The ad agency TBWA/Vancouver created a billboard that was originally covered with “grab-worthy household items like framed paintings, rugs, pillows and cookware”. As people snuck up and removed things, the billboar…

  4. People Steal

    Max LendermanのExperience the Messageで紹介されていたユニークなビルボード(看板)広告。

  5. hi
    i saw your post @adrants and found this “take-free-and-you’ll-see” ad something innovative and highly interactive.
    thanks for sharing.

  6. People Steal

    Max LendermanのExperience the Messageで紹介されていたユニークなビルボード(看板)広告。

  7. Thieves reveal billboard\’s hidden message

    This interactive billboard was created for a home security company. It was up to thieves to reveal the hidden message on the billboard.

  8. This is definitely Hans Gruber inspired

    It’s called “Whose Fish?”, and Einstein claimed that only 2% of the world could figure it out. The editors of the website that it’s posted on cannot 100% confirm the claim that Einstein penn…

  9. It’s not a new idea. Ignite Communications in Vancouver did it a year or two back for Richmond Auto Mall
    Wonder if that’s where they got the idea from…?

  10. “Interactive” billboards

    As if CK’s "Live" Billboards were not enough, here is another spin on an old idea. The ad agency TBWA/Vancouver created a billboard with grab-worthy household items like framed paintings, rugs, pillows and cookware, that were easily remove

  11. The thief and the billboard

    A billboard covered with everyday objects such as kettles, pots and pans has been placed unusually low in Vancouver. This allows people to steal the objects. When the objects have been removed underneath was revealed as an ad for Black

  12. People Steal!

    I saw this on Digg and thought I would blog it….

  13. Billboard

    Das Interaktvie Werbung nicht immer gleich mit Bluetooth, MMS-Spielen oder Hotlines zu tun haben muss, hat TBWA/Vancouver mit einem Plakat für Black Tower Home Security. Dort wurde eine Reihe von Gegenständen (z.B. Spiegel, Bilderrahmen und sowas) …

  14. C’mon Chris, the Richmond auto ad didn’t reveal the message by letting people steal the props. Not quite the same idea there. Stuff has been put on billboards since the 70s. Remember the glue-ad with the car glued to a billboard? 🙂

  15. The Opposite of Sleeping In

    Today’s dose of NIF – News, Interesting & Funny … halfway there!

  16. There was a small piece on exhibit in Winnipeg a couple years ago. I think it was called “Steal Me”. It was a small photo frame with no glass. It had a $100 bill pinned in the centre.
    Now, instead there are two $50 bills pinned there.

  17. great article. very intersting information

  18. haha that’s a very original ad, very creative and memorable, thnx for sharing it

  19. Hello dudes I am working as a web designer, and has experience of more than 3 years in designing, and my hobies are playing,skiing, and football. I found your site quite cool… keep it up dudes

  20. Wholesale Furniture

    SuperPages from Verizon has nationwide business listings Features

  21. When I first read about this billboard, I thought what an oxymoron — experiential billboards?? This was a truly unique experiential campaign and what a great way to engage people–tempt them with something that they might be interested in. On my blog,, I try to cover unique campaigns like this one. Kudos to the creative masterminds behind this one and nice job of covering it on your blog!

  22. Your Mom · · Reply

    Ironic, but this idea was STOLEN from a billboard that won a Gold Lion at Cannes years ago. Look it up, Neil Frisby from London did it for the homeless. A billboard with a ladder going up to it covered in donated winter jackets with the headline underneath, “Now you know how desperate the homeless are for warm clothing”.

  23. Tom Human · · Reply

    The fact is that if I saw a billboard deliberately placed close to the ground, with things that were easily removed put on the surface, I’d just assume that they were being given away for some sort of promotional purpose. I try to avoid taking that stuff but I’d never think someone who was was stealing.
    So they’re basically leaving stuff out to be taken and then saying, “THIEF!”
    Creepy company….

  24. Thanks for sharing such a great stuff, i was just passing by to this post. This blog is really great, i love it.

  25. After less than 48 hours, enough people stole the stuff to reveal the message hidden underneath: “People steal.” With an execution this good, it’s a matter of time before media creatives will be stealing this idea instead.

  26. Yeah..I think this will give views into another level of advertising!
    Great Piece!

  27. Your marketing tactics are quiet unique and you put some true creativity in front of us. Thank You..!

  28. Well no wonder people get stolen from, this kind of reverse psychology only encourages thief’s to do more damage than good.

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