Case Study

We need elbow room

As seen in the picture below, advertisable space has gotten a little crowded recently.

Overstimulating ads

So what did architects do when they started running out of land? They went in a new direction: up.

There are two main ways to “build up” and find new space for advertising that I’ll describe today.

1. Find new spaces to buy, like the food cart below:


This is the simplest form of “new media”. This requires no change in how you advertise, just where you put it. In the last two months that these food cart ads have popped up, the most interesting/eye-catching ads have been like the one above, not even selling a product. This form doesn’t make your ad more memorable, but it at least gives it some elbow room and allows it to be seen.

2. Use the space you already have:

NYC coffee shop "The Bean" draws in customers with it's flamboyancy

The space you already own – your store, kiosks, product packaging, etc. – is your best asset. This is how people see you anyways, so why not show people what you’re made of?

Pretty bar codes are pretty

For instance, why doesn’t everyone have a decorative barcode? They’re easy to make and are an innovative continuance of your brand.

This is what you see on the ceiling when you lay on a bed in IKEA

IKEA is one of my favorite brands when it comes to marketing. The above picture I took while trying out one of their mattresses. Each bed had a different statement pointing out a feature.

What are your favorite creative uses of space?

2 replies on “We need elbow room”

I’m not attentive enough to remember my favorite creative uses of space, and I’m not creative enough to think up any new ones…

But I completely endorse the “elbow room” concept. When I get slammed with ad after ad after ad, I don’t have time to consider them. I also start feeling assaulted and stop listening/looking, and loud/large ads become like bad first impressions.

On the contrary, a food truck ad lets me know that a company supports a small local business.

I love the decorative barcode; I’ve actually never seen that before!

the food cart and the decorative barcode are definitely things I’d like to see more of 🙂 Speaking of building upward, I remember when I was in college during the 2008 Presidential election and concurrent elections in California, some special interest groups hired a plane to write a large message to vote Yes on Prop 8 in the sky–it was huge! Now that’s advertising (albeit for a very unfortunate reason).

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