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Advertisers, Are You Letting Your Ads Go to Waste?

Brands like Air France and Burt's Bees Upcycle Old Billboards

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Marketers, have you let your old ads lie fallow?

Brands are increasingly finding innovative ways to give new life to their outdated billboards. The recycling of outdoor ads is becoming all the rage -- the benefit being advertisers can do good for the environment, and maybe earn a little cash by repurposing them into something more useful than just plain old advertising.

Recently, Air France partnered with upcycled goods manufacturer Bilum on a limited edition series of bags and accessories made from the airline's old billboards and used seatbelts. The collection features one-of-a-kind travel cases, wallets, laptop and cabin bags, priced from 69 to 285 euros.





It's not the first time that billboards have been fashioned into bags. Back in 2009, Target teamed with Mother's New York office on an effort that turned its billboards in Times Square into a line of bags by designer Anna Sui.




The following year, Sony hung its old tarp banners back onto its HQ in Tokyo, but in a completely new form.

Teaming with Hakuhodo Kettle, the advertiser held a unique fashion event and converted the expired ads into limited edition jeans. It showcased them high on one side of the Sony Building and the facade became a giant point of purchase site. Shoppers could select a design and size and men decked out in climbing gear would scale the building to retrieve the goods. The "Wall Sale" generated about $400,000 worth of media attention--enough to cover the campaign cost--but Sony donated the profits to organizations dedicated to restoring world landmarks.



More recently, Burt's Bees worked with Baldwin& to extend the life of one of its old billboards, while giving life to something meaningful. Last year the advertiser created an outdoor that featured a woman with dry, flaky skin. But she experienced a miraculous transformation once pedestrians pulled off coupons from which the image was composed.

This year Baldwin& showed that Burt's Bees could hydrate more than just skin by teaming with the Durham School of Arts' Urban Garderning Program to turn the old billboard into a prototype rain-catching system that allows city farmers to recycle up to 6300 gallons of rainwater yearly to water their crops.

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