Are You Making the Most of Your Old Ads?

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Have you let your old ads lie fallow?

Brands and agencies are increasingly finding innovative ways to give new life to their outdated billboards. Recycling outdoor ads isn't exactly a new phenomenon--but it still remains a fresh way to liven up a marketing message-- 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.

Turning billboards into personal goods isn't exactly a new thing. Back in 2009 Target teamed with Mother New York 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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