No Escaping Ads: They’re Under Your Shoes, On the Back of Your Legs, Where You Pee

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Most people aren’t exactly overjoyed that their lives are flooded with ads. Whereas the average consumer may find the creep of advertising to be, well, creepy, advertising insiders see unexpected brand and product placements not as intrusive, but as innovative, often brilliant.
AdAge recently celebrated some oddly placed ads with a roundup of “The 10 Most Unexpected Media Placements We’ve Seen.” While urinal advertising is now an entire business, and while urinals have been made into video games in the past, a urinal in Brazil sponsored by Billboard magazine has to be the first one that plays a guitar via pee stream. Seven strings are placed inside the urinal, which is connected to an amp, allowing the user’s bodily function to make beautiful music. Well, make that music, or some sounds at least.

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Advertising right on the human body also seems to be hot. BuyMyFace allows advertisers to place brand names or logos on the faces to two students in the U.K., while one “creative” at the Leo Burnett Iberia agency has had a QR code tattooed onto his forearm. One month’s use of the ad space is being auctioned off, and the code is reusable, so this could be a long-term money maker. Meanwhile, an agency in New Zealand has fastened metal plates that are branded (in more than one way) onto public benches. When someone sits on the bench, the advertising message is “pressed” into the person’s bare legs, in the same way a zigzaggy pattern of lines appears when sitting in a wicker chair.

Ads are also underfoot, quite literally. Some Supra shoes—which (teenage girl scream!) Justin Bieber is known to wear—have soles that can be used as ad space. You know, just in case an advertiser is trying to reach the crucial ant and earthworm demographic.

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Similarly, Adweek calls attention to another set of ads that are currently underfoot: A series of mini-billboards dot the streets of London, and all of them are less than one foot off the ground. That may be just about the perfect height for toddlers, which makes sense considering that the ads are made of Legos, and they’re all promoting the Legoland Windsor Resort, which is trying to call attention to a new hotel it’s just opened.

In other curious advertising news, the New York Times Media Decoder blog reports that the Outdoors Advertising Association of America (yes, there is such a thing as the OAAA, it’s been around since 1891) wants you to know that outdoor advertising isn’t strictly limited to the outdoors. The association has reported spent $1 million to launch an initiative this week letting the world know about the “power of OOH advertising.” That’s OOH as in “out of home,” and it applies to your standard roadside billboards, as well as ads placed inside elevators and in doctor’s offices—anywhere that’s OOH, OK?

The association may even rename itself OOH, rather than OAAA. To which insiders might respond with an excited “ooh la-la,” while the average consumer might roll his eyes and say, “whoop-de-doo.”

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In any event, consumers can expect more ads everywhere they go, both inside and outside the house. Whether your reaction to the ads is “Ooh!” or “Ewww!” probably doesn’t matter to advertisers. So long as you’re taking note of the ads, and reacting some which way, the ad has probably served its purpose.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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