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Coca-Cola: Billboards Become Shelters

Challenge: when everything goes wrong, advertising becomes shallow and superfluous

In April 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the coasts of Ecuador, destroying thousands of buildings, severely damaging the infrastructure of many cities, and leaving thousands of families without a home. As an act of solidarity Coca-Cola decided to cancel the advertising efforts for many of its brands.

We knew that people needed help urgently. And while many donations of water and other supplies were given away, the help wasn’t enough – the biggest problem being the lack of temporary shelters to accommodate homeless families. And so, creativity got into action, at the service of human values and real needs.

Solution: let’s transform billboards into shelters!

Coca-Cola removed 380 billboards and transformed them into more than 200 temporary houses ready to shelter hundreds of families and reunite them back together.

The action quickly spread through traditional and digital media and inspired other brands to do the same thing, multiplying the impact and creating hundreds of extra shelters to accommodate even more families.

Results: making an impact through creative thinking

380 billboards turned into more than 200 shelters built

More than four thousand people reunited again with their families, under a roof

An organic digital reach of +17 million people impacted with +184 thousand interactions around the goodwill of the action

The action became a trending topic and gained national organic coverage in the news and media.


Billboard Houses was awarded four WINA Awards in 2017, Gold as best Innovative Action of the year, plus three Silvers in the Outdoor category and subcategories. The campaign was also recognized at the London International Awards (LIA) with Gold for Best Innovative Use of Billboard, Silver in the Corporate Image category, and even a Grand Prix as the Best Billboard campaign of the year. It also made it onto a Public Relations shortlist and an honorific mention at Cannes.