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Coca-Cola: Billboard Houses… the Billboards that Became Shelters

Challenge: When everything goes wrong, advertising looks shallow and superfluous

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

In the other hand, we knew people needed help urgently. And while many donations in water and other supplies were given away, the help was insufficient, being the biggest problem the lack of temporary shelters to accommodate and help all the homeless families. And so, creativity got in action, at the service of human values and real needs.

Solution: Let’s Transform Billboards Into Shelters!

As easy as it sounds, 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.

Quickly the action spread through traditional and digital media and inspired other brands who did the same and multiplied the impact, creating hundreds of more shelters to accommodate even more families.

Results: In Life, Who Serves Others Always Benefits More than Those Who Are Being Served

What started as a Good Will and Social Responsibility movement, just done because it was needed, and because it had to be done, ended up leaving some great results, for people and for the brand:

  • 380 billboards turned into more than 200 shelters built
  • More than 4 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 good will of the action.
  • The action was 4 times Trending Topic. Plus, it gained national organic coverage in news and media.


Billboard Houses was awarded with 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 best Billboard campaign of the year. It also got a Public Relations shortlist and honorific mention at Cannes.