When Ads Became Art: 30+ Advertising Campaigns That Nailed It

By Ayomitide F January 9, 2024

This article was originally published on docjournals

Thinking outside the box is vital in the ever-evolving marketing world. Some ads, though, go beyond just a catchy tune or a cool tagline and manage to stick around in our heads rent-free. We can’t forget them even if we try to. You know what we’re referring to, right? 

Despite this, it’s surprising how many brands still play it safe. But then there are those daring ad agencies that refuse to settle for the ordinary and aim for the stars. They’re the ones who throw caution to the wind and deliver ads that are just, well, brilliant. These folks understand that a great ad is more than just a sales pitch – it’s a story, an experience, a little slice of pop culture that lingers in our minds long after it’s all said and done.


Ah, Starbucks, the king of subtle messaging. Have you noticed how they effortlessly weave social cues into their ads? They didn’t need a big fuss or a flashy campaign. Nope, just a simple image of a steaming coffee cup with some writings, and bam! Message delivered without much fanfare, something not all companies can do.

Brilliant Ads

They know exactly how to hit the right note without being too in-your-face about it. And let’s be honest, in today’s world, where everything seems like a battle, a gentle reminder to mask up goes a long way, especially when it’s served with your favorite latte! Nobody’s going to refuse such a combination.

Walter Blue

Cooked in Alberqueuque just for you. Minivans have never been in more demand since the breakout of the Big Bad. It is all fun and games now, but we wouldn’t trust the general population not to smoke this or do something equally stupid. Fans of Breaking Bad will know what we’re talking about.

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But yeah, this is genius. There is something about the blue-colored crystallized bath salts that makes it so zesty and refreshing. You might be asking, what is the connection? Well, as much as we’d like to spill everything, we can only say so much. Get cooking already!


Whoa, hold up! Remember that iconic line from Lord of the Rings? “One does not simply walk into Mordor”? Well, picture this: you, in your sleek Audi, rolling through that treacherous wasteland like it’s no big deal, orcs and all. That’s the vibe, fella.

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Imagine conquering the roads with style, effortlessly navigating the most challenging terrains in your trusty Audi. It’s like defying the odds, as if saying, “Hey, I’ve got this.” Whether it’s the rocky mountains or the bustling city, your Audi is the ultimate ride that laughs in the face of challenges.

Checks over Stripes

You know, when it comes to pushing the limits, there’s daring, and then there’s whatever Nike is up to. Seriously, it’s like they’re on a mission to redefine what’s humanly possible. Who else but a bunch of crazy geniuses would even think about attempting the stuff they do? 

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But hey, that’s the magic of Nike. The brand doesn’t care about playing it safe; they want to unleash that inner beast in you. And you can’t help but feel that surge of energy, that “dawg” inside you, ready to take on anything. That’s the power of the swoosh. Just do it! 

It has to be!

Alright, let’s talk about Heinz, the ketchup brand that’s probably a staple in everyone’s fridge. Well, they have this knack for serving up ads that stick in your brain like their sauce on a plate. Those clever ’57 Varieties’ ads made us look at the ketchup bottle in a whole new light!

Brilliant Ads

But that’s not all. Heinz took it up a notch with their ‘Wiener Stampede’ commercial, where many adorable dachshunds dressed as hot dogs sprinted towards a group of people dressed as condiments. That was adorable and refreshing. And here, they’ve taken the minimal path. Genius! 

The less you look

“It is closer than you think.” Now, that is one way to warn folks to be careful of the tricky zebra crossing. We’ll take it in good faith just because. You’d think it’s a harmless little pedestrian crossing, but that unspoken warning is floating around. 

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But hey, take it easy; it’s all about keeping your wits about you. Maybe throw in a little zigzag, a dash of eye contact with the drivers, and a sprinkle of “I’m crossing here buddy” confidence. It’s the urban tango people should be familiar with by now.


This is an insane concept; you’ve got to wonder who created this one. Tracks on the escalator? That’s some next-level innovation. They’ve taken the regular old escalator and given it a turbo boost. Can you imagine the fun we’d have racing up and down those things? 

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The Subway has officially turned into an urban playground. And hey, who knows, with this kind of creativity, we might end up seeing some Olympics-level competition right here in the city’s heart! Just imagine the thrill of the escalator race becoming the next big Olympic sport.

Sky drawer

Well, well, look what we have here: a 3D billboard of some bedroom drawers. And, of course, it has IKEA written all over it. This is the most IKEA thing to do. Let’s be real; nothing beats the good ol’ Swedish charm.

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But hey, we can’t deny the satisfaction of putting together one of their pieces, standing back, and thinking, “Hey, I built that,” even if it took you hours and a lot of head-scratching. It’s like a rite of passage into the world of adulthood. So, cheers to the IKEA experience.

Black Mirror

We are all used to social media ads because that’s where we stay most of the time, right? But it is also great to see TV shows step out of their comfort zone for some contemporary forms of advertising. The streets are badly in need of innovative advertisements.

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You may wonder why people love a show as dark as Black Mirror. It’s all about diving deep into the shadows and giving you those spine-tingling moments, making you ponder how all this crazy tech stuff is changing the world we live in. But also because of genius ads like these.

Razor Sharp

Or should we say WMF Grand Gourmet Knife sharp? This blade cuts through stuff smoother than a hot knife through butter. But hey, let’s keep the stakes low; no fingers at risk, folks—just pure, clean cuts on those hard carrots, juicy tomatoes, and succulent steaks.

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Let’s keep this knife in the hands of the culinary experts, shall we? No rope-cutting or package-opening shenanigans for this bad boy. It’s a precision instrument crafted solely for culinary wizardry, not a makeshift tool for opening Amazon deliveries or whatever other ideas you might get.

Clash of the Titans

Unleash the Kraken! It’s like the artist just summoned the Kraken right onto the canvas and the streets. The detail is so insane that you can almost feel the raw power oozing from those tentacles. Pulling out Medusa’s head might not be a bad idea. 

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But seriously, that art piece is something else. It’s got that ‘grab you by the senses’ vibe. It’s like you’re almost expecting the waves to come crashing out of the frame. Everyone run for your lives! Where is Perseus when you need him?!


Now, that is the nicest-looking yoga mini-mat we have seen around here. Even though we have no idea what it is supposed to be, it is simply really lovely to look at. We love how it’s not trying too hard with flashy designs or crazy colors. 

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It’s just simple, clean, and oh-so-inviting. This is like the yoga mat equivalent of that cozy little café on the corner where everyone knows your name and your favorite pastries. And can we talk about the size? It’s like the Goldilocks of yoga mats – not too big, not too small, just right.

Cafe latte

This one is just right on the money. It totally embodies the essence of coffee and our wide-eyed expectations of it. Let it be known that the perfect coffee ad exists. Simply beautiful or, as the Spanish say, muy bonita

Brilliant Ads

It’s one of those ads that speaks to your morning self, whispering, “Hey, I’ve got just what you need, buddy.” You can almost feel the warmth of the cup and that perfect kick to start your day. The ad makes you want to hug your mug a little tighter and makes you smile in satisfaction.

Something Different

The world of ads is all about innovation and coming through with new ways to swipe attention, but this is one of the best ways to do it. Fiat came up with a new game, and we are here for it. Do you know those ads that change the way you see everything? This is up there!

Brilliant Ads

You can’t help but admire their gutsy move. It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, let’s do things differently; let’s make some noise!” And we have to say, they’re definitely making an impact. It’s refreshing to see a brand stepping out of the usual ad playbook and bringing something completely fresh to the table.


How cool is this ad? We thought it was going to be another regular bus ad. But not this one; it says, “This ad has been blocked by Adblock.” They knew we were all fed up with those run-of-the-mill bus ads and decided to have a little fun. Subtle, effective, and impressive.

Brilliant Ads

You can’t help but chuckle when you see it. It’s like they were nudging us, saying, “Hey, we get it, we’re not like the others.” Talk about turning the tables on the whole advertising game. Cheers to the creative minds behind this. They definitely scored some points for thinking outside the box. 


Organic Ketchup? Now that has a nice ring to it– it’s like the James Bond of condiments, smooth and suave but powerful. With this one, you can slice clean through just like a tomato! Heinz sure knows how to run an ad.

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You know, it’s like Mother Nature herself decided to take a break from tending to her garden and whipped up this pure, tangy delight—no artificial additives or sneaky chemicals – just the goodness of ripe, organic tomatoes bursting with flavor.

Bowled out

A bowling alley as the backboard for a dental ad? Well, color us surprised. As you take a moment to contemplate this unexpected pairing, it dawns on you how perfectly it all fits. Bowling, emphasizing precision and finesse, mirrors the meticulous care of maintaining a healthy smile. 

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The vibrant energy of the alley serves as a reminder that a visit to the dentist doesn’t have to be a dull affair but rather a step towards keeping that winning smile intact. It’s one of those moments that make you appreciate the creativity that can emerge from the most unlikely places. 

Hot & Spicy

That Hot & Spicy Pringles really packs a punch. See for yourself; the Pringles were so hot and so spicy that the whole thing burned down. Now, you may not know how to react because this is both terrifying and appealing. 

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You grab a chip, thinking you’re in for a casual flavor adventure, and the next thing you know, your taste buds are doing the tango with flames. At least, you now know that when Pringles say hot & spicy, they mean it, no playing around – straight from the inferno!

The Ultimate

Have you ever seen an insecticide so powerful that it kills Spider-Man?! Not even Dr. Octopus cracked this code! Imagine the label on that can: “Guaranteed to take down even the toughest web-slinger. That is some next-level stuff right there! 

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But seriously, who knew a can of bug spray could become the ultimate superhero nemesis? If it gets Spidey, that means Ant-Man and Wasp are also in grave danger. Hide your superheroes and villains, people. This Ultimate Raid takes no prisoners.


Holly Molly, they nailed it. This is precisely how we consume a KitKat bar. We have no words for this ad except “Genius!” It’s like they cracked the code on the art of KitKat consumption. It is absolutely insane that this KitKat wisdom has been hidden from us all this time. 

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They’ve captured the essence of that satisfying snap with every bite. It’s the kind of ad that just makes you crave a KitKat immediately. We don’t know about your plans, but we’re heading straight to the nearest store to grab a box before the new work week.

Burger Wars

Don’t we just love to see these two go at it for the chance to sell us some burgers? Burger King is teaching everyone an excellent lesson on how to one-up the competition. In case you didn’t know, both joints have a lot of beef- literally and figuratively. 

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They started by suing each other over burger recipes and franchise locations in the 1980s before escalating into full-blown targeted advertising warfare. Yep, there will never be an end to this one, as far as we can tell. But who cares? We love it! We’re grabbing our popcorn, anticipating more of this.


Of course, they just had to put the Braggadocio on a billboard. It is pretty understandable and clearly efficient. When it comes to the Mustang, subtlety is definitely not their thing. An automobile powerhouse would never mince words – or billboards! You should know by now.

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They’re saying, “Hey, world, check me out! I’m the Mustang!” Wherever it goes, the Mustang has every reason to flaunt itself. They’re not just selling a car; they’re selling an experience, a whole lifestyle. And those billboards? They’re just the tip of the iceberg. 

Barbershop: The Next Cut

Now, this is what we call “representing.” Painting all over your Mini Cooper to advertise your business is not only genius, but it should become the norm. The streets could certainly use more color and variety. However, we don’t recommend such if you don’t have the right permits or licenses to operate. Wink.

Brilliant Ads

Ah, you know what’s genuinely slick? When you see these tiny, zippy Mini Coopers cruising around, decked out with the whole nine yards of advertising. Who needs billboards when you’ve got a moving canvas? It’s giving your business wheels and letting it roam the streets.


Picture this: cruising down the open road with your eco-friendly tires, and suddenly, you notice tiny sprouts peeking through the tracks. It’s like having your own little garden on wheels! Who needs a flower bed when you’ve got your tires gardening for you, right? 

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Just imagine the conversations it would spark at the next backyard BBQ. “Oh, you’re into gardening too? Well, I have my special brand – ‘tire-grown greens’! Yeah, my tires are literally greener than my lawn!” This ad is simply genius; we love to see it!

Cleanest Shave

Gillette does it again! How subtle can you be as a shaving razor brand? They have a knack for making shaving seem like this suave, effortless ritual. No flashy gimmicks, just a clean, crisp message. Simple, yet totally on point and outstanding.

Brilliant Ads

They say, “We’ve got you covered, mate; no need to overcomplicate it!” They’re not shouting from the rooftops about their product; they’re just showing us how darn good it is. You know when you’re so confident and competent about something that you don’t need to boast about it? Gillette has nailed it!

Leonardo Da Vinci

You know what’s crazy? This company, selling bricks and whatnot, has been around for ages. If there is any reason why this company has survived for so long, it is because of ads like these: The famous Monalisa made out of Lego bricks!

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Talk about an effortless and remarkable ad. Combining this timeless masterpiece with something as simple as toy bricks is almost unfair. Who would’ve thought? It’s one of those ads that stick in your mind, you know? It makes you wonder how they came up with this stuff.

On Lockdown

Burger King must have really taken a financial hit during the lockdown period, but they didn’t let up even though everyone was winding through pizzas, burgers, and whatnot. Just then, they invented the super whopper – the Social Distancing Burger!

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Fully packed with three decks of onion slices, nobody is going to get near you after you are done with this one. They sure do know how to invent a meal. It is up there with the Pink Burger, the Butter Chicken Poutine, Ketchup Nuggets, and more. Hats off to the King!


We absolutely love references. At first glance, it looks like an iPhone 13 Pro, but it’s just a triple Nescafe slam. It all makes sense when you read the tagline: “All it takes to be a pro.” With a slogan like that, this is the ad of the year.

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As a matter of fact, it’s almost like Tim Cook got the idea from a couple of mugs. So, gents and ladies, before you size up that latest iPhone, you must know that all it takes to be a Pro is one more mug of Nescafe. Nothing more and nothing less. See, it sticks!

Beware, beware

Don’t drink and drive. Eyes on the road. We get these PSA ads all the time despite not following them. But it is the more subtle ones that really stick with us. Look at this right here: nails in a bar of chocolate. Now, isn’t that something?!

Brilliant Ads

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make us go, “Wait a minute, let me double-check that.” Like, we might be munching on some chocolate absentmindedly, and then we see those nails, and suddenly we’re like, “Whoa, hold up, what’s going on here?” Big ups to Sensodyne!


This is what we ‘experts’ call “Guerilla marketing.” It makes sense that this big pair of Duracell batteries power the escalator. It’s all fun and games until someone stumbles over that imaginary power source, especially the kids! Nobody wants that.

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But hey, who says marketing batteries can’t have a playful side, right? It’s relatable and real, and what makes this guerrilla tactic so darn effective. It’s almost like giving the boring mall a playful twist. Making people stop in their tracks, raise an eyebrow, and maybe even crack a smile.

Wipers & Vipers

Imagine you’re cruising down the road, tunes blaring, the wind in your hair, and suddenly, a downpour hits. You fumble for the wipers, but they’re not doing the trick. That’s when you wish you had a trusty doggo chilling on your dashboard, tail wagging away as it effortlessly swipes away the raindrops. 

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Who wouldn’t want a furry little co-pilot to not only keep you company but also double as your own personal windshield wiper? It’s like having your own live-action, tail-wagging, rain-repelling superhero, always ready to save the day. A loyal sidekick always up for an adventure, rain or shine? Sign us up!

Don’t forget

By now, you’ve already clocked that chocolates are easy marketing targets for toothpaste companies. And that seems fair. This time, it is Colgate, and they are not letting up on the kids with this one. It’s like an ongoing battle for our taste buds.

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But until toothpaste makes brushing as exciting as unwrapping a candy bar, they must hold down the trenches for much longer. Who knows, they might even throw in some cool stickers or toys to sweeten the deal. Companies need to put their thinking caps on.

Are you ready?

Ah, imagine this scene. You’re chilling by the waterfront, minding your own business, and suddenly, this tugboat comes into view. Nothing unusual, right? But hold on a second! It’s not just any old tugboat. Nope, it’s hauling this colossal container, and what’s plastered on the side? 

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It’s a massive ad with this dude pulling the other way. Talk about turning heads! You almost expect the guy in the ad to start pulling the boat behind him, like some superhuman feat. It’s a funny tug-of-war is going on over there!

Extra Strong

Lipton really hit the tee with this one. The tea is so strong that you need a crane to lift it. This, folks, is how you make a statement. Lipton knows how to make a splash, even outside the tea world. 

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And that ad, man, it’s a whole mood. They need to do a video shoot for it, seeing a bunch of tough guys struggling to hoist this massive teacup up with a crane, all while the steam is billowing out like it’s a mini volcano. We are all for it!

When you need to know

Now, we absolutely love this one. This obviously pregnant woman is out there with her husband, anticipating a pregnancy test when she’s clearly six months along. Can’t they tell that the woman has more than a buffet belly? But hey, who can blame them for wanting that triple confirmation?

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 It’s like they’re on a mission to make sure that bun is well and truly in the oven before they go spreading the big news to family, friends, and the rest of the world. And, of course, there’s always that trusty sidekick, the one and only Predictor!

Pizza day

Oh, you know that feeling when you stumble upon the perfect pizza? It’s like finding a treasure chest in a sea of average slices. Papa John’s is the old faithful buddy who’s been dishing out those classic, reliable flavors. They have a winning formula in their hands.

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Then, there’s Domino’s, the new kid on the block trying to juggle a zillion toppings like a pizza wizard. But Papa John’s is like, “Nah, we’re good with our fresh dough, classic sauce, and top-notch cheese.” And, of course, they stuck to the good ol’ billboards.


Well, well, well, would you look at that? A leaf with abs! Who would’ve thought? Mother Nature must have hit the gym hard to get those babies popping. The ad is simple, really: Agroleaf Powder can make your plants as tough as nails, just like this old, wise leaf here.

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But seriously, who wouldn’t want their plants to be tough and resilient? Just imagine them out there in the wild, standing tall and proud, taking whatever Mother Nature throws at them with a nonchalant shrug. “Oh, a little rain? No problem. A gusty wind? Please!”

Eden’s Apple

Ah, we have stumbled upon the mysterious art of subtle advertising, haven’t we? This particular one seems to have mastered the delicate balance between subtlety and a bold shout-out to our dear friend, OCD. It’s almost making you notice without really noticing. 

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Clever! It’s like saying, “Hey there, don’t just wish for that crisp, flawless apple bite. Well, try visiting the dentist, buddy!” Whew. It makes you ponder how these ad wizards manage to blend art, psychology, and a pinch of cheekiness into one deliciously persuasive message.


They have upped the ante on this one. You wouldn’t think something as simple as a truck with milk could steal the show, but you’re proven wrong. Volkswagen is playing chess while the rest of us are stuck on checkers. Now, hold on, this is getting unfair. Ads are not supposed to be this good!

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You have to hand it to the creative geniuses behind these things. They sure know how to grab our attention, even when we least expect it. It’s like they’ve got a secret recipe for making us all go, “Wait, what just happened?” every time their ad pops up!

Land here

Yup, that totally explains it. The bread is so soft that it might as well be a landing mat for high jumps! That bread might just be like a cloud you can sink your teeth into. It’s so pillowy you almost expect it to start floating away. 

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You could probably use it as a cushion for an impromptu nap, and you’d wake up feeling like you’ve been resting on a marshmallow. It’s the kind of softness that makes you want to hug the baker and thank them for blessing the world with such comfort in loaf form.


Ah, Nike always has a way of making us scratch our heads and then nod in appreciation. Who else would pull off the whole bench-with-no-seat-in-the-middle-of-nowhere thing? It’s a classic Nike move if you ask us. And that tagline, “run” – it’s like they’re speaking directly to our inner slacker!

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Imagine you’re strolling through a serene park, minding your own business, and suddenly, you stumble upon this bench. No seat. Just the frame, staring at you like it’s saying, “Come on, what are you waiting for? Lace up and hit the road!”

Au revoir

Ah, the wonders of Nivea! If this magic potion can transform a weathered couch into a silky dream, then why not trust its cellulite-busting prowess for our delicate skin? It’s like giving our skin a spa day while sitting comfortably on your couch. 

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With Nivea by our side, smooth skin is no longer just a fantasy—it’s the real deal. Bring on that next-level glow! If you’ve got some rough patches or dry spots, that cream can be your best friend. And cellulites? Nivea’s got your back on that front, too. Or at least that’s what the ad says.

Der Klassiker

It looks like the top minds at Adidas were probably sitting around, brainstorming like, “Hey, let’s take sandals to a whole new level without all that sketching and stress.” And you won’t believe what they came up with – a stroke of genius that’s pure simplicity.

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Instead of getting tangled up in the intricate details of designing the perfect sandal, they just slid a line right under their iconic logo. Bam! Seriously, who needs all those design drafts and technical fuss when you can make a statement with just a single, sleek line? Now, that’s called thinking inside the shoebox!

Holy Fork!

Well, isn’t that something? A colossal fork cradling a tree like it’s the main course of the forest. You must admit, it’s the kind of sight that makes you rub your eyes and wonder if you’re in some sort of forest-themed dream.

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Who put this thing of ours together, really? Did some ambitious sculptor get carried away with their oversized cutlery collection and think, “Hey, you know what this grove needs? A fork that’s bigger than a grizzly bear!” Anyways, we love it!

Oral B

A sweeper truck with Oral B all over it? It’s really subtle, guys! It’s as if they wanted nothing but to ensure we all know about their toothbrush game. Who would’ve thought an Oral B-adorned sweeper truck would be rolling through the neighborhood?

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They suggest their cleaning power is not just for our teeth but for the streets, too! With their toothbrushes, we can sweep away plaque and clean away all the dirt and grime off our roads. Who would say no to that? Multitasking at its finest.