This bizarre billboard advertisement taken out by a major bank has baffled the internet

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A bizarre billboard advertising a bank’s business products has baffled Australians trying to figure out exactly what the company is promoting.

NAB’s latest outdoor campaign bemused one onlooker, who took to Reddit to see if anyone else knew what was going on in the busy image.

“This ad in the bank is hurting my brain,” the post read.

“A herd of baby cribs? a guy with a laser gun? Where are the babies? Were they vaporised by the laser gun? Why are they in the desert? MAKE IT MAKE SENSE.”

There were plenty of theories, most of them tongue-in-cheek, with one user suggesting the cots were empty “because no one in Australia can afford to have kids anymore”.

Another offered: “Is it saying you can get a business loan to start a childcare centre? And then employ young blokes with mullets and water pistols to entertain said children, while you and your husband hide in the office and try to squeeze more money out of the parents?”

One wondered if the creative had been generated using artificial intelligence while another chimed in to say the man on the right looks like Justin Timberlake if ordered from discount website Wish.

“I assume it’s part of a TV advert that actually means something but on its own on a billboard it looks absolutely insane,” one suggested.

And that’s the correct answer.

It turns out the billboard is actually an extension of the bank’s latest television ad, part of its series titled ‘wrangle your money’, rather than a stand-alone piece of work.

In the corresponding TV spot, the woman in the middle is a small-business owner and the man on the left is her NAB banker, while the mulleted gent on the right is holding a product scanner rather than a laser gun.

The business sells baby equipment and she wants to expand because of a roaring trade – hence the cots appearing to ‘walk out the door’.

While that explained the meaning of the imagery, commenters were still confused by the approach taken by NAB.

“So this is a movie poster for an ad, just for people who still watch TV? I watched the ad and it’s still nonsensical,” one wrote.

Advertising executive Dee Madigan, founding partner of the agency Campaign Edge, agreed.

“Outdoor done well can be super effective,” Ms Madigan, a regular panellist on hit ABC show Gruen, told news.com.au.

“And layering a campaign is a good idea. But each layer it should work on its own, and effective outdoor should do more than just reference the TV ad.”

That’s especially true considering the rapidly declining viewership of free-to-air television, where the NAB ad has run.

Government research released last year found 66 per cent of Australians used streaming services in 2022, while the number who watch free-to-air TV slid by five per cent.

And consumer research by Ampere Analysis found the proportion of Aussies who watch little to no conventional TV has risen by a third since 2021.

More than half of the 54,000 people surveyed with access to the internet say they watch no TV at all.

NAB did not respond to a request for comment for this story.