Outdoor Advertising



The principle aim of billboard advertisements is to be eye-catching, easily read, and memorable. The design of some billboards can even extend beyond the physical dimensions of the original structure, with parts of the display hanging off the edges of the billboard, or even jutting out from the surface in three dimensions.

An excellent example of such a display can be found in the billboards of Chick-fil-A, which is the second-largest chicken sandwich fast-food outlet in the United States, behind Kentucky Fried Chicken. The theme incorporated three-dimensional caricatures of cows which were in the process of adorning the billboards with misspelled anti-beef graffiti, such as "frendz don't let frendz eat beef."


Alongside major roads and highways is one of the most effective ways of creating prominent billboards. This is based on the supposition that, in general, passing drivers have little to occupy their minds than to briefly gaze upon something that catches their attention. Impact is the key.

When traveling on unfamiliar roads or in new locations, a prominent billboard is usually a drivers’ most appropriate means of finding a temporary place to stop in order to have a meal, or fill-up with fuel. In 1991, it was estimated that there were in the order of 450,000 billboards on the highways throughout the United States. Furthermore, research has indicated that the number of new billboards being erected each year is in the region of 5,000 to 15,000. In Europe, a common feature of urban areas is the concept of street furniture, which refers to a collective term for objects and pieces of equipment installed on streets and roads for a multitude of purposes, such as traffic barriers, phone boxes, streetlights, traffic signs, etc. In this respect, therefore, billboards constitute a major component and source of income in such areas.

Burma-Shave was an American brand of brushless shaving cream, well-known for its advertising ploy of displaying amusing rhyming poems on small highway billboards, set out in sequence. This unusual use of billboards, focused on highways, was used between 1925 and 1963. Essentially, six small billboards would be positioned along the edge of highways, spaced sequentially to be read by passing motorists. The final sign in the series would normally be the name of the product. Towards the end of the 1950s, as vehicle speeds increased, it became increasingly difficult to catch the attention of passing drivers by using small signs. A number of the signs did not directly advertise the shaving cream but, as an alternative, featured public safety notices, such as those relating to speeding. The following example of the sequential signs is currently housed at the Smithsonian Institute:
Shaving brushes
You’ll soon see ‘em
On a shelf
In some museum

This form of multi-sign advertisements is little used these days. However, in one example, an advertisement for the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), a basketball player is depicted lining up a shot, on one billboard whilst, 90 yards away on the second billboard, is the basket. Another example consists of the multitude of billboards advertising the roadside attraction South of the Border, so named because it is on the border between South and North Carolina. There are hundreds of billboards along Interstate 95 advertising it for 175 miles. Irreverent billboards feature the mascot Pedro, counting down the number of miles to, and featuring, the attraction.

Advertising – How To Succeed

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Peter Radford writes Articles with Websites on a wide range of subjects. Advertising Articles cover Background, History, Types, Alternative Forms, Today’s Methods, Effects, Regulation, Trends.

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