Outdoor advertising is one of the oldest forms of communications.
Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians used a tall stone obelisk to
publicize laws and treaties. While formats have certainly changed
as advertising ideas have evolved, outdoor is still here and more
popular than ever.In the beginning, American roadside advertising was generally
local. Merchants painted signs or glued posters on walls, barns and
fences to notify the passersby that their establishments up the
road sold horse blankets, rheumatism pills, etc.The earliest recorded commercial leasing of billboards occurred in
the U.S. in 1867. By 1870 close to 300 small sign-painting and bill
posting companies existed.In 1900, a standardized billboard structure was created in America,
and ushered in a boom in national billboard campaigns. Confident
that the same ad would fit billboards from Connecticut to Kansas,
big advertisers like Palmolive, Kellogg, and Coca-Cola began
mass-producing billboards for the national market.
In 1975, the Institute of Outdoor Advertising developed a campaign
to measure billboards’ effectiveness. The concept featured Shirley
Cochran, the newly crowned Miss America, on billboards that were
displayed across the country. Her name recognition soared 940%
after the campaign.