Humans have been creating wall art since the time we lived in caves. What the wall art was used for, and at what point it crossed from artistic display to marketing for a business is an interesting question. During the time of the ancient Egyptians the government was using images carved into stones to post the laws and regulations of the land. This carving into stones may, in a way, have been the oldest form of outdoor advertising.
The modern-day billboard advertising approach can trace its roots to lithography, which was an invention of the late 1790s. The genius of this invention is that it made it possible to mass produce as many posters and announcements as a business needed. There was one major limitation to the outdoor billboards being produced at the time, and that was the quality of the posters; they did not stand up when exposed to the elements for prolonged periods of time.
The circuses were one of the first businesses to profit from this new form of mass marketing, and so outdoor advertising underwent a major innovation which brought us the modern billboard advertising that we know today. The earliest use of the billboard by the circuses dates back to 1835. Prior to the invention of lithography, billboard copy could only be produced on a very small scale which made it significantly less effective as a marketing tool than it is today.
An Industry is Formed
Fifty years ago Lyndon Johnson introduced the Highway Beautification Act aimed at ensuring there were not too many billboards on US highways detracting from the natural beauty of the Country. Ironically within the same Act it provided for the screening of junkyards from specified highways with of all things billboards. It did not apply to every highway but its aim was to limit billboards to commercial and industrial locations. There were compensation provisions for owners of existing boards but the penalty for States not taking control within their boundaries was the loss of revenue from the highway budget from Federal Government.
Billboards were being used as a very successful form of advertising even before the start of the 1900’s. They were in essence just large posters attached to a permanent fixture such as a building. The arrival of the motor car in the form of Henry Ford’s Model-T in the first quarter of 20th century gave rise to a steady increase in the use of billboard advertising.
Billboards were placed at the sides of roads to capture the attention of passing motorists. As the speed of the motor car increased with its development, billboards needed to be larger. The billboards needed to be larger so as to give the passing motorist enough time to take in the advertisement. The largest standard-size billboard that is now used on highways and major arterials is the Bulletin which is 14 feet x 48 feet in size.
On the assumption that you have already found out how to rent billboard space or how to rent a billboard sign, there are two other key factors that need to be considered. Firstly you want your billboard advertising to be seen by as many people as possible; the number of in-market impressions is vital to a successful advertising campaign. Secondly you need to consider the advertisement itself. It needs to attract attention and be clearly visible from a distance. It needs to have as little writing on it as possible, and a memorable slogan works best. The whole idea of a billboard is to get those passing by to notice and remember it. There are professional designers for the OOH industry, and it would be foolish not to use their experience just to save on costs.
Starting the mid-1860’s it became possible to buy billboard space from outdoor advertising companies. A few years later (1872) the International Billboards Poster Association of North America (IBPANA) was formed. The association is still active today but has shortened its name to Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). The association has had to adapt to all of the changes experienced within the industry and it now covers many other kinds of outdoor advertising signs and mediums beyond traditional outdoor billboards.
Growing in Importance
The 1900’s were a great period of time for billboard marketing, however the explosive growth that followed did not happen by chance or in a bubble. It was the popularity of automobiles that really contributed to the growth of the outdoor advertising industry. In fact, it was the mass affordability of Henry Fords Model-T which brought private transportation to the masses, and as a result created a new mobile audience to which the billboard industry could market.
Much like the automobile industry that has been changing and growing since the introduction of Ford’s Model-T, outdoor advertising has steadily evolved to meet the needs of a growing and continuously more sophisticated and regulated marketplace. Ongoing innovation in the outdoor advertising industry has seen growth in the size of billboards, changes in the materials being used, as well as upgrades in technology such as improved mechanical components and digital billboards.
Improvements in other industries have also played a key role in the growth and development of the outdoor advertising industry. For example, the lighting industry has come a long way since the time that the original mass produced billboards were introduced. This has made it possible for billboards to be visible at night, and in a much more attractive and effective way. Solar powered lights and outdoor LED screens have also made it possible to light a billboard in a more economic way.
Today’s Outdoor Billboard
The true test of a new product is how well it holds up after being introduced to the market for the first time. Several prominent forms of advertising have come into the advertising world and created whole new marketplaces without rendering the traditional outdoor billboard obsolete. It’s a true sign that traditional outdoor billboards are here to stay.
Despite the rise of radio, television and internet advertising, the outdoor advertising industry remains stronger than ever. The modern-day billboard, like the outdoor advertising industry as a whole, are a testament to how simple, sturdy, and flexible marketing solutions can endure despite rapid innovation in marketing campaign strategies and emerging technologies.
The very fact that there is such rapid innovation in the outdoor advertising industry proves that the industry is doing well. There are a growing number of outdoor advertising companies being formed every year. This strong, consistent growth is ramping up competition within the industry and fueling innovations that continue to drive outdoor advertising to new heights of relevancy and effectiveness for those who utilize it.
The History of the Billboard and the Formation of OAAA
Billboards became a feature in advertising as early as the mid 1860’s, and over the past hundred and fifty years have become a popular and effective form of outdoor advertising. The golden age of billboard advertising took place in the 1900’s, and those who first saw the potential of this method of advertising wanted to know how to rent billboard space and how to rent a billboard sign. The International Billboards Poster Association of North America (IBPANA,) now known as the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) was established in 1872 to regulate billboards and all forms of outdoor advertising, and it still does so today.
The OAAA has almost eight-hundred members made up mainly of advertising companies in the United States selling, owning, operating or providing some kind of service related to outdoor advertising in the USA. Its role is to represent its members and to promote the interests of the outdoor advertising industry.
As well as supporting its members and the industry, OAAA is the best place to get information on any of your outdoor advertising queries. Different states in the US have different legislation and policies with regard to outdoor advertising. The OAAA has the experience and industry experts to advise you on any queries or information you need with regard to outdoor advertising. For instance if you want to know how to rent billboard space or how to rent a billboard sign they will be able to inform you of the best ways to do this. They will also be able to put you in touch with a reputable company in your area. Alternatively, for more information on all forms of outdoor advertising you can simply go on to the highly informative OAAA website.
For more information on billboards and how to rent a billboard the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) has a very good website.
Billboard advertising is an essential part of BTL advertising industry. The history of billboards advertising goes a way back to the times of ancient Egypt. Where the government used stone carvings to teach the public about laws and rules and that stones were usually fixed in the squares and in the markets so more and more people could see. As the time passed, there were companies formed that advertised the product for the client through billboard and in 1860’s the facility to buy a spot for your billboard had made by possible by billboard advertising companies . Despite the invention of radio, Television and internet, the billboard advertising companies succeeded in maintaining their position as a strong marketing area. And now we see the billboards advertisement in form of posters, LED screens, Bulletins and wallscapes in the city and on highways.