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1900: Standardized billboard structure is established in America

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.


According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), a standardized billboard structure was established in the US in 1900, giving big name brands including Palmolive, Kellogg’s and Coca-Cola assurance that the “same ad would fit billboards coast to coast”.

In 1931, Coca-Cola’s holiday billboard campaign featured “what became the contemporary interpretation of Santa Claus,” according to the OAAA. The billboard featured a Santa Claus rendered by Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom.

Since becoming standardized 116 years ago, billboards have managed to evolve and stay relevant even as today’s media landscape changes at a fast clip. The first digital billboards were installed in 2005 and, if Times Square is any indication, the medium isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It is perhaps one of the most tried-and-true methods of advertising, as marketers still continue to take advantage of the many billboards lining America’s roads and highways

See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book, launched 1 December.

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