TADDY BLOGhistory of outdoor

Outdoor advertising is more traditional than we tend to think. In fact, it’s been in use since ancient times, when the writing system was invented and spread to the masses.
Earliest examples of outdoor media were discovered in Egypt on a stone post which said: “I’m Reno, from Crete, by the will of the gods, interpret dreams”. There were also lots of findings of monuments and hieroglyphs, which were used to describe country law, so that passers by and travelers could be acknowledged before entering. Many commercial messages were also found during excavations of ancient cities and on cliffs of trading routes.

Evolution of trading and advertising led to development of different ways which consumers decision could be influenced with. Streets of ancient Rome were flooded with paintings that advertised gladiator fights, hunting shows, bars and bathing services.

Middle ages were rough on the outdoor advertising, leaving them with the format of signboards. Their main purpose was to point to the location that provided services, wall posters and paintings were used less frequently. Signposts had an easily readable design, metal body and portrayed tools or products used in one’s service.

The era of renaissance wasn’t very different from the middle age. Because huge amount of people still couldn’t read, signposts didn’t have letters written on them. However, this only pressured people to find ways how to make more impact through images.

Outdoor advertising changed when in 1450, Johannes Gutenberg, under the influence of asian primitive examples, invented movable type printing – Gutenberg Press. Advertising started to change into more modern, recognizable form and first handbills appeared. The lithographic process was perfected in 1796, which later gave rise to the illustrated posters.

The 19th century was the period of fundamental scientific breakthroughs. Huge amount of innovations brought up effectiveness and productivity in many industries and led to production overflow. Stocks stuffed with different products caused the need for more active advertising. The 19th century also led to some establishment in traditions of outdoor advertising, in addition their role changed from simple pointers to more eye-catching creatives. For example, most bakeries had big wooden gilded pretzels hanging above their stores, shoe shops had gilded boots above their door, clock shops had big metal or wooden pocket watches with the owners last name.

Meanwhile in the US, merchants were developing local roadside advertising. They painted signs or glued posters on walls and fences, so that passers by could see that establishments up the road sold horse blankets, rheumatism pills and other useful items.

The 20th century was a heyday for outdoor advertisement, main reason for it was the development of outdoor media in the United States of America. It all started when in 1900, a standardized billboard structure was established in US and initiated the boom of billboard campaigns. Many big companies began mass-producing billboards, because they were sure that their creatives will fit everywhere. By 1915, The National Outdoor Advertising Bureau had formed, to serve the needs of advertising agencies, and by the 1920s the first outdoor advertising company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, with the arrival of affordable automobiles, roadsides started to become a popular location for billboards.

Over in Europe, in 1962, French outdoor company JCDecaux introduced advertising in bus shelters. A popular outdoor media platform since its debut, bus shelters were built at no cost to municipalities and relied on ad revenue for their upkeep.

Over time, the industry has expanded to a large variety of different outdoor advertising formats. As a result, the name “out-of-home advertising” became more widely used, as companies offered new non-outdoor locations with an increasingly diverse selection of formats including: billboards, street furniture, tube and bus advertising, cinema, and digital place-based screens.