The digital archive of outdoor advertising, part of the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University, contains over 27,000 images spanning the1920s through the 1990s.
These roadside messages use brevity, humor, catchiness, irony, shock—anything they can--to permeate our peripheral vision, often at speeds well over 60 mph, to embed themselves in our collective psychic landscapes. Here’s a small sample.
Keep an eye out for Columbus, Ohio billboards in particular. There are two ads for what I think is water conservation, and then there are billboards for both sides of the bullfighting-arena controversy. Who knew?
Can't stop smoking? Yes you can!
Nuclear War No Cure Only Prevention
Some Call Him Pig! Support Your Police Dept.
Voluntary Integration. Better Education by Choice. (1968)
Life Preservers. (1985)
Buckle-Up Arrive Alive! (1960s)
Leave Her Alone With Your Cologne (1965)
Let Him Skip His Bath Tonight (1964)
Call 1-800-COCAINE (1983)
A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.
The Key is Knowledge
Smash the Axis Pay your taxes (1942)
Vote No! Tax
"What's An Orgy?"
Future Site of Columbus Bullfighting Arena
Keep Bullfighting out of Columbus
Site of New Phoenix Bullfight Arena
Care for your Car-for your Country (1942)
This is Your Country Conserve Energy (1974)
The Paris Peace Accords resulted in the signing of the Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam on January 27, 1973.