The Path to LED Billboards: History of Outdoor Advertising

25 Nov 2015

Advertising is the act of calling the public’s attention to one’s product or service. We use different mediums of advertising to encourage people to avail our products — one of which is outdoor advertising. Also called as out-of-home advertising; any advertising that’s done outdoors fall under this category. Bus shelters, LED billboard, billboards, and signages are all examples of outdoor advertising.


Advertising has come a long way. Nowadays, it’s so easy to place outdoor ads. Just pick up the phone and call your LED supplier in the Philippines, and your ad will start running in a few days. But how did we end up with the advertising of today?


History of Outdoor Advertising

The invention of printing press in 1440, gave way to the use of billboards, posters, and flyers as means of advertising. Through the years, outdoor advertising evolved as it adapted to the changing times. Here is the timeline of outdoor advertising:


1790s. Even if the printing press was created in 1440, the lithographic process was only perfected in 1796. This gave way to the rise of illustrated posters.


1800s. The Japanese used woodblock printing as a form of advertising.


1830s. The first billboard was printed in New York in 1835. It was the first ever large format American poster and it was used to promote a circus.


1860s. Billboards were first leased in 1867. This means that businesses started buying billboard space to put up their ads.


1880s. Trade cards were used as a form of advertising. These cards were handed out to potential customers and shops.


1880s. The invention of the linotype machine gave way to the advanced use of colors in printing.


1910s. The beginning of modern market research. Because of this, ads became more targeted, catering to specific audiences.


1960s. Fifteen established outdoor advertising businesses joined together to create the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines. OAAP’s aim is to promote the growth of Philippine outdoor advertising.


2000s. The first digital billboards were installed in 2005.


In the Philippines, outdoor advertising was also a hit. In fact, it was the main medium of advertising up until print and radio technologies were developed. Outdoor advertising’s history shows the evolution not only of advertising, but of our world as well. It has adapted with the changing times and served as an important means of advertising for companies over the years.


Outdoor Advertising

LED billboard is a new addition to the roster of outdoor advertising mediums. From carvings on the walls, posters, and billboards, outdoor ads evolved to digital billboards. A product of advancing technology, LED billboards offer advertisers a fresh new means of communicating with their target market.


However, it’s not the only example of outdoor advertising. Aside from LED billboards, here are other outdoor ads formats:


Cinema Advertising. Do you notice the videos that run before the movie you paid for starts to play? They are called cinema ads.

In Store Advertising. The advertisements that you see when you are in the supermarket, a convenience store, or a pharmacy. In store advertising can be floor graphics, digital displays, or shopping cart panels.

Mobile Billboards. These are vehicles attached with screen displays in the back. Advertisements play on the screen displays as the vehicle travels its route, showing your ad to thousands of motorists and commuters.

Transit Ads. Advertising using modes of transportations such as buses, jeepneys, and LRTs. The ads that you see on the side or back of buses are examples of transit ads.


Over the years, we found ways to incorporate technology with advertising. It resulted to new mediums of communication. One example of this is the LED billboard. Who knew that one day, the static billboard that we have been using for years will be innovated and will result to the use of LED screens?