Search

Back to top

Search Constraints

Start Over You searched for: Names General Outdoor Advertising Co Remove constraint Names: General Outdoor Advertising Co

Search Results

collection icon

Burr L. Robbins papers, 1936-1975 and undated 2.1 Linear Feet — 1650 Items

Burr Lamberton Robbins was president of the General Outdoor Advertising Company (GOA). The Burr L. Robbins Papers span the years 1936-1975, and chiefly consist of three scrapbooks containing photographs, clippings, periodicals, memorabilia, and promotional materials. The majority of clippings are from advertising industry publications and Chicago newspapers. The loose materials section also includes administrative records. The collection primarily documents Robbins' career in outdoor advertising with the General Outdoor Advertising Company (GOA), and his involvement with professional advertising organizations, particularly the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). Professional and outdoor advertising themes in the scrapbooks include Robbins' career advancement; his public speaking engagements on the role of advertising agencies in America; professional meetings and conferences; the history of GOA; outdoor advertising history; tension between citizens' groups and outdoor advertisers over billboard zoning; and legal decisions. The scrapbooks also touch on topics of personal interest to Robbins, including news about the Delevan Lake Improvement Association; Robbinswood Farm sheep; and family events. Photographs in the scrapbooks are primarily of professional meetings or conferences, or publicity events. Loose materials include items that were once part of the scrapbooks, and separate items. This section includes a notebook of 1942 photographs and papers about the 13th National Contest and Exhibit of Outdoor Advertising Art. Photographs of the three prizewinning posters, created by John DeLooy, Andrew Loomis, and Albert Staehle, are included in this notebook. Also in this section is a spiral-bound GOA publication, Image with Words, that documents a 1963 Chevrolet electric outdoor advertising campaign.

The Burr L. Robbins Papers span the years 1936-1975, and chiefly consist of three scrapbooks containing photographs, clippings, periodicals, memorabilia, and promotional materials. The majority of clippings are from advertising industry publications and Chicago newspapers. The loose materials section also includes administrative records. The collection primarily documents Robbins' career in outdoor advertising with the General Outdoor Advertising Company (GOA), and his involvement with professional advertising organizations, particularly the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). Professional and outdoor advertising themes in the scrapbooks include Robbins' career advancement; his public speaking engagements on the role of advertising agencies in America; professional meetings and conferences; the history of GOA; outdoor advertising history; tension between citizens' groups and outdoor advertisers over billboard zoning; and legal decisions. The scrapbooks also touch on topics of personal interest to Robbins, including news about the Delevan Lake Improvement Association; Robbinswood Farm sheep; and family events. Photographs in the scrapbooks are primarily of professional meetings or conferences; advertising executives; or publicity events. Loose materials include items that were once part of the scrapbooks, and separate items. This section includes a notebook of 1942 photographs and papers about the 13th National Contest and Exhibit of Outdoor Advertising Art. Photographs of the three prizewinning posters, created by John DeLooy, Andrew Loomis, and Albert Staehle, are included in this notebook. Also in this section is a spiral-bound GOA publication, "Image with Words," that documents a 1963 Chevrolet electric outdoor advertising campaign.

collection icon
Billboard and poster company formed in 1925 from the merger of The Fulton Group and Cusack Co. Outdoor Advertising Plans were scrapbooks that contained examples of billboards and outdoor posters, testimonial correspondence, trade advertisements and other materials. They were organized according to product type. Collection spans the years 1916-1927 and contains 18 scrapbooks. Companies represented include the Poster Advertising Service, General Outdoor, O. J. Gude, the Thomas Cusack Company, General Foods (Maxwell House) and Procter & Gamble (Crisco, Ivory soap). Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

Outdoor Advertising Plans were scrapbooks that contained examples of billboards and outdoor posters, testimonial correspondence, trade advertisements and other materials. They were organized according to product type. Collection spans the years 1916-1927 and contains 18 scrapbooks. Companies represented include the Poster Advertising Service, General Outdoor, O. J. Gude, the Thomas Cusack Company, General Foods (Maxwell House) and Procter & Gamble (Crisco, Ivory soap).

collection icon
James Howard Fraser was a librarian, archivist, scholar and author; Director of the Florham-Madison Library at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. The James Fraser papers include photographs and slides, articles, correspondence, brochures and pamphlets, magazines, clippings, reprints and other printed material primarily relating to outdoor advertising and graphic art. Subjects covered include activities in support of war efforts (World War I and World War II), anti-billboard and -advertising controversies, outdoor advertising industry promotion, and discussions of advertising as art. Institutions represented include the Advertising Council (and its precursor, War Advertising Council), General Outdoor, Foster & Kleiser, O.J. Gude, Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Poster Advertising Association and Thos. Cusack Co. Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

The James Fraser papers include photographs and slides, articles, correspondence, brochures and pamphlets, magazines, clippings, reprints and other printed material primarily relating to outdoor advertising and graphic art. Subjects covered include activities in support of war efforts (World War I and World War II), anti-billboard and -advertising controversies, outdoor advertising industry promotion, and discussions of advertising as art. Institutions represented include the Advertising Council (and its precursor, War Advertising Council), General Outdoor, Foster & Kleiser, O.J. Gude, Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Poster Advertising Association and Thos. Cusack Co. Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

collection icon

John D. Baggett papers, 1958-1968 and undated 1 Linear Foot — 100 Items

Advertising executive who worked for Lamar Dean Outdoor (NC). Collection spans 1958-1968 and includes advertising rate schedules, printed materials, presentations and salesman data books. Companies represented include Lamar Dean Outdoor in North Carolina and General Outdoor Advertising. Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

Collection spans 1958-1968 and includes advertising rate schedules, printed materials, presentations and salesman data books. Companies represented include Lamar Dean Outdoor in North Carolina and General Outdoor Advertising.

collection icon
online icon
The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) Archives document the operations and activities of the OAAA, the primary professional organization throughout the modern history of the outdoor advertising industry in the U.S. The collection also includes materials pertaining to the OAAA's predecessor organizations such as the Poster Advertising Association, Associated Bill Posters, the Painted Outdoor Advertising Association, and the International Bill Poster's Association of North America. There is some information on the outdoor industry abroad as well; Canada and the England/U.K. are more fully addressed than other countries. Materials include a wide variety of media and formats, and include correspondence, directories, published materials (such as technical and periodic reports, newsletters and bylaws), membership records, texts of speeches, articles and clippings, minutes of association meetings, and industry publications such as the long-running serial The Poster.

The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) Archives document the operations and activities of the OAAA, the primary professional organization throughout the modern history of the outdoor advertising industry in the U.S., 1885-1990s. The bulk of material falls between 1941 and 1980, that is between the entry of the United States into World War II and the end of the 1970s, a period that witnessed rapid and radical changes in the ways that Americans viewed and used the outdoors. The collection also includes materials pertaining to the OAAA's predecessor organizations such as the Poster Advertising Association, Associated Bill Posters, the Painted Outdoor Advertising Association, and the International Bill Poster's Association of North America. Some of the major outdoor advertising companies and organizations represented in this collection include: General Outdoor; Foster & Kleiser; United Advertising; Institute of Outdoor Advertising (IOA); National Outdoor Advertising Bureau (NOAB); and Outdoor Advertising, Inc. (OAI). There is some information on the outdoor industry abroad as well, especially Canada and the England/U.K. Taken as a whole, the collection reflects the activities and concerns (as well as the record-keeping practices) of the outdoor advertising industry.

Although physically organized into 23 series in alphabetical order, the collection may also be collocated intellectually into five main themes or topical areas: organization, affiliations, operational activities, technical activities, and audio-visual material. These broad categories reflect the scope of activities undertaken by the OAAA, the network of trade associations, professional organizations, governmental regulatory bodies, material manufacturers and engineering societies, and member associates. There is considerable overlap among the subjects covered by the various series, so searches of multiple series (and/or keyword electronic searches) should be undertaken to obtain a comprehensive view of the collection.

Included in the collection are multiple-format materials: paper files, printed materials, photographs, slides, blueprints, placards and metal signage. Other materials are a wide variety of media and formats, such as correspondence, directories, published materials (such as technical and periodic reports, newsletters and bylaws), membership records, texts of speeches, articles and clippings, minutes of association meetings, and industry publications such as the long-running serial The Poster. The numerous photographs scattered in files have been given index numbers and have been replaced in the files by photocopies so the originals may be better preserved and more accessible for browsing. The original images are located in the Photographs and Negatives Series, and are organized by index numbers. A searchable online database, Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions (ROAD), contains descriptions of these images.

Researchers interested in the organization of the OAAA might begin with the following series: Administration--Officers; Budget / Finance; Constitution & Bylaws; History; Meetings; Organization--Committees; and Organization--Departments and Divisions. These series document the overall organizational structure and operations of the OAAA, its board, committees and departments, as well as the record of its activities as reflected in meeting minutes, budgets, and its governing bylaws and policies. The OAAA was organized as a corporation, with a president and key officers elected from the Association membership. A Chairman's Advisory Committee assisted the Association leadership. Prominent officers represented in the collection include Frank Cawl, Karl Ghaster, and Walter Holan. Below that, the OAAA followed a dual "line and staff" organizational structure in which functions and activities determined the range of departmental divisions, and each division was overseen by an administrative committee which carried the same name as the division or department. Key divisions within the Association include the Public Policy, Research and Engineering, Business Development, and Plant Development divisions.

Material pertaining to the industry affiliations of the outdoor advertising industry is contained in the following series: History, International, Membership, Notre Dame, Outdoor Advertising Companies, Publications, State Associations, and Trade Organizations. This theme includes the regional and state outdoor advertising associations, along with the outdoor advertising companies that comprised the membership of the OAAA. Prominent among these are the General Outdoor Advertising Co., Foster & Kleiser Company, the R.C. Maxwell Company, John Donnelly and Sons, the Thomas Cusack Company, Columbus Outdoor, and United Advertising. In addition, the collection documents the activities of a number of professional organizations linked to outdoor advertising, such as the Association of National Advertisers, the Associated Advertising Clubs of America, the Advertising Federation of America, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation, the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau, Outdoor Advertising, Inc., the Institute of Outdoor Advertising, the International Congress of Outdoor Advertising, and Notre Dame University's School of Outdoor Advertising.

The operational activities of the outdoor industry are documented mainly in the following series: Campaign Case Studies, Issues and Activities, Local Markets, and Regulation. These activities included sales, industry promotion and education, the monitoring of legislation and public policy affecting outdoor advertising, and public service campaigns. Operational activities linked the OAAA and outdoor advertising to the larger world, through such programs as patriotic and public service campaigns, as well as advocacy and promotional efforts through trade and general-audience publications. In addition, these files document the OAAA's participation in the public debate over issues directly concerning outdoor advertising, such as zoning ordinances, advertising regulation, and visual aesthetics. There are files on research firms and researchers such as A.C. Nielsen, Bruskin Associates, General Media, John Paver and Wilbur Smith. These series show the interactions between the OAAA and both governmental and non-governmental agencies and interest groups, such as the American Automobile Association, the National Safety Council, the Advertising Council (and its precursor the War Advertising Council), and the General Federation of Women's Clubs, as well as some notable individual activists such as Elizabeth Lawton. The materials in these files show the relationships, sometimes oppositional but frequently collaborative, between these agencies and the OAAA, over topics that included legislation and litigation over the regulation of outdoor advertising (at state and local as well as at the federal level) displays (posters, signs, and billboards), patriotism (especially during World War II), the energy crisis, urban renewal, zoning ordinances, the Highway Beautification Act (pursuant to the Federal Highway Acts), and highway and traffic safety. Also included in the series in this topical area are case studies of a wide range of outdoor advertising campaigns, involving such client companies as the Kellogg Company, Ford Motor Company, the Morton Salt Company, Swift and Co., and the Clark Candy Company (now owned by New England Confectionery Company). In addition, the OAAA and its membership conducted advertising campaigns designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the outdoor medium, using famous figures such as Calvin Coolidge, Woodrow Wilson, Miss America Shirley Cothran, and even with a fictitious automobile, the "Testa" car.

Technologies and research-related activities involved in outdoor advertising are represented in the series: Audience / Readership; Physical Structure; Research; and Traffic Audit Bureau. These series address those activities that comprise the production and display of outdoor advertising, such as billboard structure standards; research on paint, paper and glue; illumination; sign legibility; layout and typography; and posting practices. These files include materials on advertising reception and recall, traffic counts and other market-related research. Research aimed at improving the efficiency of outdoor advertising includes studies of billboard and poster placement, standardized sizes of billboards and posters, legibility studies, the development of market research methodologies, and the audits of individual poster plants to ensure industry-wide standard practices. In addition, the OAAA engaged in ongoing research into the technical aspects of manufacturing and posting outdoor advertising displays, through studies of billboard structure construction and engineering, building and plant maintenance, landscaping, paint and color research, paper, glue, illumination techniques and standards, the formation and modification of building codes and code compliance, and workplace safety. These activities involved ongoing relationships between the OAAA and a number of research and engineering agencies and associations, such as the A.C. Nielsen Company (readership studies), the Simmons Market Research Bureau, Wilbur Smith and Associates, the Barney Link Fellowship (academic research), the Traffic Audit Bureau (a nationwide organization based in N.Y.), Raymond Loewy Associates (developer of the Loewy panels), the Tiffen Art Metal Co. (all-metal billboard structures), Bruskin Associates (foot-traffic research), Daniel Starch and Staff, and Axiom (market research).

The audio-visual files, which include the Publications Series; the Video, Film and Audio Recordings Series; and the Photographs and Negatives Series, contain materials such as photographs, slides, negatives, trade and Association publications, training films, and audio recordings of presentations. A searchable on-line database (Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions --ROAD) contains descriptions of the majority of these photographs, slides and negatives. Please contact Research Services for information on accessing the ROAD resource. Photographs, negatives, and slides are available for research usage. Films, videotapes and audio recordings are closed for preservation reasons.

Glossary of Key Terms Used in Outdoor Advertising

NOTE: Trade terms in the glossary text in boldface indicate that those terms also have an entry in this glossary.

3-Sheet Poster: A poster measuring 6' high by 3' wide, usually found along the outer walls of retail stores.

6-Sheet Poster: A poster measuring 4'4" x 9'10", usually found near retail stores. This was originally the size meant by the term Junior Poster

8-Sheet Poster: A poster format measuring 6' x 12' overall with a bleed area of 5' x 11'. The 8-sheet posters are prominent features around retail establishments, and are widely used for advertising around neighborhoods. They also gained popularity among farm equipment suppliers for economical and seasonal reminder advertising. They are also currently known as Junior Posters.

24-Sheet Poster: The most widely used poster size in North America, and what most people mean when they refer to "billboards." These posters have a copy area measuring 8'8" high by 19'6" wide.

30-Sheet Poster: The largest standard poster size, measuring 12'3" x 24'6" overall with a bleed area of 10'5" x 22'8".

Allotments: The number of poster panels that make up a showing.

Animation: Devices or techniques used to create the illusion of movement in a poster or bulletin display. Animation may be mechanical, like a moving armature or figure, or it may be achieved with lighting patterns. The famous Coca-Cola spectacular at Times Square, for example, uses programmed lights to create the illusion that the Coke bottle regularly fills and empties.

Approach: In a line of travel, the distance from which an advertising structure first becomes fully visible to the point where the copy is no longer readable (having passed out of sight). Sometimes descriptive terms are used, such as Flash Approach, Short Approach, Medium Approach, or Long Approach, which also indicate the relative duration that an advertising structure remains visible to a potential reader in traffic.

Flash Approach: For pedestrian traffic, it refers to an approach distance of under 40'; for vehicles an approach of under 75' (for vehicles moving under 30 miles per hour) to under 100' (for vehicles moving over 30 mph).

Short Approach: For pedestrian traffic, an approach distance between 40'-75'; for vehicles an approach distance from 75'-150' (under 30 miles per hour) to 100'-200' (over 30 mph).

Medium Approach: For pedestrian traffic, an approach distance between 75'-125'; for vehicles an approach distance from 150'-250' (under 30 miles per hour) to 200'-350' (over 30 mph).

Long Approach: For pedestrian traffic, an approach distance greater than 125'; for vehicles an approach from over 250' (under 30 miles per hour) to over 350' (over 30 mph).

Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC): An independent auditing organization that conducts advertising and readership research, primarily in newspapers and magazines. It was founded in 1914, and continues its research mission today. The pre-eminent print media research organization in the world, it served as the model for the Traffic Audit Bureau. In fact, TAB was conceived to provide the same kinds of service to the outdoor advertising industry that ABC provided for the print industry.

Audited Circulation: The Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB) investigates and determines the circulation for a given advertising location, based on procedures generally accepted by the business community. The Audit Bureau of Circulations is another independent reporting firm that provides similar research services.

Awareness: The degree to which one remembers having seen a particular ad in a test market.

Billboard: A generic term that refers to any large outdoor advertising sign. These may be any of the many multiple-sheet posters, painted bulletins, wall murals, stadium signs, and so on. However, in popular use, the term billboard refers to the standard 24-sheet poster, along with its physical structure, which became a ubiquitous part of the American roadside architecture. The outdoor industry dropped "billboard" as a technical term in the early 1930s, due to negative connotations, but the word has persisted in the popular vocabulary of the American public to this day.

Blanked ad: In a recall or awareness study, portions of a poster's copy, usually the advertiser's name, brand name, or marketing slogan, are covered and hidden from view. Respondents are asked if they can identify the ad despite the missing or covered copy elements.

Blanking: The white paper border surrounding poster copy.

Bleed Area: Bleed is when printed images run all the way to the edge of the page, as opposed to standard printing which leaves a white border around the image. Bleeds are usually printed larger than the finished image (called trim size). The part of the printed image's margin that is trimmed away to achieve a final size is called the bleed area. It differs from cropping, in which a part of the actual image is removed.

Bleed-Through: A situation where previous advertising copy can be seen though present copy. Also called "show-through."

Blister: Air pockets that sometimes form between the sheets of a poster and the posting surface.

Circulation: The traffic volume at a given location; it is synonymous with traffic. Circulation refers to the circulation of people in an urban landscape. Beginning in 1912, the outdoor advertising industry became increasingly concerned with the growing urban concentration of people, the patterns of circulation of people, and the challenge of locating advertising structures at points of maximum circulation.

Cooperative Account: An outdoor advertising campaign in which both the manufacturer and the distributor of a product share the costs of advertising.

Copy: The pictorial design, background, and message combined in a display on a poster or bulletin. Copy refers to all of the elements that go into a billboard design, not just the textual message.

Counting Station: A specific point along a traffic artery where vehicles are counted in order to determine traffic volume.

Coverage: The placement of an outdoor advertising message on a network of principal thoroughfares so that the advertiser's message reaches as many people, as often as possible, throughout a given display period.

Cut-Outs: Figures or mechanical devices that are attached to a poster structure to create a 3-dimensional effect.

Daily Effective Circulation (DEC): The size of the audience that has the opportunity to see a given advertising message in a 24-hour period. It is the least number of people counted in the Daily Gross Circulation (DGC) who have a reasonable opportunity to see an advertising display. The basic formula is: 50% of pedestrian DGC traffic; 50% of motor vehicle traffic; and 25% of mass transportation traffic.

Daily Gross Circulation (DGC): The total number of persons who pass by a given set of panels (a representative showing) in a given day.

Daily Impressions: Another term for Daily Effective Circulation; an estimate of the number of people who pass by a given outdoor ad.

Display Period: The duration of an advertising display, as stipulated in a posting contract.

District Showing: A showing where posters are displayed in only a portion of a market (hence the term "district"), rather than in the whole market.

Effective Circulation: The potential audience for a given advertising structure.

Electric Spectacular: A flashing or neon lighted display generally seen at points of high congestion or at tourist attractions. New York City's Times Square; the Boardwalk at Atlantic City, New Jersey; and the strip in Las Vegas are examples of sites famous for their large concentrations of dramatic spectaculars.

Extension: Another term for cutout; additional copy beyond the panel face of a bulletin or billboard.

Face: The surface area of an outdoor advertising structure.

Facing: The side of an advertising structure visible to traffic flow.

Flagging: A tear on a poster, which causes it to hang loose, like a flag.

Frequency: The number of times a person has a chance to see a given advertising message during a showing period.

Gross Rating Points (GRP): The total number of impressions delivered by a showing. GRP are figured by dividing the Daily Effective Circulation (DEC) by the market population.

Hoarding: An early word for billboard. Originally, a hoarding, from the Old French word for "fence," referred to the fencing placed around construction sites. Its association with advertising came from the fact that such fences were handy posting surfaces for bill posters. Eventually fences, along with large wall-like structures, were erected specifically for advertising purposes along roadways. Modern billboards represent the culmination of historical efforts to control the placement of outdoor advertising as well as to regulate the size and configuration of posting surfaces, in an effort to address concerns and complaints raised by hoardings and the specter of "billboard blight."

Identification: Identification occurs when a respondent identifies an advertiser in a blanked ad during an awareness/recognition study.

Illuminated Bulletin: Posters or bulletins equipped with electric lighting, generally used in areas with high traffic volume day and night.

Impression: A term used to indicate the number of people who have an opportunity to see an ad in a given period of time.

Intensity: The size of a poster showing, or the extent to which an advertiser's message is displayed in a market. Intensity is usually represented in terms of an index number, such as #100, #50, and so on. See the entry for showing for further explanation.

Junior Panel: The posting structure measuring 6'x8', designed to accommodate Junior Posters.

Junior Poster: Junior posters are smaller versions of standard 24-sheet poster billboards that maintained the billboard's 1:2.25 height-width proportions but included only 1/4 the overall dimensions and surface area. They were commonly referred to as 6-sheet posters, although the standard officially adopted by the OAAA was technically a 6-1/2 sheet size. By the 1970s the term "Junior Poster" was interchangable with the term 8-sheet poster. They were originally conceived to reinforce and supplement standard-sized poster campaigns, but developed a niche in urban areas, around retail establishments, and in sites where zoning laws limited the use of larger posting structures.

Length of Approach: The measured distance from which a painted bulletin or poster is clearly visible.

Line of Travel: The centerline of an approach road.

Lithography: A technique for reproducing images in the mass production of posters. In lithography, the design is transferred onto stone or metal plates which are inked and printed onto paper.

Load Factor: In a traffic study, the average number of occupants in a vehicle.

Location List: A list of the locations of all poster panels sold and delivered.

Mandatory Copy: Ad copy that is required by law to appear on advertising of certain products. It includes warnings, labeling requirements, and disclaimers.

Market: A market is generally considered in terms of a local consumer area, typically a town or municipality. Traffic research has shown that typically 20 percent of a town's roads carry 80 percent of its traffic, within each market. Therefore, roughly equal sections of major traffic arteries are divided into poster zones, which determine the intensity of a poster display campaign, called a poster showing.

Minimum Showing: The smallest number of poster panels that an advertiser can purchase without paying a per-panel rate premium.

Mobile Panel: An advertising panel mounted on a trailer that can be transported to a given site. It is usually used for merchandising purposes or event advertising.

Molding: The frame made of wood, metal or plastic, which surrounds the face of an advertising structure. Also called "trim."

M.O.V.I.: Metro Outdoor Visibility Index. A pre-testing technique that allows an advertiser to evaluate the effectiveness of an outdoor message design by simulating the environment in which the message will appear.

Net Advertising Circulation (NAC): The Daily Effective Circulation (DEC) of a showing, modified by the poster structures' Space Position Value (SPV). To arrive at the NAC of a showing, the average NAC of all illuminated panels in a poster plant is multiplied by the number of illuminated panels in a showing. The same procedure is followed for the un-illuminated panels in a showing, and the NAC is the sum of the two figures.

Off-Premise Sign: A sign that advertises a product or service away from the location where it is made or provided.

On-Premise Sign: A sign that advertises a product or service at the location where it is made, sold or provided.

Outdoor Advertising: Refers to all advertising encountered out-of-doors. The OAAA currently recognizes four broad categories of outdoor advertising: billboards, street furniture, and transit advertising as well as alternative media, which includes advertising sites such as stadiums, airborne advertising, and gas pumps.

Outdoor Travel: The number and percentage of people who go outdoors in a given day.

Out of Home: A catch-all phrase that refers to all forms of advertising that reach consumers primarily outside his or her home.

Painted Bulletin: Bulletins differ from posters in a number of ways. Bulletin structures tend to be larger than poster boards; the standard bulletin structure measures 14' x 48', or twice the width of a standard poster panel. Also, bulletins generally occupy the most desirable locations along major roadways. While poster panels or sheets are typically mechanically reproduced by lithograph or other means, painted bulletins are painted, frequently by hand, and each bulletin tends to be in some way unique. Painted bulletins share a common history with the arts of sign-painting, lettering and calligraphy. The term "painted bulletin" also refers to notices and advertisements painted on walls and roofs, as well as signs and notices painted on barns along rural roadways. Painted bulletins frequently feature special cutouts that alter the appearance of the structure. They tend to be more expensive than posters, due not only to the desirability of their locations but also to the labor required in their execution and maintenance. Painted bulletins are generally leased for showings that last a year.

Porta-Panel: Full-sized poster panels erected for indoor events.

Plant Capacity: The total number of #100 showings (see the explanation under Showing) that are available in a poster plant.

Plant Operator: A company or individual who operates or maintains outdoor advertising structures.

Poster Panel: A structure used to display either 24- or 30-sheet posters. It measures 12' high by 24' wide. Also called a billboard.

Poster Plant: A poster plant consists of all the bulletin structures in a single urban area controlled by a single advertising company. The establishment of poster plant standardized operations, construction, maintenance and quality control has been an integral part of the OAAA's activities since its inception. The ultimate goal is for all poster plants to deliver the same quality of service to advertisers, limiting the difference only to the quality of the location of a plant's advertising structures.

Posting Date: The date on which the posters of a showing are scheduled for display.

Pounce Pattern: A poster pattern is projected onto large sheets of paper and traced in outline form. The outline is then perforated with a needle, and the perforated designs are known as a pounce pattern. Dust is blown through the perforations, which creates a pattern on the posting face, ready for painting. Prior to computerized graphic design techniques, it was a common practice for transferring and enlarging copy art.

Premiere Panel: A standard display, measuring 12'3" x 24'6" overall. Typically, premiere panels are single sheet vinyl panels stretched over a 30-sheet poster panel structure.

Rain Lap: The practice of lapping poster panel sections, so that the upper sections overlap the lower sections, similar to shingles. Rain lap panels reduce flagging and rain seepage.

Rates: Beginning in 1901 Associated Bill Posters inaugurated the practice of publishing the rates of its member agencies in an effort to promote a standard of service across the outdoor advertising profession. The rates were listed in terms of the cost per sheet, a number which had to be multiplied by the number of sheets required for each poster, and by the number of postings in a showing. Thus, a listed rate of 12 cents (.12) meant that for example in Minneapolis, where a properly representative showing required 80 24-sheet or 150 8-sheet posters, the typical cost (in 1900) of a showing would be $144.00 for an 8-sheet display (150 x 8 x .12), or $230.40 for a 24-sheet display (80 x 24 x .12).

Reach: The approximate percentage of a target audience population that will be potentially exposed to an advertising message at least once during a showing period.

Readership-Remembrance: The number and percentage of people who remember having seen a given poster.

Riding a Showing: A physical field inspection of the panels used in a showing.

Roadside Signs: A collective term for all signage found along roadsides. Roadside signage falls into 2 basic categories: commercial (both on-premise and off-premise) and governmental (right-of-way signage, including traffic markers, warning signs, and historic markers).

Rotary Bulletin: A standard 14' x 48' bulletin structure that can be moved ("rotated") to different locations at fixed intervals.

Setback: The distance from the line of travel to the center of an advertising structure.

Showing: A "package" of poster displays. A showing generally lasts for 30 days, and is categorized numerically in terms of intensity, and generally noted as either #50 or #100 showings. A #50 showing includes one poster display for every poster zone (a section of a local market), a #100 showing includes 2 posters, and so on. The numerical index ensures that each poster campaign will receive an adequate distribution, and each advertiser will receive equal treatment by the posting firm. Traditionally, showings were referred to in terms of a full- (#100), half- (#50), or quarter- (#25) showing, but by the 1920s, the terms had changed to: intensive, representative, and minimum.

S.M.S.A.: Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area. An economically integrated area consisting of a central city and its contiguous counties.

Snipe: An adhesive strip used to change a portion of the copy of a bulletin. Also called "overlay."

Space Position Value (SPV): The index of visibility of a poster panel. SPV is based on four factors: length of approach, speed of travel, angle of the panel to approach, and the relationship of the panel to adjacent panels.

Spotted Map: A map showing the locations of the panels used in a given poster showing.

Stock Posters: Standardized poster designs that may be purchased by an advertiser and customized by adding the specific business's name.

Street Furniture: Advertising displays that also function as public amenities, such as bus shelters, benches, trash receptacles, newsstands, kiosks, and in-store signage.

Traffic: The volume of vehicles and pedestrians passing by a particular point during a specified time interval. See also Circulation.

Traffic Count: An audit of the number of vehicles passing a given point, called a counting station, in order to determine the daily effective circulation of a location.

Transit Advertising: Advertising messages intended to reach users of non-personal transportation. Transit advertising includes taxi-cab tops, bus sides and interior panels, subway cars, and airport and railway posters.

Transit Shelter: A curbside structure located at bus and trolley stops. Transit shelters provide standardized advertising spaces measuring 69x48" with a bleed area of 67x46".

Tri-Vision™: An advertising structure made of slatted faces that can revolve at regular intervals, displaying three different messages in rotation.

Unit: A single poster panel or painted bulletin.

Glossary of Key Acronyms Used in the Records of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America

OAAA: Outdoor Advertising Association of America

AAA: American Automobile Association (consumer interest and advocacy group)

AAAA: American Association of Advertising Agencies (industry organization)

ABC: Audit Bureau of Circulations (print media research company)

AMMO: Audiences Market by Market for Outdoor (IOA computer program for market research)

AMRB: Axiom Market Research Bureau, Inc. (research company)

ANA: Association of National Advertisers (industry organization)

ANSI: American National Standards Institute (engineering industry organization)

ARF: Advertising Research Foundation (research company)

ASA: American Standards Association (engineering industry organization)

BBDO: Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborne (advertising agency)

BOCA: Building Officials Conference of America (professional organization)

BPAA: British Poster Advertising Association (industry organization)

BPR: Bureau of Public Roads (U.S. government agency)

BTA: British Transport Advertising Ltd. (transit advertising company)

CIE: Coras Iompair Eirann Outdoor Advertising (Irish company)

COMB: Canadian Outdoor Measurement Bureau (research company)

DMB&B: D'Arcy Masius Benton and Bowles (advertising agency)

DOT: Department of Transportation (U.S. government agency)

F & K: Foster and Kleiser (outdoor advertising company)

FHWA: Federal Highway Act (U.S. legislation)

GFWC: General Federation of Women's Clubs (interest group)

GOA: General Outdoor Advertising Company

HBA: Highway Beautification Act (U.S. legislation)

HUD: Department of Housing and Urban Development (U.S. government agency)

IAA: International Advertising Association (industry organization)

ICBO: International Conference of Building Officials (professional organization)

IOA: Institute of Outdoor Advertising (marketing arm of OAAA)

IPA: Institute of Practitioners of Advertising (professional organization)

LTA: London Transport Advertising (British advertising company)

NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (U.S. government agency)

ND: Notre Dame University (South Bend, Ind.)

NESA: National Electric Sign Association (engineering industry organization)

NOAB: National Outdoor Advertising Bureau (industry organization cooperatively owned by ad agencies. Its primary function was to service outdoor advertising campaigns through on-the-spot evaluations and site inspections.)

OAI: Outdoor Advertising, Inc. (marketing arm of OAAA)

OARI: Outdoor Advertising Research Institute (research company)

OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (U.S. government agency)

PAA: Poster Advertising Association (industry organization)

PAAC: Poster Advertising Association of Canada (industry organization)

PACE: Poster Advertising Circulation Evaluation (research company)

POAA: Painted Outdoor Advertising Association (industry organization)

SICMEA: Societe Industrielle du Constructions Metalliques En Acier (French billboard construction and posting company)

SMRB: Simmons Market Research Bureau (research company)

TAB: Traffic Audit Bureau (research company; a non-profit organization dedicated to producing authenticated circulation values for outdoor advertising markets)

USO: United Service Organizations (U.S. public service agency)

collection icon

The Outdoor Advertising Association of America Poster Designs are comprised of black and white poster designs (for billboard or other transit advertising), some printed on cards and some photographed and mounted in volumes, that document the advertising design holdings of several outdoor advertising companies from 1934 through the 1940s and possibly later. The majority of the designs in the collection are stock posters in preliminary sketch form with simple lines, but the collection also includes finished designs with brief information on exhibition and award status. Stock designs were created without actual brand names so more than one advertiser could use them by simply inserting their own brand name or product into the ad. The designs include work created or acquired by the Donaldson Lithographing Co., Foster and Kleiser, General Outdoor Advertising Co., and the AD-VER-TIS-ER, Inc.

These designs provide a snapshot of American consumerism during the interwar years by demonstrating how advertising professionals in the 1930s and 1940s represented products in order to entice shoppers. As well, the designs document the production of commercial art during this time period, in both the artistic process of creating ad artwork for billboards or other transit advertising space, as well as in the relationship between ad agency and client. Proven designs were available to the ad agency as sales tools to prospective clients, and these stock images could be reused, so there was less need to customize advertising campaigns for individual clients. The designs are organized into two series: Printed Poster Designs and Stock Poster Photograph Volumes.

The Printed Poster Designs Series consists of a card file of designs including some more polished billboard images, all arranged into product or service categories. The Stock Poster Photograph Volumes Series consists of twelve volumes of designs, also organized by product or service type.

Closely related collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library include the Outdoor Advertising Slide Library; the John E. Brennan Outdoor Advertising Survey Reports; the John Paver Papers; the John Browning Papers; the Duplex Advertising Co. Records; the War Effort Mobilization Campaigns Collection; the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Records; the Garrett Orr Papers; the R.C. Maxwell Company Records; the Howard Scott Papers; and the Strobridge Lithographing Company Photographs.

collection icon
online icon

The Outdoor Advertising Association of America Slide Library spans the years 1891 through the 2000s, with the bulk of the collection originating in the 1950s and later. The collection documents over a hundred years of outdoor advertising primarily in the United States, plus some international campaigns from several other continents. The Slide Library is a large collection, almost entirely comprised of slides of billboards, exhibiting a grand range of graphic artistry, advertising campaigns, and marketing strategies. A smaller group of images supports the ad collection with views of artwork, billboard construction and other related images. In addition to over 62,000 slides, there are a few early glass slides, as well as transparencies, a small number of paper files, and six audiocassettes accompanying slide presentations. Many images were submitted by outdoor advertising companies over a number of years to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) as entries in annual national competitions to determine the best poster designs. The OAAA currently sponsors the OBIE Awards, which were preceded by awards programs under various names and sponsorships starting in the early 1930s. The award is modeled after the ancient Egyptian obelisk, considered by many the earliest form of outdoor advertising. Indeed much of the collection can be seen as evidence of this awards program although only the Award Nominees Series contains slides labeled as such. Other slides probably were transferred to OAAA when companies cleaned out their back files, though the precise sources of many items are unknown. The slides were maintained at OAAA primarily as a large supply of creative examples for member companies. Researchers interested in the following subjects may find the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Slide Library especially helpful: the outdoor advertising medium itself, advertising awards, advertising design, billboard construction, and commercial art, as well as the many outdoor advertising companies, advertisers, and advertising campaigns represented.

The images, designed to attract mass audiences, depict part of American society's history - a history of consumer attitudes and desires. The collection is therefore a valuable tool in formulating not only a pictorial development of the outdoor advertising industry but of societal norms and opinions. The ads speak to the creativity of artists and designers, but they also convey a rich story of how these creators saw society at large, especially in the United States. Perhaps more importantly, ads reveal how corporations and designers felt America wanted to see itself. Such visual richness underlies the primary goals of selling goods and services and promoting ideas for the public good. There are thousands of product advertisements but also many public service ads, political issue ads, and even Happy Birthday greetings in the collection. Billboards are one direct link from corporate America, various interest groups, and their advertising specialists to consumers; and a succinct one-sided conversation designed to spur them to action.

In contrast to other types of advertising, outdoor ads were designed with the fast-moving traveler in mind. The collection documents well the evolution of the billboard's attempt to reach those on the move, especially drivers. With careful thought to what would quickly provoke interest, advertisers presented a huge range of thought from text-free images of abstract artwork to direct discourse (e.g. Vote for Nixon). Because posters were displayed for only limited time periods, and because their physical size makes them impractical to store, photography is the primary method of capturing billboard images. Most billboard photos - whether print or slide - were created to document the work of the company which posted them for their business use.

Within the Slide Library, the creative output of many outdoor advertising companies is documented, although particular creators of many of the ads are unknown. Foster and Kleiser is well represented in the collection. Other companies named in the collection include Naegele, Pacific, Turner, Eller, Donnelly, Columbus, General Outdoor, Patrick, Gannett, Lamar, United, and many others. Thousands of national campaigns are represented, but many local ads are present as well. Outdoor formats range from 19th century posters to "multi-vision" boards that automatically change views with the use of three-sided boards. Most images are of actual billboards, posters, and other outdoor advertising formats in the field, while a sizable portion are just images of the ad design itself with a plain background. There are some slides of stock posters ("Your brand name here") and other forms of outdoor advertising such as bus cards, street furniture, and truck side advertising. The vast majority of the advertisements are in English.

The first three series make up the bulk of the collection: the Award Nominees Series, the Chronological Series, and the Topical Series (by far the largest of the three). These series are made up almost completely of slides showing advertisements, usually in billboard format. All series are described further within the container list. The only other series with a sizable number of advertisements is the International Posters Series. This is where the largest concentration of international ads is found, although there are a few scattered within the other main series. Ads may also be found scattered throughout the Presentations and Presentation Slides Series.

Several additional small series contain images of related content, providing support and context to the advertisements. These include the Construction and Creation Series, the Artwork Series, the Street Scenes and Approaches Series, and the Other Outdoor Advertising Related Images Series. The Presentations and Presentation Slides Series adds insight by showing some of the internal conversation between directors and trainees, advertisers and advertising creators, and more.

The most direct route to locate any identified ad is through the Resource for Outdoor Advertising Description (ROAD) database, available in early 2003. Information about most slides in the collection has been added to this database. Researchers will be able to search for specific attributes of ads such as brand or company name, product type, and headline, as well as other types of information including slide number, date, collection name, image type, image color, outdoor advertising type, and special notes. Many database records also contain a searchable field with the outdoor advertising company's name (posting company), a field indicating if the billboard is in a rural or urban setting, information on the presence of women, children, ethnic individuals, or famous people in the ad, and the billboard's geographic location. Various slide series were entered into the database differently. Multiple searches may be required for comprehensive searching. For more information, consult Research Services Staff (special-collections@duke.edu).

For more contextual information, use this collection in conjunction with the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Records, especially that collection's Physical Structure Series, and Photographs, Slides, and Negatives Series. Closely related collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library include the John Brennan Outdoor Advertising Survey Reports, the John Paver Papers, the John Browning Papers, the Duplex Advertising Co. Records, the H.E. Fisk Collection of War Effort Mobilization Campaigns, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Records, the Outdoor Advertising Poster Design Collection, the Garrett Orr Papers, the R.C. Maxwell Company Records, the Howard Scott Papers, and the Strobridge Lithographing Company Advertisements.