Coca-Cola Billboard: an 80-Year Times Square Tradition

Coca-Cola must be doing something right with their marketing since they have many of us addicted to sugar water with a little caramel coloring and some carbonation. One of their outdoor outdoor marketing strokes of genius is that they have had a presence in Times Square in New York City for more than 80 years. They are close to holding a world record for a continuous run of a billboard.

As one of the first electric outdoor signs, their billboard was part of how Times Square developed its reputation as the home of 24-hour advertising.

Coca-Cola Times Square Billboard

Placed in service in 1920, by 1923 they had adopted to the brand new concept of neon, which was huge at the time.  Measuring 75 x 100 feet, it was the world’s second-largest electric sign and it flashed the message “Drink Coca-Cola, Delicious and Refreshing.”

In 1932, they moved the billboard advertisement up to 47th street and featured a soda jerk with a Coca-Cola uniform.  Throughout the 40’s and 50’s, the sign showed showed a 3 stage message.  

  1. First the was a bottle filed with Coke.  
  2. Then they added a straw.  
  3. Then the slowly emptied the bottle. 

In the 1960’s they went with a simpler message.  It was a circular sign in the iconic type and the phrase “The pause that refreshes.”  Although it slowly changed over time, the version put up in 1991 stayed the same until 2004 (13 years.)


However, 2004 was the 100th anniversary of Times Square, so they wanted to do something special.  They decided on what they called an advertising sculpture, which was a high tech 3D extravaganza more than six stories high showing a variety of digital graphics.  This time they were able to feature some of their product  line like Classic, Diet, C2, Sprite and others.

Work with Experienced Outdoor Marketers

To be effective, billboard advertising requires the right location, as well as the proper message, design and installation. Arranging all of that is complicated and takes experience. That’s why smart companies turn to Nashville Billboard Connection. We have years of experience in placing outdoor advertisements so they get seen by your target audience.

Our team knows how to take you step by step through the process of pinpointing your outdoor message, arranging for eye-catching design and getting it installed. Working with the experts on our staff saves you time and money.

Chipotle’s Fresh Billboard Designs

Have you ever glanced at Nashville billboards or boards in any other place, only to realize you need a second look to get the joke. Well, the Chipotle restaurant chain created such a billboard.

sample billboard creative design from chipotle

On first glance, you see bold text declaring “Our Ingredients are better.” However, you will also notice all the gray text around that phrase. Once you take a longer look, you realize there is a second billboard message: “We wanted to write about our locally sourced natural ingredients, but short billboard headlines are better.”

It is a sneaky way for them to talk about one of the reasons their chain is different from the others. So visit; you get humor and good natural ingredients.

Humor Works, Especially in Nashville Billboard Advertising

If you know Ray Stevens (The Streak and Shriner’s Convention), you know Nashville and Tennessee appreciate a good joke. However, Adweek tells us that a joke by itself doesn’t work; it needs to be paired with helpful content to be “funny, relevant, and informative.” The Chipotle billboard advertisement works because it layers a bold, quickly grasped customer benefit on top of a joke. You would get that message on Nashville billboards even if you don’t read the rest of it. The background text makes it more memorable because that is where the humor is.

Creating All-Text Nashville Billboards

The best billboard designs are memorable and concise. So few people use an all text billboard advertisement that seeing one stands out; however, done wrong, they can also be boring.

The Chipotle billboard still followed the cardinal rule of billboard advertising. The bold text was short, clear, and not subject to confusion.

On the second look, the viewer could read the background type with its funny message and have a reason to remember the main message.

According to the design gurus at Hongkiat, you can’t get your viewer’s attention with a block of text “unless it starts with a good written ‘hook'” to make people want to see what it’s all about.

Trust the Experts in Nashville Billboard Advertising

Just like Chipotle, Billboard Connection has the best ingredients for your advertising success.

Just like Chipotle, we source locally. Eric Hutton has worked and lived across the state of Tennessee. There are not Nashville Advertising Agencies who have seen as much of the state as he has. He also has access to other Billboard Connection Agencies that understand their markets as well. Billboard Connection will know where your billboard needs to go to have impact.

Just like Chipotle, we use great ingredients. Eric Hutton have over 10 years of working with graphic artists on different projects to get great designs and he works with some award winning artists. Billboard Connection knows how to make a billboard design that will get maximum impact.

Let our Nashville advertising agency create your next campaign for Nashville billboards or any other location. Call Billboard Connection at 615-601-2226 for a free quote. We are experts in outdoor marketing and we are here to serve you.

I-24 Billboard Available Inbound to Nashville from Clarksville

April 21, 2016

Right read, mile marker 31 on I-24, between Nashville and Clarksville

Nashville billboard in Pleasant View on I-24 between Nashville and Clarskville

This illuminated billboard in Nashville is a right read for east bound traffic on I-24 heading into Nashville from Clarksville just before Exit 31, $750/month, 30,760 views per day. It reaches Cheatham County residents and commuters heading into Nashville from Clarksville and Robertson County.  Call 615-601-2226. 

I-70 inbound to Indianapolis Billboard Available

April 21, 2016

Right read Indianapolis billboard, I-70 Inbound for west bound traffic to Indianapolis, Indiana

Westbound billboard into Indianapolis on I-70

Right read billboard, west bound traffic on I-70 heading into Indianapolis, $1080/month, 81,663 views per days between exits 96 and 91.    Call 615-601-2226. 

Clarksville Billboards Available

November 10, 2015

Right read, mile marker 17 on I-24, Clarksville

Billboads Clarksville I-24 mile marker 17

Right read, West Bound Traffic on I-24 heading into Clarksville, $875/month, 30,495 views per days, it reaches commuters heading home and visitors to Fort Campbell, Clarksville is about 10 minutes away.  call 615-601-2226. 


Right read, Highways 79 and 41A in Clarksville

Billboard in Clarksville, Ft. Campbell Boulevard

Right read, east bound traffic heading into Clarksville on highway 41A and 79, $690/month, 36,711 views per days, it reaches commuters heading home from Fort Campbell and traffic coming to Clarksville from Dover and Paris, TN.  Downtown Clarksville is about 10 minutes away.  Call 615-601-2226. 

Digital Billboard in Batesville, Mississipp

Right read, US 278, just before I-55, West Bound Traffic

Right hand read digitial billboard in Batesville Mississippi

West bound traffic (toward the interstate) on US 278 in Batesville, Mississippi, $750/month (silver plan), 40,020 views per days, Near Walmart and Lowes, Call 615-601-2226


Right read, US 278, just before I-55, East Bound Traffic

Left read digital billboard Batesville Mississippi

East bound traffic (Away from the interstate) on US 278 in Batesville, Mississippi, $750/month (silver plan), 40,020 views per day, Near Walmart and Lowes, Call 615-601-2226

Great Murfreesboro Billboard Available Now!

Right read, I-24, .9 miles west of highway 231, Top Board

Right Read, I-24 in Murfreesboro, TN

West bound traffic (towards Nashville) on I-24 in Murfreesboro, $312/week, 375,000 views per week, Call 615-601-2226


Buying Groceries from a Transit Shelter Advertisement

outdoor advertising that doubles as a shopping guide
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could order your groceries online while you were commuting or at least check to see what you need to buy? That way, you could take care of two annoying tasks at the same time.

The folks at Peapod came up with a mobile phone app to do just that—order your groceries online while commuting or even resting at home. (Unfortunately Peapod is not available in Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, or Chattanooga.) They also came up with an ingenious outdoor advertisement for their app on transit shelters to get people to download and use it.

Figuring that the average commuter has little to do while waiting on a bus or train, they placed transit advertisements in Chicago and Philadelphia. These transit shelter advertisements include a QR code so that folks can download the app as well as pictures of popular products to jog people’s memory of what they might need.

When shoppers see something they want to buy, they can actually place their orders on the spot. (No need to go home and enter it online.) The billboards make it easy to get some shopping done and even schedule when it will be delivered.

Success with Transit Advertisements

The campaign was so successful that over 90% of the people who downloaded the app from the QR code made at least one more order. It makes sense to me; you have both a well-timed reminder and an easy way to get it done all at the same time.

Other companies have had success as well. The retail giant Tesco has had excellent results with similar transit shelter billboards in South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.

Advantages of Interactive Transit Advertising

Clearly this example of transit advertising is new and different. The transit advertisement itself doubles as a service provider. With relevant content, people are less likely to see it as invasive or annoying. With the connection to our phones, customers are much more like to talk about it with their friends.

Advertisers increase the rate that information gets shared when they use interactive marketing techniques.

Mobile Billboards While Delivering Products

example of truck advertising using Tromp d'oeil Most Nashville advertising agencies ignore truck advertising, which typically comes in two flavors:

  • A mobile box truck or flatbed truck dedicated to pulling an advertisement.
  • An 18 wheeler or even a box delivery truck dedicated to making deliveries.

Mobile billboards are an effective form of outdoor advertising because we don’t notice them every day and the trucks bring the message directly to customers where billboards may be very limited due to zoning issues. For instance there are very few billboards in Green Hills in Nashville, Turkey Creek in Knoxville, or the Cool Springs and Franklin areas. Yet, what better time to remind someone of your product or message than when they are in one of these areas shopping. Businesses in all of these areas require deliveries and they have roads and parking lots.

Can truck advertising be memorable?

One of the ways I learned to read was a game I played with my grandfather on long trips on I-40 between Knoxville and Jackson, Tennessee. The winner would be the first person to each Stuckey’s billboard or Roadway truck. Those were simple but effective examples of outdoor advertising.

Imagine, however, if you took the time to create an eye catching design using Trompe d’oeil, or the art of deceiving the eye. These are images that make the eye think they are seeing something in 3 dimensions when they are actually looking at a flat surface. As we discussed last month, the technique has been around for centuries.example of truckside outdoor advertising

Do something really creative and have somebody like me feature your Nashville mobile billboard in their blog post or news article for even more publicity. In today’s world, you never know who will share something on social media.

Many delivery trucks and even many long haul 18 wheeler trucks travel the same routes daily and so they provide both the repeating message as well as uniquely memorable messages. Their audience includes pedestrians, other motorists, and people inside buildings as well.

Could you reach 10,000 people per hour with mobile billboards?

With the right planning for the route and time, a single truck could reach 10,000 people in an hour. For instance, consider a truck traveling near Neyland Stadium, Bristol Motor Speedy, the Pyramid, or Bridgestone Arena when an event ends. Or consider a truck on Kingston Pike, West End, or in downtown Memphis during the evening rush hour.

Billboard Swallows Car!

Sometimes the best ideas are when old meets new. The French have a term for tricking and fooling they eye: trompe l’oeil. There are some great examples at the website: The idea has been around for centuries, going back to Roman times. Visitors to Nashville’s Tulip Grove Mansion, completed in 1836, can see a “marbleized” entry, which is a version of trompe l’oeil.

Drivers in Austria can see tunnel made to look like the road is driving right into a woman’s mouth.

Picture of Tunnel in Austria with the Tunnel opening looking like a mouth

The image even goes so far as to make the very top look like a banner for the advertiser, which is Oldtimer, a chain of roadway cafes and hotels that promotes an all-you-can-eat menu. Incidentally, that type of menu has been known in Sweden as a smorgasbord,since at least the 1912, Olympic Games.

Customer Loyalty through Advertising

Most of us over the age of 5 are at least aware that advertising contains efforts that will potentially fool us into thinking the product or service is better than it might actually be. However, Most of us also appreciate brands with a sense of humor and a willingness to play games and end up rewarding those companies with a little extra business.

Creative advertising like this Austrian example can certainly be one tool to create a truly beneficial long term relationship with a customer.