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.