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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.