Have you ever wondered about the origins of lookwalker advertising?
During the 1920s and 1930s, the world faced a severe economic crisis known as the Great Depression, which caused widespread industrial output and employment failures. Companies were forced to lay off workers, and many businesses struggled to survive. In the midst of this challenging time, a family-owned custom-made clothing enterprise, owned by William Boarders, found itself facing tough times.
William Boarders, the owner, came up with a creative idea to promote his men’s clothing business and boost sales. He assigned his youngest son, Bill, to venture outside of the store with a sign board sandwiched on him. The first sign board was a simple design, hand-lettered by Bill’s mother and made by his father using leather suspenders from the store’s catalogue to hold it in place over Bill’s small shoulders.
While many other businesses failed during the Great Depression, Boarders’ clothing business thrived, and much of the credit was given to Bill’s continued efforts in outdoor advertising, even during the tough economic times. As people noticed the effectiveness of Bill’s sandwiched board in attracting customers, local merchants approached him with requests to advertise their businesses on his boards as well.
Seeing the potential, Bill seized the opportunity and started leasing space on his sign boards to other businesses. He even hired employees to carry similar boards and promote various brands. As a result, the name “Bill’s Boards” became widely recognized among local businesses. Within a year, the term “Billboard” evolved from the shortened version of “Bill’s boards,” and this is how we know it today.
As Bill’s outdoor advertising venture thrived, he accumulated wealth and began investing in buying and leasing land. He built his first stationary billboard on one of his properties, and from there, the concept of the billboard as a stationary advertising structure took off. Bill’s ingenuity and business acumen not only helped him achieve financial success but also left a lasting impact on the advertising industry.
Today, billboards have become a ubiquitous and powerful medium for advertising, reaching a wide audience and leaving a lasting impression on consumers. From its humble beginnings as a walking billboard during the Great Depression, the billboard has evolved into a vital and influential form of advertising, shaping the way brands communicate with their target audience. The story of Bill’s Boards and the evolution of the billboard is a testament to the power of creativity and innovation in the world of advertising and business.