"Pedestrian billboards": Have they always been around?

For about 19 years, I’ve lived in an urban setting, at least by L.A. standards. It’s the sort of neighborhood where most things I need can be reached on foot easily, or in some cases by a quick and easy bus ride. At the same time a huge number of daily commuters drive through the area on their way to or from the 405. As a result, huge billboards abound on the tops of buildings, and these days they often flash different pictures and messages every few seconds.

I’ve long been intrigued by the fact that when walking someplace, I hardly notice the billboards at all, because my focus is more at street level, and I’m paying more attention to the block I’m on, rather than a billboard 5 blocks away. In addition, my focus is extremely local, like looking in the windows of the second hand bookstore when I pass by, and often going in. It’s almost as if the worlds of the people who just drive through, and the people who walk around the neighborhood, are completely separate even though they occupy the same space.

Lately I’ve been noticing what might call pedestrian level billboards. Usually they are movie posters, or advertisements for HBO programs, found on the sides of buildings. They’re lighted, and look like they are about three feet by four feet, oriented portrait-wise. Have these always been there, or am I just noticing it now because I’ve been spending more time around the neighborhood than I used to? If you drive by they are almost un-noticeable, but if you walk past, you can’t help but notice.

My opinion generally is rather positive, since they demonstrate that even in L.A. not everybody has to drive everywhere, all the time.

I have seen posters slapped on construction walls, buildings, bus shelters, etc., in cities for as long as I can remember, which is decades.

I’d say that putting up a poster on a wall as an advertisinmethod has been around for many, many years, long before car-oriented billboards or even cars came up.

But you’re in Germany, where you have a long history eye-level street advertising, for example in Wirbesaeulen (sp?).

What’s different about what I"m seeing now is that they’re not just posters that somebody slapped up there, but, apparently, permanent advertising spaces that are hired out to whoever. They’re glassed in and lit up at the bottom.

I suppose next time I’m out I can try to catch the name at the bottom and ask them about it.

New York has had this sort of stuff (frequently on the sides of bus stops or pay phones) for as long as I can remember, but NY is a much more pedestrian-oriented city than LA. There are also plenty of the more casual slapped-up posters.

Likewise San Francisco. Any vertical surface that doesn’t move is fair game. The plywood surrounding construction sites is a favorite thing to slap posters on. I’ve seen guys doing this a few times - one will have a bucket of paste and they’re swabbing the stuff on the wall with a string mop, and their partner’s right behind, unrolling posters and sticking them up.

The bus shelters here were designed to contain advertisements, and in some areas, there are free-standing panels with ads under glass.

There aren’t too many visible sides of buildings around here - even houses are built with zero space between them. If you can look down the side of a house and see light at the other end of the wall, the houses probably moved apart in an earthquake.

One local council in Britain, IIRC it was in Glasgow, found a great solution to huge numbers of posters (mostly for local concerts, nightclubs etc.) being put up all the time, on their property.*

They started pasting ‘cancelled’ signs over them :smiley:

*‘Their property’ means everything from the central library through to bus shelters

Hah, yes, that was Glasgow. Quite lively thinking for our councillors, really. :D. I am not sure what was the end result of that little contretemps but I imagine the bill posters can keep ahead of the council’s people.

In addition to bus stop shelters, bus stop benches have been a long time favorite for pedestrian advertising.

We’ve always had the bus shelter and bus bench advertising here too, but it’s the mini-billboards I’m not sure about. This has always been a pedestrian oriented neighborhood though.

Since opening the thread I’ve noticed that the lighted frames that contain the ads are maintained, and presumably rented out by, a company called Fuel, but wasn’t able to find an obvious website for them.

If my memories of nightclub bathrooms can be trusted, Fuel also does advertisements in nightclub bathroom stalls. Seems like they are addressing an urban niche.

When I saw the thread title I was thinking this was referring to what has been a recent development here in Fresno. People standing on streetcorners with signs advertising various businesses. Several of them dance the whole time, one is on rollerblades and plays his sign like an air guitar all the time. In many ways you look at them just to see what damn fool thing they are doing.

Yeah, the first thing that popped into my head was the GOLF SALE guys. :stuck_out_tongue: