1910-1919

1910
The Promotion Bureau of the Associated Bill Posters and Distributors of the United States and Canada issued the first "Official Membership List." The Promotion Bureau was charged with promoting the wider use of billposting by the commercial sector, and with promoting the mutual interests shared by advertisers and bill posters. The membership list was arranged alphabetically by state, and showed every city and town where the Association's standard of quality and service was guaranteed. The first edition listed over 3,000 towns. The membership book also listed the rates that each member agency charged per sheet for a normal four-week showing, and the cost per thousand for broadside distribution. Finally, the book showed the rating grade assigned to each billposter (A = exceeds Association standards, B = meets standards, C = fails to meet standards). Generally, the higher rating meant that the billposter could charge higher rates for postings, which encouraged all bill posters to improve their quality of service.

The Associated Bill Posters and Distributors of the United States and Canada organization adopted a number of other standardized practices in addition to the plantrating system. It established a licensing arrangement for official salesmen, giving the Association better control over the actions of salesmen. The Association also set national standards for outdoor advertising and established the numbers of panels sold in each market. For the first time, advertisers could evaluate and measure the effectiveness of outdoor advertising. The Association began to prescribe the number of locations necessary to give advertisers adequate, representative coverage in cities and towns in which their ads were displayed.

George Kleiser began his campaign for national standardization of outdoor structures at the Painted Display Sign Advertisers Association.

In August, the first issue of The Poster, the new official journal of the Associated Bill Posters and Distributors, appeared. It continued until 1930, when it was replaced by Advertising Outdoors.

State and national associations adopted policies of equal treatment for all advertisers, and set minimum limits to the number of locations considered to be an adequate and equitable "showing."

The Class A poster structure standard was established. It featured steel-faced sections.

The Association of National Advertisers was formed.
1911
Foster & Kleiser displayed the first individualized Class AA 10' x 25,' 24-sheet poster structure in America.

The Advertising Federation of America (AFA) organized a national vigilance committee to raise the ethical standards in the advertising industry. As a result, the "Truth in Advertising" movement began in Boston. This organized movement contributed to the eventual formation of the Better Business Bureau. The Advertising Association of the West (AAW) joined the movement the following year, in 1912.

The Painted Display Sign Advertisers Association changed its name to the Painted Display Advertising Association.

1912
The Associated Bill Posters and Distributors of the United States and Canada became the Poster Advertising Association, Inc. (PAA), reflecting concerns that the term "billposter" had taken on a negative connotation. By this time, the poster had largely replaced the advertising bill as the standard medium of outdoor advertising, and the name change also reflected a growing sentiment that the time of the advertisingbill had passed, and the era of the poster had arrived. Its official publication was called simply Association News and continued until 1926.

The period 1912-1915 was one of rapid improvements to the quality of poster structures, and these structures were modernized and improved. This period of investment saw a nearly immediate return, as national posting revenues increased over 500% in this period. The Association began its policy of rating poster plants and posting services, and compiled national lists of plants and services.

The Poster Advertising Association began to measure circulation values offered in different cities, and created a national listing of space availability. An agency commission was standardized at 16 2/3 percent.

In May, the Canadian Bill Posters and Distributor's Association changedits name to the Poster Advertising Association of Canada.

The 24-sheet poster standard was adopted; the size was regulated at 8'8� high by 19'6� wide; 8-, 12-, and 16- sheet posters were also recognized as acceptable sizes; and a new standard "sheet" measured 28 x 41 inches. Sheet sizes had been standardized by lithographers and printers, and were adopted by the bill posting firms. Show bills and posters were typically 4 sheets high, and the variable widths were based on the number of sheets used. An 8-sheet poster was 4 sheets high by 2 sheets wide; a 16-sheet poster was 4 by 4; and so on.

Standardized Class AA poster panel and Class AA posting service grades were adopted.
1913
The Poster Advertising Association established an Education Committee to encourage public service advertising donations and to secure public acceptance and approval of the outdoor medium. The Committee selected two posters ("The Birth of Christ" and "The Life of General Grant") for their first public service campaign; they were displayed beginning in Dec. 1913 to widespread public acclaim and approval. The Association also switched from annual to semi-annual classification inspections for its member plants in order to encourage plant operators to improve their service. The biggest incentive was that operators who improved their services did not have to wait a year to receive a rating change.

With the help of a noted art connoisseur, William V. O'Brian, the Poster Advertising Association began to approach poster advertising from the standpoint of artistic merit. This aesthetic approach would have long-lasting consequences for the outdoor advertising industry, as some of the most prominent artists of the modern era would be solicited and engaged in the production of images for the poster advertising industry. The explosion of creativity that ensued made American billboard art famous throughout the world.

The National Advertising Commission was formed. It lasted until 1930.
1914
E.L. Ruddy of Toronto, Canada was elected president of the Poster Advertising Association.

The International Advertising Association changed its name to the Associated Advertising Clubs of America, and then to the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World, to reflect the worldwide scope and span of organized outdoor advertising. It eventually formed part of the Advertising Federation of America (AFA).

Frank Birch began the first organized 3-sheet poster sales organization, in Boston.

The first exhibition of outdoor advertising art took place during the convention of the Associated Advertising Clubs of America, meeting in Toronto.

The other watershed event that occurred at the Toronto convention was the adoption of the Code of Ethics and Standard of Practice for each medium in outdoor advertising, the first industry-wide systematic attempt at self-regulation.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) was formed. The ABC audited the circulation of newspapers and magazines, and served as the model for the outdoor industry's Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB), established in 1933.

The Painted Display Advertising Association changed its name to the Painted Outdoor Advertising Association (POAA). The POAA would continue in existence until it merged with the Poster Advertising Association in 1925.
1915
By this time, industry-wide billboard structural design, display and blanking standards had been adopted.

Class AA paneled poster structures came into use, which featured a distinctive green molding.

The Poster Advertising Association membership, under fire from religious and civic leaders opposed to public displays that encouraged alcoholic beverage consumption, voted to no longer accept advertising for �spirituous liquors.� The decision was a milestone in the outdoor advertising industry's self-regulation efforts, and stood as an ethical practice until 1933.

The National Outdoor Advertising Bureau, Incorporated (NOAB) was incorporated under New York law. NOAB was charged with the actual placing of outdoor advertising, a service it provided only to its members. From 1918-1925 NOAB used the Thomas Cusack Company as a clearinghouse for placing ads with individual firms; from 1925-1930 it used General Outdoor, and after 1930 NOAB reverted to its original practice of placing advertising directly with individual plant operators.

NOAB was cooperatively owned by 200 of the largest outdoor advertising firms. It provided a wide range of standardized administrative services to member agencies, such as cost analysis, billing, production scheduling, accounting, etc. NOAB was initially incorporated to regularly inspect showings; its members, owners, and operators were the ad agencies. It conducted the outdoor advertising portion of business that advertising agencies had with their various clients. It contracted for out-of-home media, verified delivery and performed other service functions. The Bureau eventually controlled about three-quarters of the outdoor national advertising in America.
1916
The outdoor advertising industry volunteered to promote military service in support of the impending war effort.

The Poster Advertising Company (PAC) was formed to solicit national outdoor advertising contracts. It functioned until its demise in 1925, as part of negotiations that led to the creation of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. Functionally, the PAC was the forerunner of Outdoor Advertising Incorporated (OAI).

In 1916, a representative national showing, or outdoor poster campaign, used 28,915 posters that reached over 81 million people, 2/3 of the population of the U.S. at the time. It cost an advertiser, on average, $281,447.36 to run a one-month national outdoor campaign. Nationwide, the combined plant facilities of the outdoor industry could accommodate 25 such showings at a time.

The first outdoor advertising industry award was given for a billboard that promoted outdoor advertising. It depicted a waterfall, with copy that read "Beauty, Power, Impressiveness, All Cardinal Qualities of Poster Advertising."

The "Landis Decree" was handed down in U.S. vs. Associated Bill Posters and Distributors of U. S. and Canada. The ruling stated that the Association could not limit its membership to one member for each town and city, nor could it prohibit members from competing against one another within a single market. Furthermore, members could not combine to fix prices for poster displays. It was dismissed on appeal in 1922.

1917
By this time, the Poster Advertising Association membership represented over 7,500 cities and towns. The Poster Advertising Association's Legislative Committee was formed to work with the Law Committee, which was already in existence as part of the original association charter. The primary focus was to be the association's lobby in the legal and legislative arena, and to defend the industry against legislative attacks and discriminatory actions at the local, state, and national levels.

At the suggestion of A.M. Briggs, a member of the Poster Advertising Company, the American Protective League was formed as a volunteer association under the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice. Dedicated to patriotic service in support of the nation's war effort, the League's appeal was widespread and immediate, and by the end of 1918 its rolls had swelled to over 260,000 members drawn from every sector of American business and professional life. One of the consequences of the Poster Advertising Company's leadership role in the League was to enhance the reputation of outdoor advertising with the American public and to instill a general appreciation of poster art and poster advertising.

The Poster Advertising Association pledged its entire resources to support the U.S. effort during World War I. Key outdoor public service campaigns during the war included Liberty Loans, conservation of natural resources, and the Red Cross, as well as posters depicting patriotic themes. Adolph Treidler's poster "Have You Bought Your Bond?" was the firstwartime poster sponsored by the U.S. government.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in St. Louis Poster Advertising Company vs. City of St. Louis, et al, that the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri erred in upholding the constitutionality of the St. Louis billboard regulation ordinances. The St. Louis ordinances were judged to violate constitutional rights to the use of private property.

The War Revenue Act placed a tax on outdoor advertising.
1918
At the 28th National Convention held in Chicago, the Poster Advertising Association passed a resolution that led to the opening of a Washington, D.C. office, intended to increase the ties between the Association (and by extension, the outdoor advertising industry) and the national government.


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