1930-1939

1930
National outdoor advertising volume fell to $40 million in a depressed U.S. economy.

The first Annual Exhibition of Outdoor Advertising Art was held in Chicago, sponsored by the Outdoor Advertising Committee of the Advertising Council of the Chicago Association of Commerce. In its first ten years, the exhibition received 3,650 submissions, and issued over 130 awards for designs that represented 77 different products or services in 42 different business sectors.

The trade publication The Poster became Advertising Outdoors.

The National Advertising Commission, established in 1913, dissolved.

In the context of an overall reorganization program, which led to the creation of Outdoor Advertising, Inc. (OAI) in 1932, the OAAA Reorganization Committee recommended that the Association headquarters be moved from New York to Chicago. However, this move did not happen until 1947. The OAAA reorganization plan included a basic policy of self-regulation in order to protect andpreserve natural beauty and scenic landscapes along the nation's highways.
1931
National outdoor advertising volume slipped to $22 million, less than half of the revenue figure of four years earlier. Poster plants shrunk to half of their pre-Depression levels, while incomes dropped as much as 75%. Throughout the Depression, however, there were no bankruptcies recorded among OAAA members.

OAAA underwent a basic reorganization. The new organization was based around state associations, which set the standards for membership. Voting procedures changed to allow for one vote per member, as opposed to one vote per town. The national Association's primary task was to coordinate the activities of the several state associations, and to undertake activities in the national arena that would not be economical or practical for state associations. Inaddition, the national Association itself was reorganized into seven divisions: Business Development (sales promotion); Education (public relations); Legal (government legislation); Plant Development (surveys and research); Membership and Statistical (records); Finance and Budget (accounting); and a general Administration which coordinated among the divisions.

At the previous year's (1930) annual convention, the OAAA membership adopted a resolution to preserve and protect the natural beauty of America's rural roadways. As one of the first steps undertaken in support of that resolution, the OAAA sponsored a Conference on Roadside Business and Natural Beauty that was held in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1931. Attended by representatives from 33 national organizations along with those from the advertising and retail industries, the meeting resulted in a draft of a model law, "A Bill for an Act toCreate a Statewide Scenic Highway System." This law was instrumental in helping to create the system of scenic byways.
1932
Outdoor Advertising, Inc. (OAI) was formed as the sales and promotional arm of OAAA. Its basic mission was to sell the concept of outdoor advertising to advertisers. The effectiveness of OAI can be gauged in part by the revenue figures for the next few years: 1932 ($20m), 1933 ($18m), 1934 ($21m), 1935 ($28m), 1936 ($33.6m), 1937 ($39.3m), 1938 ($36.7m).

The OAAA undertook a "tentative plan" program, which created proposals and model laws for regulating outdoor advertising in scenic areas. The tentative plan distinguished between commercial zones and scenic areas through the use of zoning laws, and proposed to limit advertising to commercial areas.

Publication of the trade journal The Bill Poster was suspended.

The Barney Link Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin published a research report on "A Method of Making Short Traffic Counts and Estimating Traffic Circulation in Urban Areas." This groundbreaking report heightened interest in traffic research.

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the OAAA, the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau (NOAB) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) co-sponsored research at Harvard to establish a scientific foundation for determining circulation evaluation, under the auspices of "Traffic and Trade Researches" at Harvard University. Directed by Miller McClintock and John Paver, the 112-city traffic count study demonstrated the practicality of the Barney Link Fellowship's short count formulas.
1933
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the OAAA, and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) agreed to establish the Traffic Audit Bureau, Inc. (TAB), which was incorporated in 1934. The TAB's mission was to conduct traffic research and provide circulation data and evaluations for the advertising industry. TAB data is still widely used in marketing planning and advertising campaign strategies.

An OAAA referendum voted to rescind a ban on alcoholic beverage advertising, which had been in place among members since 1915. The OAAA also adopted an official "public policy" of voluntary regulation by the advertising industry regarding natural beauty. It was intended as a pro-active measure to address the critics of the "billboard blight."

The OAAA dropped the term "billboard" and replaced it with the terms "poster panel" and "painted bulletin."
1934
Outdoor Advertising, Inc. (OAI) published its first award book, 100 Best Posters.
1938
Transportation Displays, Inc. (TDI) was founded as a poster advertising medium to reach the commuter market.

Ad-ver-tis-er, Inc. was formed to encourage the development of a "junior panel" format as a national medium. Junior panels were envisioned as a quarter the overall size, but proportionally thesame as standard poster panels. Franchises were sold which offered sales help, selling manuals, statistical information, and other services. Junior panels eventually did become popular, primarily as an urban advertising medium. Sizes initially varied from 6- to 8-sheets.

The Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB) developed a procedure for conducting nighttime traffic counts.

General Outdoor developed the Streamliner bulletin structure. Streamliner panels featured Art Deco trim styling and included flexible sections for cutouts to customize ad copy, giving the panels a highly distinctive appearance.
1939
The OAAA reorganized its membership structure through the creation of Regional Zones. Originally there were 12 Regions represented by Regional Councils, but the number was reducedto 10 councils in 1946.


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