1940-1949

1940
The Women's Fact-Finding Roadside Association was formed with the aim of addressing the question of balancing roadside aesthetic with the rights of property owners.
1941
On Oct. 7, the OAAA, at its annual convention, issued a unanimous declaration of membership support of government policies in the event the U.S. went to war.

On Dec. 15, after the U.S. had entered World War II, the Executive Committee of the OAAA Business Development Committee met in Chicago to discuss ways of engaging the outdoor advertising industry in promoting the War Objectives program.

Traffic safety became a major concern. In 1941, the National Safety Council used billboards extensively to promote its "Operation Safety" campaign. A pilot campaign in Memphis, Tenn., contributed to a 57% drop in traffic fatalities in its first year. In California the campaign was credited with cutting traffic fatalities in Los Angeles in half during the period 1946-1949. By 1949 "Operation Safety" had been adopted by over 2,000 communities.

The Outdoor Advertising Foundation at Notre Dame University was founded. Its function was to create a library for materials relating to advertising, to conduct research and to provide training for outdoor advertising professionals.
1942
The War Advertising Council was founded as a non-profit organization creating public service campaigns in all advertising media. The U.S. Office of War Information decided on the particular campaigns to be used to support the war effort and boost morale. Then, the War Advertising Council would prepare and execute the campaign, and ensure that the outdoor part of the campaign was distributed to plant operators.

On June 1, the first poster supporting the war effort appeared. Perhaps the most famous of the Council's campaigns was "Rosie the Riveter" who became an icon of wartime support. Throughout the war years, the Council produced an estimated $350 million in free public service messages. After the war it was renamed the Advertising Council, which continues its public service campaign activities.

The OAAA presented its first OBIE awards for excellence in outdoor advertising. The OBIE took its name from the Egyptian Obelisk, which many historians considered to be one of the earliest forms of outdoor advertising.

The first accredited course in outdoor advertising in the U.S. was offered at Notre Dame University. The course allowed students with a major in marketing to pursue a concentration in outdoor advertising.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Valentine v. Chrestensen, ruled that the government's regulation of commercial speech was not limited by the First Amendment. The decision strengthened the government's ability to control advertising copy.
1943
At the annual OAAA convention, members unanimously reiterated their support for the war effort.

The National Safety Congress (NSC) was formed to study postwar traffic safety.
1944
The National Safety Congress's Postwar Committee was renamed the National Committee for Traffic Safety, and relied heavily on outdoor advertising. Its safety awareness campaigns quickly became familiar sights in towns across the U.S.

Outdoor advertising's Postwar Planning Board held its first meeting on February 18, to discuss the return to peacetime activities. Over the next several months the Board met on a number of issues. One of the main resolutions that came from these meetings was the recommendation to adopt a new standardized medium called the Junior Panel. The proposed Junior Panel standard specified a 6-sheet poster (1/4 the area of a standard 24-sheet poster) that was intended for point-of-purchase advertising at supermarkets and other urban retail establishments. Small-format posters of varying sizes had been promoted as "junior" panels for several years, and had become popular in urban areas where standard poster sizes proved impractical.

The Postwar Planning Board hired the industrial design firm Raymond Loewy Associates to study billboard structures and devise a new design.
1945
National poster sales reach $45.5 million.

Anti-billboard activist group, the National Roadside Council, grew to include 20 state Councils and over 80 cooperative associations among its members.
1946
The Raymond Loewy-designed poster panels were adopted as a new 24-sheet structure standard. The OAAA originally intended to adopt the Loewy panels as the official standard panel, but the cost of changeover and the scarcity of materials in postwar U.S. forced the OAAA to designate it as "an" official panel design, which was adopted at the 1946 annual convention. Loewy panels were painted light gray in contrast to the older billboards' dark green. There were no buttresses in back of the structure, and no lattice-work in the front.

A Junior Panel poster standard was adopted by the OAAA. It was a 6 1/2 sheet sign with an outer dimension of 6'1" x 12', an inner dimension of 4'6" x 10'5", and a posting surface measuring 54� x 125".

The School of Outdoor Advertising was established at Notre Dame University.

Standard Outdoor was formed. It consisted of a network of 27 of the largest outdoor advertising firms, including Donnelly (Boston), Packer (Cleveland), United (Newark), and Walker (Detroit).

The OAAA was subpoenaed to appear before a Federal District Court grand jury, in relation to a complaint about restriction of competition.
1947
The OAAA relocated its headquarters to Chicago, at 24 Erie St.

The first billboards appeared using Scotchlite�, a reflective substance developed by the 3M Corporation for use on road signs. Scotchlite greatly increased nighttime visibility for outdoor advertising.

Father Peyton Patrick, an Irish immigrant, founded the Family Theatre, a Catholic faith-based multi-media public service program. Currently in its 56th year, it is one of the longest-running public service campaigns in the world. Family Theatre has sponsored over 600 radio and 70 television programs totaling over 10,000 broadcasts. Its outdoor campaign, which began in 1948, has appeared on over 100,000 billboards; an outdoor advertising industry study has estimated that the billboards have been seen over 400 million times. The campaign is responsible for such memorable slogans as "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together," "Keep Christ in Christmas," and "A World at Prayer is a World at Peace."
1948
An OAAA initiative, "Voluntary Cooperative Program," was established. Its aim was to work with the traditional critics of outdoor advertising--women's clubs, garden clubs, government planners, etc.--to promote higher standards of operation and maintenance among plant operators, while also promoting the economic benefits of outdoor advertising.
1949
Loewy poster panel designs were modified to include lighter stainless steel moldings, replacing porcelain enamel materials.

The OAAA Public Policy Committee passed a resolution requiring poster panels to be occupied at all times, and recommended that public service ads be used to fill open panel spaces.


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