Coming to Town: the Latest and Greatest in Circus Billboards

11/13/2015 by

Did you know that the some of the first examples of roadside advertising--the first billboards—were circus posters? The Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Circus large-format poster (shown above) was more than 50 square feet in size. It called children and adults to see the lions and tigers and clowns at the circus in 1835.

The First Billboards

Simply because outdoor advertising was in its infancy, the poster was guaranteed to catch the eye of potential circus goers. But the maker, Jared Bell of New York, made an all-out effort to produce a commercially oriented work of art. The colors are rich and the people and animals are vibrant with movement.

Before it was technologically possible to produce these large size posters, local merchants painted signs on the sides of 

buildings and fences. They also glued smaller size posters on walls to get attention.


It wasn’t until 1850 that outdoor advertising was used on street railways. The first billboard space was leased in 1867.  Three years later, more than 300 companies were painting outdoor signs and putting up posters. Clearly, then as now, it was an idea that worked.

Circus Billboards Updated

A recent billboard for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus shows how the concept has evolved. This New York City ad publicized the appearance of the circus at Madison Square Garden.

The Takeaway

Stay up to date with new trends and innovative design. Work with experts who understand how to make the best use of cutting edge technology for creating and installing your billboard.

Outdoor advertising, in one form or another, has been used around the world for centuries. The form it takes is constantly updated. Consider the changes digital billboards have made, making a whole host of new designs possible.

You need to use the most effective technology possible to deliver your message. That means staying abreast of what is possible with the latest advances, as well as what is still effective from earlier methods of billboard construction.

Work with Cutting-Edge Professionals

When it comes time to put up your billboard, work with us at Billboard Connection. We understand the technology of advanced design and installation methods.

We match clients with the most effective billboard locations available. Call the experts in outdoor advertising for a free quote at 1-866-257-6025.