business perceptions of the role of billboards in the U.S. economy

Charles R. Taylor
Villnova University
and
George R. Franke
University of Alabama

Expenditures on outdoor advertising in the United States exceeded $5.1 billion in 2001 (Marketing Factbook, 2002), reflecting a newfound enthusiasm for outdoor advertising among media planners (Neuborne and Weil, 2000). Nevertheless, the long history of controversy over outdoor advertising continues to the present (Taylor and Chang, 1995). On one side of the debate are those who argue that outdoor is an effective medium that helps to create jobs and is widely appreciated by the public (Outdoor Advertising Association of America, 2000). On the other side are critics of the industry who use terms such as 'visual pollution,' 'sky trash,' 'litter on a stick,' and 'the junk mail of the American highway' to describe billboards. In fact, many critics believe that billboards should be strictly regulated, or even eliminated (Scenic America, 2000; Vespe, 1997).