Outdoor Advertising – what has changed since 1987?

celebrating 30 years of Focal Point Advertising

I set up Focal Point Advertising on September 4th 1987 (although the business wasn’t called Focal Point back then) and we have seen an immense amount of changes in the industry over the last 30 years. So what has changed?

Well I have got 30 years older for one and have been working in the industry for half of my life. I guess to some degree I have been in outdoor longer than most people in the industry, and between me and my team we have nearly 55 years total experience in planning and booking outdoor and out of home advertising campaigns, so it does make us a very experienced and great company to work with if you are looking to book campaigns.

Another big change is that we had no internet, no websites, no emails and we had to phone everyone to make appointments and sales. It was not easy for people to find us, so we had to be very proactive and this is why we are still proactive today. We have never been a reactive company. It was not until the early 90’s that we had internet connection, an email address and web site. Back then it was dial up – no always on super fast broadband – and we had to unplug our telephone line to plug in the internet cable and make a cup of tea while it connected. Computers back then had a hard drive of about 16mb – wow, how did we manage. We used to use an A4 diary stuffed with bits of paper and by about March the spine had completely broken.

Back in 1987, there were no 6 sheet posters. All bus shelters and other small format free standing and wall mounted units were 4 sheet posters. You don’t see many of those around any more other than primarily at both overground and underground train stations. There are still a few independent media owners who own 4 sheet sites and this sized poster offers really good value for money. Over time all the 4 sheet bus shelters have been converted to 6 sheet which is – as best as I can describe – a European 4 sheet.

As regards these larger format posters, there were hundreds of small independent media owners who owned tens or hundreds of 48 sheet poster sites so it meant we had to make a large number of calls to build an inventory for our clients. There was also a large number of 16 sheet posters (one third the size of a 48) and there are not many of these around today but where there are they also offer great value for money.

I think one of the greatest changes is the number of what I call “non traditional” forms of outdoor advertising have come into being and there are so many that the “outdoor industry” has been renamed the “out of home” or “OOH” industry. It almost seems that anywhere that has a bit of blank space is being covered with advertising, and today there are over 50 services in the out of home sector. This is, what I believe, has kept the industry so interesting and fresh. It also means that so much more can be more targeted than ever before.

I loved the industry when I set up the business back in 1987 and I still love it today. I have made some great friends over the years, have some great customers and have a great team supporting me.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of my business over the last 30 years and if you are not a supplier or customer of ours yet, I hope you soon will be – Kind regards, Richard Knight.

I can guarantee we are a breath of fresh air.


If you need any further advice or guidance about “Out of Home” advertising, why not give us a call on 01256 767837 or fill in the form on our ‘Contact Us‘ page.