The History of Lamar Advertising

The story of how Design XL’s presenting sponsor, Lamar Advertising Company, came to be proves that big things are born in Pensacola. And it all started with a coin flip.

One of the nation’s largest out-of-home advertising providers, Lamar was founded in 1902 under the name Pensacola Advertising Company. The small advertising firm was an offshoot of the then-lucrative Pensacola Opera House, both owned by business partners J.M. Coe and Charles W. Lamar.

When the businessmen dissolved their partnership in 1908, they agreed to divide their assets-the opera house and the advertising company- through a game of coin toss.

Heads – Charles W. Lamar would be awarded ownership of the Pensacola Opera House. Tails– he would become the owner of the seemingly less-desirable advertising company.

The coin landed on tails, and the face of the outdoor advertising scene was forever changed.

Over the next century, Lamar Outdoor Advertising Company would partner with companies like Coca-Cola, General Electric and Pabst to display billboards and signage on interstates and airplanes across the United States and Canada. It would distribute iconic images like the Rosie the Riveter sign and the Uncle Sam “I Want You” poster. It would even introduce the world’s first digital billboard in 2001.

Today, the company boasts over 360,000 displays and helps local businesses and national brands reach broad audiences every day.

Lamar has brought value to the art and design community in Pensacola for many years, and we are proud to have their support.

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