4 States That Ban Billboards

Sruthi | 30 - 07 - 2020
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Billboards are large advertisement boards that can mostly be seen in high traffic areas like highways and busy roads. They display creative slogans and unique visuals for people to understand quickly. They instantly catch people’s attention. Billboards are a great way to let people know about one’s brand and exclusive offers. It attracts many consumers instantly. But in a few states billboards are banned, let’s discuss the states that ban billboards and reasons for the ban.

States That Ban Billboards

There are currently four states that ban billboards: Hawaii, Alaska, Maine, and Vermont. In these states, you cannot find billboards. One of the common things about these places is that they are known for their scenic beauty. Let’s see what made them ban billboards.

Hawaii

Are billboards illegal in Hawaii? Hawaii was the first place to ban billboards in the 1920s. It is a place known for its dreamy and exquisite beauty; it is full of majestic scenery and beautiful landscapes. No wonder over 8 million tourists visit Hawaii every year. Why are billboards illegal in Hawaii? The major reason why Hawaii banned billboards is that they ruin the ethereal beauty of Hawaii. To maintain its gorgeousness they decided to remove the big advertising boards and not to erect any billboards further. They initiated this through Outdoor Circle, a non-profit organization that works to protect the natural beauty of Hawaii. They are known to maintain parks and bikeways. Their main focus is on sustainability and to establish green spaces by planting more trees. One of the major issues raised with the ban was that the politicians could not promote their candidacy and the chances of people noticing and voting for them became low. Hence, a candidate called Charles Campbell in 1968 took a step of waving handmade signs to vehicles that passed by on the highways. This was seen as a unique way of advertising and to get noticed. Soon the concept of sign-waving became famous and started to be adopted by other political candidates in the replacement of billboards. Later, a group of people started sign-waving in major places with human traffic to represent their party. The most popular “shaka” hand signal is waved at people in a way of alluring Hawaii voters.

1. The Billboards Were Banned in Hawaii in the 1920s.
  • A. True
  • B. False

Maine

In the early 1880s, Maine, a state in the New England region, was littered with billboards and posters promoting several brands, political parties, food products, cigarettes, etc. But it was also a state known for its scenic beauty, one of the major reasons why tourists visited Maine was for its splendid landscapes and wonderful views and they thought billboards were ruining the picturesque sceneries, hence they put a ban on billboards. Governor James B. Longley was the person who initiated the act and established an act to remove over 8500 billboards that were on roads hiding the natural beauty. But it took about 7 years to completely remove all the billboards. President of the Main State Chamber of Commerce, Dana Connors once also stated that the major thing that defined the quality of Maine is that there are no billboards deteriorating its satisfaction. The last standing billboard removed was Shawmut Motor Inn in 1984. Later, several attempts were made to break the law but in 2013, nine separate bills were brought to adjust the sign regulations and to allow exceptions but all the bills were rejected.

Vermont

Are there billboards in Vermont? Vermont passed a law in 1968 to ban billboards. The state has been billboard-free since then. There are no billboards in Vermont now. It was all possible because of a man named Ted Riehle who struggled to ban billboards and wanted to preserve the natural beauty of Vermont. He was the owner of Savage Island, Riehle, and one of the influential figures of Vermont hence persuaded many people to learn why billboards weren’t necessary and how they were ruining the earth’s beauty. Why are billboards illegal in Vermont? In order to preserve Mother Nature, he decided billboard advertising must be banned. He believed that getting rid of billboards can help financially and to maintain the scenic beauty of Vermont. The law summed up “We need to provide information to the traveler, but do not want to compromise our natural scenery”. Tourism is one of the major sources of income to the state, hence they wanted to maintain the natural beauty to the visitors to enjoy nature at its purest form. Later, banning billboards became one of the main reasons why people visited Vermont.

Alaska

Alaska was the last state to ban billboards in 1998. According to their law, it is illegal to create many forms of advertisements within 660 feet from the highway. Many different business groups fought against the law hence, the government allowed 1.5’ * 7.5’ signage but that had to be placed on the private lands near the public roads. But many business organizations are still arguing about it as billboards are a great way to attract customers. Once a political message was conveyed in a billboard and it was immediately removed, this action was taken to maintain the raw beauty of the nature of Alaska. In 1997, the government allowed only tourism advertising billboards in Alaska but around 72% of Alaskans wanted to prohibit the billboards. They believed that maintaining the scenic beauty of the state was more important than billboards.

After looking at several states and the reasons behind the ban, what do you think? Do you think billboards are ruining nature’s beauty or it is a significant part of advertising?

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