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Human Advertisement

Human Billboard


Human billboards have been used for centuries. In 19th century London, the practice began when advertising posters became subject to a tax and competition for wall space became fierce. Prince Puckler-Muskau described the activity in 1820s London as such:

An artistic depiction of human billboards in 19th century London, by George Scharf.

A human billboard is someone who applies an advertisement on his or her person. Most commonly, this means holding or wearing a sign of some sort, but also may include wearing advertising as clothing or in extreme cases, having advertising tattooed on the body. Sign holders are known as human directional’s in the advertising industry, or colloquially assign walkers, sign wavers, sign twirlers or (in British territories) sandwich men. Frequently, they will spin or dance or wear costumes with the promotional sign in order to attract attention

Two human billboards in Stockholm, one holding a placard and the other wearing a sandwich board.