Sandwich board men have been on the streets of London for centuries, providing cheap and effective advertising for local businesses.
Go back two hundred years and you would have seen fancy dress version of today’s human billboards, with placard holders dressed in outlandish, eye catching clothes and their banners taking on a multitude of shapes.
As the streets filled with armies of curiously dressed walking billboards, the novelty soon worn off, so advertisers were pressed to come up with new attention-grabbing ideas.
Robert Warren of 30 Strand was particularly adventurous, coming up with a novel mass walking display of blacking tins in the 1830s.
I’ve suffered this job myself too, and once had to get up at 6am, don a gorilla outfit and hand out leaflets outside a tube station for a sandwich bar in the centre of London.
At that time of the morning, not many people appreciated my costume, but at least I didn’t have to wear the banana costume.
I’ve been snapping street sandwich board men for several years around London. Here’s a couple from this year with more in the link below.