Yahoo’s San Francisco billboard: “It’s good to be back”

Remember Yahoo’s flashy purple billboard that for a dozen years lit up eastbound Interstate 80 through San Francisco? It’s back.

“As part of our 20th anniversary, I’m excited to share that Yahoo has reclaimed the iconic billboard along San Francisco’s stretch of Interstate 80,” said Kathy Savitt, Yahoo’s chief marketing officer, in an announcement Friday just a few hours before the sign switches on.

Its inaugural message will read, “It’s good to be back.”

The billboard is atop the same Sixth Street building as the old sign that was taken down in Dec. 2011, but it has a different design.

Yahoo’s previous version was an “iconic and wonderfully whimsical sign that evokes an old roadside motel,” wrote Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy in its last days.

“It spoke to a refreshing tone for the dot-com era,” Steve Stone, co-founder of Black Rocket, the ad agency that created the sign for Yahoo, told Cassidy at the time. “I think Yahoo’s tone of voice was pretty fresh, and it came through with the art direction in that billboard.”

The new version is sleeker. Gone is the yellow border dotted with neon bulbs, the jagged aquamarine arrow, and the spiky golden globe sticking out from the top. The new billboard reflects Yahoo’s simpler new logo under CEO Marissa Mayer, who took over in mid-2012. The sign, like the previous one, will broadcast topical messages tied to Yahoo products and events.

It’s also part of a larger campaign that in recent months has plastered Yahoo ads on buses, bus stops, buildings and other prominent urban locations throughout the Bay Area and seven other big metropolitan regions: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Above: At left, old Yahoo billboard in Dec. 2011 (Photo by LiPo Ching / Bay Area News Group). At right, the new Yahoo billboard that switches on Friday night. (Photo courtesy of Yahoo)


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  • matt M

    what a waste of money

    • Rusty Shackleford

      big corporations will spend between 1 and 3 percent of their entire revenue on advertising. some even more. that’s billions of dollars. per company. this is nothing.