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Hyundai Lights Up London - Web Exclusive

The space in Piccadilly Circus is estimated to be seen by over 56 million people every year, including visitors to London from around the globe.

Greg Emmerson
Sep 29, 2011

Hyundai has taken over one of the world’s most iconic advertising spaces in the heart of London, with an updated LED billboard featuring the company’s ‘New Thinking. New Possibilities’ campaign.

Eurp 1109 03+hyundai lights up london+guiness Photo 2/5   |   Hyundai Lights Up London - Web Exclusive

The space in Piccadilly Circus, which was previously held by Sanyo since 1978, is estimated to be seen by over 56 million people every year, including visitors to London from around the globe.

It is also the end of an era because the only remaining billboard using traditional cold cathode tubes (neons), which was introduced in 1923, has now been transformed with high-resolution LED lights and will be seen by the public for the first time. It is also the first time in more than 20 years that a new brand has appeared in the Lights.

Tony Whitehorn from Hyundai said: “We are delighted to have achieved such a prestigious space in the heart of such a vibrant city. It is a rare opportunity for our brand to become part of the London landscape because only 50 brands have advertised on this site over its 100 year history, and adding Hyundai to that list shows how far the brand has come in recent years.”

As part of an ongoing brand awareness campaign, the group has also taken over billboard space in Times Square and in Hong Kong, with more city locations to follow.

Did you know?

  • The Piccadilly Circus lights have been visible since Edwardian Times - Perrier was the first brand to be illuminated in Piccadilly Circus in 1908
  • Coca Cola has been present on the site since 1955 – the longest continuous presence
  • 34,274,522 pedestrians walk past the lights each year (based on research in 2004)


  • 1819 – Piccadilly Circus was built to connect Regents Street with Piccadilly.
  • 1906 – Piccadilly Circus tube station opened
  • 1908 – First electrical advertisements appeared – Perrier was the first advertiser
  • 1923 – Electric billboards were set up on the façade of London Pavilion. The earliest signs used incandescent light bulbs, which were later replaced by neon lights as well as moving signs. The first neon sign was for Bovril
  • 1955 – Coca Cola occuied its sign and has been there ever since
  • 1965 – The lights were turned off to coincide with Churchill’s funeral
  • 1978 – Sanyo took its first sign
  • 1980s – McDonald’s took its first sign
  • 1984 – Sanyo took its second sign. It is the oldest of the existing signs and has remained unchanged ever since. It was the only sign left to use traditional neon
  • 1990 – TDK replaced Kodak
  • 1994 – Samsung replaced Panasonic and before that, Canon
  • 1997 – The lights were turned off for the funeral of Princess Diana
  • 2000s – The move to LED displays began
  • 2002 – Yoko Ono paid for the quote “Imagine all the people living life in peace” to be illuminated for three months
  • 2007 – The lights were switched off for one hour as part of the Lights Out London campaign

By Greg Emmerson
1078 Articles



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