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Turning back the clock at Piccadilly Lights

Genealogy company Ancestry recently joined forces with the Anomaly agency and Ocean Outdoor on a special project, which saw the famous Piccadilly Lights in London go back in time to celebrate the landmark’s history.

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The idea was one of the winners of Ocean Outdoor’s annual Digital Creative Competition

The illuminated signs were lit up to recreate how they have looked over the past 80 years, from the end of The Blitz through to the present day. Two 30-minute dominations ran on September 10th and 11th.

The historic display began in 1949, when the illuminated advertising signs were first switched back on after the end of World War II.

The screens then took audiences on a trip through history, using archive film footage of famous signs from multiple angles to recreate classic advertising hoardings from the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s.

An end frame directed viewers to Ancestry, which used the Piccadilly Lights project as part of a wider commemorative campaign to mark 80 years since The Blitz.

This is a beautifully thought through campaign, making it a worthy winner of Ocean’s digital creative competition

Ocean Outdoor joint managing director Phil Hall says: “Ancestry has turned the clock back on the famous Piccadilly Lights, taking one of the nation’s favourite landmarks back in time from full motion to the age of neon and all the way back to a time when there were no lights.

“This is a beautifully thought through campaign, making it a worthy winner of Ocean’s digital creative competition.”

Landsec and Coca-Cola, which has had a presence in Piccadilly Circus since 1955, donated space on Piccadilly Lights for the campaign.

Ben Robinson and Mike Whiteside, creatives at Anomaly, add: ‘’Piccadilly Circus has long been one of the world’s most iconic advertising sites. We’re excited to bring back its most famous signs from years gone by.

“From the vintage Guinness Time clocks to the neon Coca-Cola signs, and even the classic Bovril and Schweppes fountain, we’re opening a window into Piccadilly’s past, just like Ancestry does for its users.”

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