Lights for good
Piccadilly Lights has been at the heart of many memorable, life-changing campaigns.
When Margot needed a bone marrow transplant, her family and friends came together as Team Margot to help find her a matching donor. They asked people to register as potential stem cell donors and encourage others to do the same. In 2016, for the third anniversary of Margot’s blood cancer diagnosis, Landsec donated advertising space to Team Margot on the Curve of the lights to raise awareness of their campaign.
On 5 March 2002, John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono paid for the quote “Imagine all the people living life in peace” to be displayed for three months, promoting peace after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York the year before.
Imagine was recorded
and originally released
copies of the single have
been sold in the UK
Roll of honour
For the centennial remembrance of the start of the First World War, a roll of honour was screened on 4 August 2014 naming the 2,000 Westminster borough residents who fought and died.
Marie Curie Extra Hour
For one hour on Saturday 29 October 2016, to coincide with the clocks going back, our brand partners donated their advertising space to terminal illness charity, Marie Curie, by turning their screens at Piccadilly Circus yellow. The campaign was to raise awareness of the overnight work of Marie Curie nurses, providing care and support in people’s homes.
On Saturday 25 June 2016, Landsec joined ten other major real estate firms in the Pride in London Parade to put property on the radar of the LGBT community. Marching under the ‘Property Needs You’ campaign banner, the group passed the Piccadilly Lights, which were hosting a special Pride takeover to celebrate the event.
The Piccadilly Lights have been turned off more times than you think.
World War II
On 11 August 1939, the Piccadilly Circus lights were turned off as part of the London-wide blackout to thwart German bombing raids on the British capital. They stayed dark for a decade, only being restored to their former glory in 1949.
September 1939 -
the blackout began
Days the lights
were switched off for
8 May 1945: A vanload of beer passing through Piccadilly Circus on VE Day. Significant crowds gathered in the area to celebrate.
3, 2, 1… Lights out
On 16th January 2017, the Piccadilly Circus lights were turned off in preparation for a huge makeover. They’ll stay off until autumn, when the six screens will be replaced by a single technologically advanced digital screen.
When former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill passed away on the 24 January 1965, it was as if a dark cloud had settled over the nation. As a mark of respect, the Piccadilly Circus lights were turned off during his funeral on 30 January for the first time since World War II.
tuned in worldwide
part in the funeral
While the Piccadilly Circus lights have only been turned off a handful of times – most notably for the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Diana – it has been plunged into darkness a few times due to power cuts.
The sudden death of the much beloved Princess Diana shocked the world. Out of respect, the Piccadilly Circus lights were switched off on the day of her funeral (6 September 1997) – which is only the second time the lights have been turned off in mourning.
watched on TV
For one hour every year, Piccadilly Lights goes dark. Since 2007, the landmark has been one of the thousands of iconic buildings around the world to switch off its lights in honour of Earth Hour – an hour-long, mass switch-off event aimed at raising awareness about global warming.
The year it was started
in Sydney, Australia
Moments in time
Take a journey through the history of the Piccadilly Lights.
At the turn of the century, nearly a decade before the first electrical advertising appeared, Piccadilly Circus looks a lot different to its modern-day incarnation
As the world’s economies emerge from the Great Depression, the first ever kinetic clock is introduced at the Piccadilly Lights.
During World War II a bomb shelter is placed over the famous statue of Anteros (commonly misconceived as Eros) to prevent damage during the Blitz. The billboard lights are also turned off to prevent the Luftwaffe using London landmarks as navigation aids during bombing raids.
Almost a decade after the end of World War II, Coca-Cola first advertises at Piccadilly Lights. It has held space here ever since and has the longest ongoing and unbroken streak of any advertiser at the site.
The Swinging 60s have arrived and London is now at the centre of the fashion world. The Lights receive a makeover of their own too, with the addition of the Double Diamond expansion board – bringing it to a similar size to its modern-day version.
Compared to the turbulent 1970s and 80s, which saw London dealing with civil unrest and power shortages, the late 1990s heralded a period of calm prosperity. At the Lights, 1997 was the final year before digital projectors were introduced.
Piccadilly Lights is currently undergoing a redevelopment to replace the existing screens with Europe’s largest single digital screen - which will meet the demands of the 21st century.
Explore the future
What does the future look like for the Piccadilly Lights?
- Europe's largest
digital screen of its kind
- The future of…
- The new Piccadilly
- From six
- A new display
Localised Wi-Fi enables near-field interactivity with the screen.
Europe's largest digital screen of its kind
It’s 790 sq m - that’s bigger than a tennis court.
The future of…
Vasiliki Arvaniti, Landsec’s Portfolio Manager for the Piccadilly Lights, talks about its future.
The new Picadilly Lights
From six to one
Six full-motion sections that can be used flexibly by advertisers, allowing creative full-screen takeovers, while preserving the historic patchwork feature.
Advertising campaigns can automatically respond to live weather, news, sports, and even social media updates
The 4K capability of the screen adds more definition to the picture making it look more life like, with amazing clarity and colour.
Screen content can be influenced by the characteristics of the crowd around it, such as gender, age group and even emotions. It is also able to respond and deliver bespoke ad content triggered by surroundings in the area.
The Piccadilly Lights is made by our world famous brand partners that advertise with us.
Russell Taylor, chief marketing officer, Samsung UK & Ireland, said: “Samsung has had the privilege of being associated with Piccadilly Lights, one of London’s most iconic landmarks, for over two decades. We look forward to the redevelopment of the site and are particularly excited by the potential of the screen’s connectivity enabling us to engage with the millions of global consumers that pass by it every year.”
In 1959, 5 years after turning on its famous advertising sign, Delony Sledge, Coca-Cola’s advertising director, said: “I am sure it has added to the extraordinary quality of Coca-Cola all over the world…. if we, in presenting Coca-Cola to our consumers, are content to do ordinary things, in an ordinary way, we must of necessity be content to become and remain, an ordinary product.” Remarkably, the lights are enabling Coca-Cola to be as innovative now as they were then.
The Hyundai sign launched on 29 September 2011. We used this as an opportunity to upgrade the screen from neon to LED, marking the completion of the neon to LED upgrade project, which began in 1998.
A London icon
Often compared to the bright billboards of New York’s Times Square, the Piccadilly Lights enjoy fame of their own, as well as by association.
- Mission Impossible:
- Bridget Jones
- Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows Part 1
(BBC TV Series)
- Number of passers-
by per year
- A desirable
- In quotes
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
The movie opens with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) emerging from Piccadilly Circus underground station in search of his meeting spot – with the Lights in full focus.
(Photo: BagoGames / flickr)
The Lights play more of a central role in the Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason. As Bridget ponders about her life, the advertising screens are used to illustrate her thoughts – broadcasting them to all around her.
(Photo: S Pakhrin / flickr)
In The Deathly Hallows (Part 1)
Harry, Ron and Hermione flee to Piccadilly Circus to escape the Death Eaters, with the lights forming the backdrop of the scene.
(Photo: Josh Hallett / flickr)
Who knew the Lights were witness to so much drama? As a star in the introductory credits of the hit BBC series Sherlock, Piccadilly Lights sets the scene for the mysteries that lay ahead...
Numbers of passers-by per year
Over 104m in total
Over 72m pedestrians
Over 23m in coaches/buses
Over 5m in taxis
Over 4m in cars
A desirable advertising space
The lights have been in demand since Edwardian times.
The Perrier sign was first illuminated in 1908. Since then, more than 50 brands have appeared on the site over the past 100 years.
Coca-Cola has featured at Piccadilly Lights since 1954.
Aedamar Howlett, Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland Marketing Director, said:
“There are only a handful of advertising spaces in the world that are as iconic and unique as the Piccadilly Lights.”