Recession 101 Billboards

The Outdoor Advertising Association of America is overseeing an inspirational advertising campaign providing an optimistic take on the global financial crisis. The Recession 101 messages are being presented on backdrops designed to look like lined notepad paper, mounted on digital billboards, traditional billboards, posters and street furniture.

The economic “lessons,” which include such catchphrases such as “self worth beats net worth,” and “stop obsessing about the economy, you’re scaring the children,” started going up in May and now number around 2,000 postings across the country.

Recession 101 Bill Gates billboard

Recession 101 Self Worth billboard

Recession 101 Stop Obsessing billboard

Recession 101 Experience and Talent billboard

Recession 101 is a light hearted and succinct reminder to everyone that the nation will get through these troubled times and come out in the end. Members of the OAAA have donated printing, materials and billboard space, while the private anonymous donor has paid for the campaign’s design.

OAAA has set up and a special Twitter channel:


The campaign is being developed by Charlie Robb, from Charchin Creative, Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Robb was also involved in the Messages from God billboard campaign of 1999 which also was sponsored by an anonymous donor.

  • Beth Ward

    I am so impressed with your forward thinking approach to this economic speedbump. I am by no means rich, I am a teacher. The billboard that you are scaring the children is one of my personal favorites. Thank you for your positive spin!

  • Blake Castetter

    These billboards are great! I’m in the outdoor advertising industry and agree we need more creative boards like this. All too often outdoor ads don’t reach their fullest potential! If you come across more of these boards, please do share!

  • Vernette

    While traveling north out of Houston Texas earlier today I was impressed by the “self worth beats net worth” billboard. I talked to my children about it. Ages range from 22-6 years old. Each on had a different comment.

  • abc

    today i saw one that said,
    “recession 101
    it's a test, not a final.”

  • west

    I saw one in Palm Springs, CA:
    ‘the recession will be over long before the one’s that caused it are paroled’ or something like that, Great Stuff!
    Peace Is Imminent! West

  • Greg Conely

    I love them. It is good to remind people the obvious, even if sites like the democraticunderground are pissed about them. Keep up the good work 🙂

  • G. A . Mischke

    Hard to know what to say. I believe in giving inspirational messages, but I just really dislike billboards and think of them as a blight on the landscape.

  • Jessica

    I am sooo happy to see this. We saw the one in Conyers, GA that reads “Recession 101: It’s a test, not a final.” It made me smile. Thanks to those that created this!! GREAT idea!

  • Judy Stewart

    My favorite was “Recessions are caused by panic” or something like that. I haven’t seen that one mentioned. Think it was one of the first.

  • Don Helm

    I think these billboards are horrible. We cannot ignore high unemployment, run away government spending and increasing taxes. These billboards suggest we do and just let things get better on their own. Well I don’t think that’s good financial planning. Do you ignore your bank accounts?

  • Steve

    These billboards are didactic, belittling, and the “sign” of a centralized, authoritarian government that desires it’s citizens to just think differently about the economic destruction it has brought about.

  • Jeff

    I see the intent, and applaud the message that we need to keep ourselves positive to weather this, but I have to wonder if this isn’t putting too much of a, “Don’t worry, be happy,” spin on things. We SHOULD be concerned about the factors that got us into this mess.