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Hyundai Motor Company today officially takes over one of the world’s most iconic advertising spaces in the heart of London when the newly updated LED billboard goes ‘live’ featuring Hyundai’s ‘New Thinking. New Possibilities’ creative.

Hyundai Piccaddilly Circus

The 116 sq metre space in Piccadilly Circus -previously held by Sanyo since 1978 -is estimated to be seen by over 56 million people every year including visitors to London from across the globe.

Hyundai Piccaddilly Circus Old Photo

It is the end of an era, as the only remaining billboard hosting the traditional cold cathode tubes (neons) introduced back in 1923, has now been transformed with new state-of-the-art high-resolution LED lights and will be seen by the public for the first time today.  It is also the first time in over 20 years that a brand has changed at the Lights.

Tony Whitehorn, managing director, Hyundai UK says: “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 and to engage with millions of global consumers on a daily basis.

“Only fifty brands have advertised on this site over its 100 year history and adding Hyundai to that list shows just how far the brand has come in recent years. It represents a significant investment for Hyundai and highlights just how important the UK is to the Hyundai business.”

The Hyundai Motor Group is the world’s fifth largest and fastest growing major automotive manufacturer.  As part of an ongoing brand awareness campaign, the group has also taken over billboard space in Times Square, New York and in Hong Kong, with more city locations to follow.

Hyundai Piccaddilly Circus Photo

Did you know?

  • The 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 done in 2004)
  • There is 718 square metres of advertising space


1819 – Piccadilly Circus was built to connect Regents Street with Piccadilly.  It now links directly to Shaftesbury Avenue, Haymarket, Coventry Street and Glasshouse Street

1906 – Piccadilly Circus tube station opened

1908 – First electrical advertisements appeared – Perrier was the first brand to be illuminated

1923 – Electric billboards were set up on the façade of London Pavilion.The earliest signs used incandescent light bulbs which were replaced with neon lights as well as moving signs.  The very first neon sign was for Bovril

1955 – Coca Cola took its sign and has had it ever since

1965 – The lights are turned off to coincide with Churchill’s funeral

1978 – Sanyo takes its first sign

1980s – McDonald’s takes its first sign

1984 – Sanyo takes its second sign.  It is the oldest out of the existing signs and has remained unchanged ever since.  It was the only sign left to still be run by traditional cold cathode tubes (neon).

1990 – TDK replaces the space formerly occupied by Kodak

1994 – Samsung takes a sign which had previously been taken by Panasonic and before that, Canon

1997 – The lights are turned off for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales

2000s – A gradual move to LED displays begins

2002 – Yoko Ono paid for the quote “Imagine all the people living life in peace” to be illuminated for three months

2007 – Land Securities creates Piccadilly Lite underneath the Samsung and McDonald’s signs.  This allows other companies to advertise and replaces a Budweiser sign

2007 – The lights are switched off for one hour as part of the Lights Out London campaign

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