Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Burma Shave was an American brand of brushless shaving cream, famous for its advertising gimmick of posting humorous rhyming poems on small sequential highway roadside signs. In 1926, the signs first appeared on U.S. Highway in Minnesota. Burma Shave then expanded the advertisements throughout the United States. These advertisements were usually six consecutive small signs, posted along the edge of major highways in every state except Nevada (deemed to have insufficient road traffic) and Massachusetts (eliminated due to that state’s high land rentals and roadside foliage). Burma Shave was usually listed on the last sign in the series. The advertisements were used until 1963.

These signs were a successful approach to highway advertising during the early years of highway travel, drawing the attention of passing motorists who were curious to learn the punchline. Some of the Burma Shave signs featured safety messages about speeding instead of advertisements. As an homage to Burma Shave, our What’s Up Wednesday sign is one of the original Burma Shave messages reminding everyone of the importance of driving safely.