Action Signs Home Page
Email Action Signs

Piccadilly Circus Signs London

Action Signs and the Sanyo Sign London

Full service maintenance contract secured providing 365 day a year 24hr a day cover to one of the world's iconic sign sites at Piccadilly Circus.

Probably the best known sight in London, known all over the world, Piccadilly Circus, with its spectacular display of neon advertising signs, marks the entrance to the capital's liveliest entertainment district, with its theatres, cinemas, clubs, pubs and restaurants.

The Sanyo sign is one of the last two animated Neon signs left at this site, the trend for other advertisers to switch to animated led screens makes it even more special.

Action Signs have been contracted for the third year running to provide breakdown cover and an anual maintenance program to keep this sign in perfect working order 24 hrs a day.

We are contracted to be on site and make repairs within 24 hrs of a fault occurring 6 personel are trained to use the unique access equipment that alows us to drop down face of the building to carry out the maintenance required to keep this multi million pound advertisment in top condition.

More information about Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus used to be surrounded by illuminated advertising hoardings on buildings, starting in the early 1900s, but only one building now carries them, the one in the north-western corner between Shaftesbury Avenue and Glasshouse Street. The site is unnamed (usually referred to as Monico after the Café Monico which used to be on the site); its addresses are 44/48 Regent Street, 1/6 Sherwood Street, 17/22 Denman Street and 1/17 Shaftesbury Avenue, and has been owned by property investor Land Securities Group since the 1970s.

The earliest signs used incandescent light bulbs, these were replaced with neon lamps, as well as moving signs (there was a large Guinness clock at one time). From December 1998 digital projectors were briefly used for the Coke sign, while the early 2000s have seen a gradual move to LED displays. The number of signs has reduced over the years as the rental costs have increased.

As of 2008, the site has six illuminated advertising screens above three large retail units, facing Piccadilly Circus on the north side, occupied by Boots, and GAP and a mix of smaller retail, restaurant and office premises fronting the other streets. A Burger King located under the Samsung advert which had been previously a Wimpy Bar until the late 1980s had closed in early 2008 and is presently being converted into a Barclays Bank.

Coca-Cola have had a sign at Piccadilly Circus since 1955. The current sign dates from September 2003, when the previous digital projector board and the site formerly occupied by Nescafé was replaced with a state-of-the-art LED video display that curves round with the building. On November 23 2007 the very first film was broadcast through the board. Paul Atherton's film The Ballet of Change: Piccadilly Circus was allowed five minutes to show the first non-commercial film depicting the history of Piccadilly Circus and the lights. The former Nescafé advert site had also been occupied by a neon advertisement for Fosters until about 1999 and for three months in 2002 between the display of the Nescafé advert and the enlarged Coca Cola advert this part of Piccadilly Circus had featured the quote "Imagine all the people living life in peace" by the late Beatle John Lennon. This was paid for by his wife Yoko Ono who spent an estimated £150,000 to display an advert at this location.

Sanyo's sign is the oldest out of the six, the current incarnation having been installed in the late 1980s and remaining unchanged ever since. However, earlier Sanyo signs with older logos have occupied that position since at least 1980.

TDK replaced the space formerly occupied by Kodak in 1990. Their sign has remained almost unchanged since, although in 2001 the colour of the background lamps were changed from green to blue, and the words 'Audio & Video Tape' and 'Floppy Disks' under the logo was removed.

McDonald's added a sign in the mid-1980s, replacing one for BASF. In 2001 the sign was changed from neon to an animated LED screen, which was further changed to a bigger, brighter LED screen in 2008.

Samsung replaced a sign for Panasonic in November 1994, and the sign was upgraded from neon to LED in 2005.

Piccadilly Lite was added on 3 December 2007, placed under the Samsung and McDonald's signs. This is an LED screen that allows other companies to advertise for both short and long term leases, increasing the amount of advertising space but using the same screen for multiple brands.

The British mobile telephony company Vodafone used to have a neon sign installed on the roof of Coventry House, which diagonally faces Piccadilly Circus. In addition to the logo of the company, the sign displayed personal messages that could be submitted on a special website and displayed at a certain time and date. As of February 2007, this has been replaced by a new, larger LED video-advertising display for LGE, the British arm of South Korean electronics group LG. The new display also incorporates a scrolling ticker of Sky News headlines.

On special occasions the lights are switched off, such as the deaths of Winston Churchill in 1965 and Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. On 21 June 2007 they were switched off for 1 hour as part of the Lights Out London campaign.

Did you know...

  • Coca-Cola has been present on the site since 1955. The new sign, installed in 2003, reacts to light and rain.
  • The statue which stands in front of the lights and is commonly referred to as 'Eros' is, in fact, a representation of the Angel of Christian Charity.
  • The new Samsung sign emits a staggering 5,000 nits of brightness.
  • Over 50 brands have appeared on the signs over the last 100 years.
  • The lights were turned off to mourn the deaths of Churchill and Lady Diana and most recently as part of ''Lights out for London''.
  • The lights have been visible since Edwardian times. The Perrier sign, for instance, was first illuminated in 1908.

Facts and figures

  • 2,580,240 people in taxis pass the site each year
  • 17,123,600 people see the lights from coaches or buses per year
  • 34,274,552 pedestrians walk past the lights every year
  • 2,436,564 people drive past the lights in cars per year
  • 701 square metres of advertising space
  • 774,144 mumber of pixels in the new Coca-Cola sign

The Piccadilly Circus site through the ages

1896 - Piccadilly Circus before the turn of the 20th Century.
1931 - The Empire State Building is erected, becoming the world's tallest tower at that time.
1935 - The British Post Office introduces the telegram.
1939 - 1949 - The lights were switched off for 10 years during World War Two.

1960 - The epic film Ben Hur wins a record 11 Oscars, penning the phrase 'Bigger than Ben Hur.'

1963 - The Beatles release 'From me to you' - their first of eleven consecutive British number one singles.


1965 - Diana Vreeland, Editor of Vogue Magazine, declares that "London is the most swinging city in the world."

1966 - England defeat Germany to win the football World Cup.

1967 - Twiggy changes the face of fashion.


1972 - The VW Beetle becomes the biggest selling car in history, overtaking the T model Ford.

1978 - The first ever arcade video game, Space Invaders, goes on sale in Japan.

1981 - IBM launches the first personal computer using a Microsoft operating system.


1989 - The Berlin Wall comes down after separating East and West Germany for 28 years.

1990 - The 'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister.

1991 - Michael Schumacher makes his Formula 1 debut in the Belgian Grand Prix, he went on to win the Championship seven times.


1992 - The English Premier League is officially formed, Manchester United win the inaugural season.

1995 - The first DVD is introduced.

2000 - The UK seemingly strolls through the Millennium Bug disaster.


2003 - Astronomers use an advanced satellite to determine that the Universe is 13.7 billion years old.

2005 - Ten Live 8 concerts take place around the world in order to 'Make Poverty History.'

2006 - The 1 billionth song is purchased from Apple iTunes.


2006 - The Space Shuttle Discovery returns safely to Earth from the International Space Station and Action Signs are responsible for the maintenance of the Sanyo Sign

2007 - For over 100 years Piccadilly Lights has been imbedded in London's history, a beacon of success...