History of Advertising Pt.1

February 5, 2013

This month we are looking at how advertising has changed through the ages. Not only the mediums and companies themselves, but society trends that can be seen through advertising. The advertising industry goes way back through history and as new inventions opened the world to reading, they also offered new ways to market a business. We will go through some of the major events that shaped advertising through the ages.

The Egyptians used papyrus to promote sales. Political campaigns have been found in ruins in Pompeii and ancient Arabia. Wall painting advertising can be trace as far back as 4000BC. During the middle ages advertising included handbills and in the 17th century advertisements began appearing in newspapers due to the advancement of the printing press. The 19th century saw the advance of new types of advertising including mail-order. It was not until 1836 that a French newspaper, LaPresse, included paid advertising for the purpose of lowering the cost of paper to the consumer. This new market for advertising became the catalyst for advertising agencies to open world-wide.

The 1920’s brought the first radio stations and following the lead of the newspaper offered time to promote businesses to the consumers on the radio. Most of this paid advertising was done in the form of one business sponsoring a program. Remember in A Christmas Story, Ovaltine sponsored the Little Orphan Annie’s radio show & her secret decoder pin?

Watch how Ralphie discovers the cruel ways of the world:

It didn’t take long for radio stations to quickly figure out that selling multiple business advertising opportunities would make more money.

With the dawn of television in the late 1940’s, television stations followed suit and began advertising on their stations. The 1960’s became known as the Creative Revolution and creativity was really allowed to shine on the commercials produced. This era of modern advertising promoted a “position” or “unique selling proposition designed to associate each brand with a specific idea in the consumer’s mind. This brings us to the 1980’s and forward, which will be covered in our next blog.

Take a look back at some of this history in TV and notice the societal differences from “back in my day”

Did you know Fred Flintstone & his neighbor, Barney, sold cigarettes for Winston back in 1954?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYvOgnabABU

In the 60’s Folger’s Coffee told everyone that the key to a happy marriage is a good cup of coffee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_q413J6D5I

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