The history of advertising ranges throughout the centuries, following the available communication methods. However, whether through newspapers or virtual reality devices, advertisers follow the same basic principles to achieve the same goals. Advertisers may want to persuade public opinion towards a product, a course of action, a candidate, or any other cause. Read on to learn about the long history of advertising as it traveled to the modern-day.
A Note on Political Freedom
No matter the thing being advertised, all advertisement shares two things in common: that public persuasion is the goal and that advertising can only exist in countries that are free from Communism.
That may sound like a political statement out of left field, but this is the first aspect of advertising history that must be understood. The free world can persuade people to support products or causes because they have a choice of which to buy or support. In a Communist country, candidates do not have to always follow advertising principles because their people are not really free to choose who or what they support.
In this way, modern advertising can be considered a watermark of a free society. If people have the ability to choose a political candidate or a company to support, then advertising still applies. The history of advertising relies on this prerequisite.
The Early History of Advertising
Unlike the history of other trades, advertising needed reasonably modern civilization to work. Word of mouth advertising in medieval times did the trick, but printing satisfied the real need to turn advertising into a profession and a craft. This means that the real history of modern advertising begins with print in the 1600s and 1700s.
Later, newspapers in London brought advertising to the true mainstream. Advertising history followed business expansion throughout the industrial revolution to become the profession it is today.
The Modern History of Advertising
The 1800s saw a huge expansion in business, which necessitated rising attention given to advertising. The first ad agencies formed in the United States. Essentially they organized and negotiated newspaper space between prospective advertisers, eventually inventing the ads themselves. By the 1920s, ad agencies could create ad campaigns for their clients from the ground up.
Newspapers and then magazines provided the main outlet for agencies to get their clients’ word out there. Of course, the invention of radio and later television broadcasts brought with it renewed interest in the composition of advertisements. Agencies had to rethink their game to make advertising work in the new mediums. They transitioned to targeted campaigns as companies created their own ad departments to manage their products’ public image. Now, marketing is a full-fledged degree field and lucrative professional industry that goes way beyond verbal and print ads, but still retains the basic principles of ancient advertising to this day.
History of Advertising: The Takeaway
The history of advertising follows both technology and civilization through many developmental phases. As print made advertising more viable, television and now computer-based advertising methods have made it a full-fledged craft. Those who hope to pursue advertising should know where it comes from. Though the mediums have changed, the principles of the history of the profession still apply.