The History & Background of Advertising
1700’s-1900 Advertising has gone through several periods to be developed to the extent that it is today. Beginning in the 1700’s, the concept of the newspaper began to take hold of the early American Colonies. It wasn’t until 1736 that the concept of advertising became an aspect of newspapers due to its popularization on the count of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin began to use advertisements to sell items such as wine and mathematical instruments, and he used his expertise to teach stores to advertise by utilizing illustrations. With the Stamp Act of 1765, advertising became more relevant than news as colonists responded to the act with several illustrative advertisements. With the growth of towns, lower distribution costs, and cheaper goods, advertising gained a foothold and began to expand rapidly. Advertising grew steadily until it saw a boom in the Wide-Awake Decade of the 1830’s. In 1837, Benjamin Day’s one cent newspaper reached circulation of 30,000 papers. He was able to circulate so many papers because of its low cost relative to other newspapers that sold for five or six cents. His production costs were cut due to his massive advertising revenue. Another product of the Wide-Awake Decade was Phineas Taylor Barnum, who was said to be an economic force himself and probably the biggest contributor to the popularization of advertising. He sold the idea of advertising and was credited with its boom in the second half of the 1800’s. Some other notable events in 19 th century advertising was Volney Palmer’s first advertising agency in Philadelphia in 1843, advertising becoming a profession in the mid-1800’s, the Civil War creating a need for more daily newspapers, economic and population growth, new inventions, the Packaging Revolution, and the creation of characters in advertising. 1900-1930’s Mass marketing to individuals with varied interests became possible with the launch of the Good Housekeeping magazine in 1900. The early 1900’s also witnessed the emergence of full color print ads. Due to rising public concern regarding unethical business practices, the American Association for Advertising Agencies (1917) and the National Better Business Bureau (1925) were launched. In 1922, advertising came under the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, which was created to make unfair 1|P a ge
The History & Background of Advertising
methods of competition unlawful. By the 1920s it became apparent to most advertising agencies that women played a major role in the purchasing decisions of most families; this lead to the creation of full color magazine ads. A car dealer named, Alvin T. Fuller from Massachusetts, paid for the first radio ad in 1922. W. K. Kellogg placed the first print ad for Corn Flakes in six Midwestern newspapers in 1906. In 1911, Woodbury Soap was the first to use sex appeal in advertising with their “The skin you love to touch” campaign. 1930-1940 During the 1930’s, magazine and radio ads were the most popular advertising means. In the first half of the 1930’s, magazines were the most common advertising material. For example, the Advertising age was launched in Chicago in 1930 and Life Magazine published its first edition in 1936. However, Radio ads surpassed magazines as a source of advertising revenue until 1938 when radio became the main mode of advertising. In the early 1940’s, the world’s first legal television commercial was produced, running only ten seconds with a budget of $9. The 1940’s also witnessed the rise of Ted Bates and his founding of a worldwide advertising agency; Ted Bates Inc. Moving further into the 1940’s, Americans were still involved in World War 2, prompting most advertisements to revolve around the war. Some examples included soldier recruitment ads and women labor ads. Following the war, a stronger United States economy generated the advertising of everyday necessities and entertainment with television...
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