History of Advertising Methods


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A brief introduction to the history of advertising methods …

Advertising methods have been around for a long time – as long as there has been trading and business, Business Owners have been looking to use the best advertising methods to promote their products and services to customers.

Of course, when trading had just begun, the methods and advertising techniques would have been fairly primitive compared to the many effective advertising methods Business Owners can choose from today.


One thing has never changed, and that is the need to communicate and to persuade. Whenever there has been advertising, Business Owners have been perfecting techniques to convince customers to take action and buy.

The Earliest Advertising Methods

Commercial messages, adverts and sales text has been traced back to the Roman ruins of Pompeii and early Egyptian papyrus. When we study the history of advertising methods we can even find evidence that some of the cave paintings dating back as far as 4000 BC could have served as the very earliest billboards.

As populations developed in urban centres and later with the invention of the printing press commercial messages and new advertising methods began to emerge. From the earliest newspapers to the ringing voices of Town Criers marketing and advertising techniques were starting to take hold.

Paid for Advertising Methods

It is thought that the first paid for newspaper ads were in the French newspaper, La Presse. At the time this was revolutionary and enabled the paper to compete better by lowering its sale price.

 

Women in Advertising 

At the turn of the last century women were still working in the home but advertising became one of the few sectors which could offer work to women as it was believed their role as chief purchasing agents for the home could offer insight into the development of creative advertising methods.

 

Radio Advertising

Initial radio adverts – as early as the 1920s – tended to focus on selling… that’s right, more radios! But of course in no time, the airwaves were starting to carry an array of commercial messages. This began with organisations communicating their advertising messages by sponsoring programmes. Later of course, commercial radio came along – entirely funded by the revenues from promoting the best radio advertising methods.

 

Television Advertising Methods

It was the 1950s when TV advertising arrived and the new practice of multiple sponsors eventually gave way to the commercial break. Famously the advertising on television started in with the creation of the soap opera – drama created with the express purpose of enabling the soap manufacturers to reach the housewives of the nation with their ever more effective advertising methods.

The Golden Age of Advertising

History of Advertising Methods

History of Advertising Methods - The Golden Age on Madison Avenue

British Ad Man, David Ogilvy set up shop on Madison Avenue in 1949. At the time TV was emerging as the dominant force for selling most products. Ogilvy and his peers are often described as having driven ‘The Golden Age of Advertising’. They saw beyond selling product. They realised that there was art, glamour and behind it all, serious money to be made from the best advertising methods.

At the end of the day, Advertising was about Sell, Sell, Sell…

In his book ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’, David Ogilvy said, “I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”

 

Modern Advertising Methods

The 1980s saw the arrive of MTV which enabled a totally new type of focus for ad the Ad Men. This channel was all about the advertising and the consumer tuned in for it, rather than the advertising being an interruption.  With the explosion of channels in the world of cable TV, so emerged specific advertising channels like QVC, Home Shopping Network and Infomercial channels which simply communicated advertising messages 24 hours a day.

 

Online & Mobile Advertising

By 1995 the internet had started to take hold but very few people had begun to imagine its commercial potential. Email was beginning to become a method of communicating and it would eventually emerge as an effective online advertising method.

Banner ads were the norm in the early days but they were soon superseded by pop ups and hover ads.

The next generation realised that such intrusive advertising methods were less than popular with web users and as click through rates for banner advertising fell year by year, online marketers started to prefer opt in marketing methods where niche targets would sign up to receive your marketing messages.

The most recent chapter in the history of advertising methods has been the explosion of mobile advertising driven by the iPhone and rise and rise of the smartphone and iPad or tablet. Coupled with GPS technology in the devices, today’s modern advertising methods are ever more sophisticated and are able to offer precision targeted, time sensitive offers to specific individuals at just the right time to tempt them to spend.

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Advertising History – An overview and conclusion…

In summary, this history of advertising methods shows us one thing. While the advertising methods have evolved as technology has progressed, the human condition has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Business Owners still need to persuade. Consumers still look for the best offers, deals and they rely on the latest advertising methods to introduce the offers and new products they crave.

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