Evolution of Advertising

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Evolution of Advertising|
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Amrit Keyal|
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Introduction

The first advertisement may have been a sign painted on a wall of a building. The early outdoor-advertising competitors were town criers employed by merchants to praise their goods. It was Gutenberg’s invention of the moveable-type printing press in 1450 that resulted in the mass production of posters and circulars. The first advertisement printed in English was a handbill printed in 1472. It was primarily an announcement of a prayer book for sale. Two hundred years later, the first newspaper ad appeared offering a reward for finding 12 stolen horses. By the 17th century, classified ads were appearing frequently in England’s newsweeklies. These ads featured simple descriptions of products and their prices. Illustrations and colour appeared in advertisements in the late 19th century. The first advertising agency, which was set up by Volney Palmer in Boston in 1841, introduced the commission system to the business by offering a discount of 25% on ad space in newspapers. This move marked the formal beginning of space selling. Initially, most ad agencies were nothing more than brokers for ad space in newspapers. Advertisers created their own ads. N.W. Ayer & Son became the first full-service agency in 1869. By 1861 there were 20 advertising agencies in New York City alone. Among them was J. Walter Thompson, today the oldest American advertising agency in continuous existence. Radio became a commercial medium in the 1920s. One of the earliest highly successful advertising campaigns was launched by Pears Soap. In the late 19th century, Thomas Barratt, whom many consider the father of modern advertising, launched a series of ads featuring children, animals, flowers, and beautiful women to promote the company’s products.

Propaganda and Mechanization
During World War I, advertising became a medium for propaganda. Governments used advertising to persuade their citizens...
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