Commerce, social trends and technology have all played a role in the history of print advertising. The evolution of print advertising revolutionized the way manufacturers and retailers sold products, and progressed into a major revenue source for publishers. Rooted in simple handbills and newspaper listings, print advertising embraced technology, and today continues to offer new venues for promoting causes and products.
In 1609, an ad appeared in a British newspaper advertising migration opportunities to America. England embraced importation of goods during the 17th century, with advertisements promoting items such as Chinese porcelain, Indian spices and Persian rugs. Print ads often appeared as handbills, and brands did not yet exist. Advertisements often included long text descriptions that explained the origin and use of products.
The Boston News-Letter published the first newspaper ad in Colonial America, which announced the sale of an estate in Oyster Bay, Long Island, in 1704. Publisher Benjamin Franklin founded the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1729, which included pages for advertisements. By the end of the 18th century, the first daily newspaper, the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, had hit the streets in Philadelphia.
The 19th century marked the age of newspaper expansion and the further evolution of print advertising. Benjamin Day established the Sun newspaper in 1833. It had a circulation of 30,000 by 1837. New York City hosted the first advertising agents' convention during the 19th century, and John Wanamaker established the first full-time advertising job at his department store in 1880. By the close of the 19th century, large corporations had fully embraced print advertising, with Proctor and Gamble budgeting $11,000 to advertise its Ivory soap product. Munsey's Magazine revolutionized publishing during 1893 by reducing its newsstand and...