Monday, September 19, 2011

Blog #2 Changes: A Perspective on the History of Advertising

By: Matthew Larson

            Advertising has changed dramatically throughout its long history.  It has shown bold messages with enormous amounts of diversity over time.   The oldest forms of advertising date back to before America was even colonized. As times changed and people evolved, the messages being sent to people had to be more persuasive and powerful.  Technology was the main driver of how people viewed and responded to advertising.  During the 50’s when television first became popular, messages were heard and many people got to visualize what the advertisement was describing to them. While it is certain that when the television came out, advertising would be forever changed; there is still a place for other types of media to translate messages.
            Back in the early 1830’s a publisher for the New York Herald named James Gordon Bennett revolutionized advertising by utilizing advertising to lower the cost of newspapers.  This idea changed how long a newspaper would advertise a certain message.  By doing this, advertisers could determine the effectiveness of the messages from week to week or in some cases on a daily basis.  Bennett also understood the entertainment value behind having ads that changed constantly.  Bennett knew that because there were very few magazines and radio outlets, his newspaper could benefit from having attractive advertisements.  They were looked at for days and weeks after the initial issue date to see if there were effective messages. 
Along with the newspapers, other businesses also turned to advertising. Large department stores in rapidly expanding cities, assistend in creating new advertising styles.  Total advertising volume in the United States grew from about $200 million in 1880 to nearly $3 billion in 1920.  Clearly advertising was changing the way Americans spent money.  With money becoming a larger factor, advertising agencies were started to manage high profile clients and businesses.  High demand for specific marketing concepts grew and triggered a new area of copywriting thoughts, ideas and artwork displayed in ads. This led to the growth of American knowledge and a control of Advertising over Media.  
Usually the ads are trying to sell a product or basic idea, but this is only an initial response to the question. Does it aim to persuade readers to buy something for the first time or to switch brands? The tobacco industry, has consistently stated that the ads for their cigarettes are aimed at maintaining brand loyalty or inducing smokers to their products. The most famous movement in target audience came in 1955, when the Leo Burnett agency rejunvinated advertising for Marlboro cigarettes. Burnett introduced the Marlboro man, which portrayed a model of rugged a cowboy on horseback, smoking “a cigarette designed for men that women like.” Marlboro eventually became the world’s top-selling cigarette brand. The Marlboro man became a recognized icon for many years to follow.
            Television advertising is the most recent and most popular form of marketing in the 21st century.  Networks get paid to place advertisements in certain time slots to reach target markets.  This works out for marketing firms, businesses and network television stations, because everyone is eventually profiting from the advertising.  The marketing firm’s job is to create an effective message; overtime ad agencies have evolved in their deliveries and creativity of messages to effectively reach different target markets.  This reflection of businesses has positively helped growth and stabilization, it will continue be the largest way to reach consumers.
            Advertising will always change and develop new areas to display marketing concepts.  This history of ads has changed dramatically and is a direct reflection of how technology and consumers have evolved.  Continuation of this is critical for businesses as they are as advanced as the consumers.  New ideas and advancement will determine whether or not a company can survive in the ever-changing advertising world.

A Brief History of Advertising in America, by: William M. O'Barr , Advertising Educational Foundation 2005
Fleming, Thomas. "How It Was in Advertising: 1776-1976", Chicago: Crain Books, 1976 p.6
Goodrum, Charles and Helen Dalyrmple. Advertising in America: The First Two-Hundred Years. New York: Harry N. Adrams, 1990

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