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Topic1:Introduction, History of Advertising

I believe it is important to understand advertising in an evolutionary perspective so as to appreciate the reasons for advertising’s use in a modern industrialized society.  Advertising was spawned by a market-driven system and developed in a capitalistic, free enterprise market economy in which mass production utilized advertising as an essential tool.  Urbanization, transportation expansion and communication advancements all facilitated the use and growth of advertising, the result of which is that advertising is firmly entrenched as a business function in our society with deeply rooted economic and cultural foundations.

Modern advertising exists as a mass media communication and is a result of four major developments:


the rise of capitalism: our society relies on aspects of capitalism in its economic system.  Organizations compete for resources, called capital, in a free market.  Competing for resources involves stimulating a demand for goods.  If successful, the capital (or money or other goods) becomes payment.


the Industrial Revolution.  This began about 1750 in England and spread to the United States where the War of 1812 boosted domestic production.  The emergence of the principle of interchangeable parts and the perfection of the sewing machine, both in 1850, coupled with the Civil War, laid the foundation for widespread industrialization.  The Industrial Revolution changed American society from household self-sufficiency to a marketplace dependence.  What that means is that the individual could no longer produce all goods at home (i.e. farm cow for milk, chickens for eggs, weave their own cloth, grow their own vegetables).  Moving to the city for employment in a factory guaranteed a steady income with which to buy needed goods.  Other developments such as the revolution in transportation (i.e. Henry Ford’s assembly line belt for production of the Model-T Ford) allowed for the mass production of goods which in turn requires mass selling to move those goods.  In 1869 the east-west connection of the United States was achieved by the connection of the railroad and this represented the beginning of a distribution network.  Moving mass quantities of goods was necessary to satisfy the consumer demands which advertising had created.  The rapid growth of the population as well as the growth of cities provided marketplaces essential to advertising.


the manufacturers’ pursuit of power within the channel of distribution.  Manufacturers recognized the advantage of packaging products with trademarks so that the consumer would request their product rather than accept the generic product from the retailer.  The retailer selected stock based on price point, allowing for the most profit.  By branding product, the manufacturer has identified their product and given the consumer choice. For branding to succeed, an economic system has to be advanced enough to feature a national market and have a sufficient communication and distribution infrastructure. Among the first companies to brand their products included Levi’s (1873), Maxwell House Coffee (1873), Budweiser (1876), Coca-Cola (1876), Ivory (1879

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