The Evolution of Advertising: From the Tang Dynasty to the 21st Century

Advertising has been around for centuries, and its evolution has been shaped by technological advances, cultural changes, and economic developments. From the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618—907 AD. C.) to the present day, advertising has been used to identify producers, monitor product quality, and draw attention to products. In the 17th century, weekly newspapers in London began to run advertisements, and in the 18th century such advertising flourished.

The world's first television commercial aired on July 1, 1941, during a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. It was a 10-second ad for Bulova Watches, a company that is still in operation today. The period between the 60s and 80s is considered the golden age in the history of advertising. During this period, industry legends such as William Bernbach, David Ogilvy and Mary Wells Lawrence revolutionized the industry and improved standards.

Professionals started thinking about big ideas, relying on psychology and big data, and allocating big budgets. In the 1960s, advertising became a real science with teams of psychologists, focus groups and researchers. In the 21st century, with an intensely competitive consumer market, advertisers increasingly used digital technology to draw more attention to products. Companies in China are increasingly focusing on mobile ads than on TV ads.

In the United States, in the 1960s, public health advocates focused on limiting advertising for tobacco products. With this type of advertising, Volvo targets those who are interested in martial arts, as Bruce Lee is known for his exceptional abilities. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were few career options for women in business; however, advertising was one of the few. In the 1920s, Undersecretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover promoted advertising as part of US government policy. The original announcement kicked off an industry that has grown to generate tens of billions of dollars a year over the past 75 years. In a free-market economy, effective advertising is essential to the survival of a company, since unless consumers are aware of a company's product, they are unlikely to buy it.

This and other strategic decisions are made in light of evidence of effectiveness of advertising campaigns.

Patti Goldenman
Patti Goldenman

General bacon lover. Hipster-friendly travel guru. Proud bacon ninja. Incurable zombie trailblazer. Professional bacon fanatic.

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