Changes in Advertising Through the Ages – Part 1


Advertising has changed greatly through the years, as new technologies have come then advertising has found different ways of reaching an audience. Also, over the years people’s perception of what they find interesting and what is unacceptable in terms of behavior also has changed and advertisers have had to take this into account also.

Advertising is a difficult thing to get right, you need to know what you are doing. For instance, you would not try to sell life insurance the same way you would as if trying to sell ice cream. But above all, you would not use 1800s methods of advertising to reach a modern audience of 2018. In this blog we look at advertising methods through the ages.

The Late 1800s

Advertising as a medium to gain sales really started to appear in the late part of the 1800s, and at the time they were mostly in the form of newspaper advertisements and bill boards. Thess types of advertisements had a lot of writing, as part of advertising at the time was to prove the product was authentic, if you look at these adverts then it is common that doctors or professionals appear in them to endorse the product.

These advertisements also included a large image to show what the product was, and there is some evidence to suggest that logo’s started to appear in this period. Most of the themes of the advertisements in the 1800s were products that made people’s lives better rather than people needed them for ailments etc.

A New Century

The adverts of the new century in 1900 were changing towards women’s beauty and soap was a firm favorite for advertising. It was depicted as a product that enhanced complexion and often these types of ads were in black and white and drawn by hand. Similar to the previous century, the whole premise of the advertisement was one of telling how bad the competition was, rather than actually extolling the features and benefits of the brand that was being advertised and how good it was.

A decade later in 1910 there was a distinct move to be more scientific in advertising. Rather than saying a particular brand of soap improved the complexion, the ads stated that the soap helped problems. The ads still used a great deal of text, but less than in the previous century. The focus of the advertisements had changed also to that of protecting the skin and health.

The 1920s

Mostly the advertisements of the 1920s were hand drawn, but more color started to appear. Soap advertising again was the most popular and returned to focus on beauty and women. Words such as pretty and dainty were prevalent again referencing the women’s desire for soap. Soap had changed from being something that cleaned to a beauty product that enhanced attraction.

In part two of this blog we enter the 1930s and see the dawn of celebrity marketing as part of advertisements. Soap was still a popular subject for advertising and many newspaper ads still had campaigns by the big soap manufacturers of the day.

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