History of advertising

A short description of advertising history, how we achieved what we have in the advertising now.

In our time, advertising has become a vital and an integral part of our society and business. It has found an application in promoting products and services, as well as in the political, charity, religious and social activities promotion.


The advertising is, primarily, a potent communicational tool, able to increase the level of people's knowledge about products or events and to form or even change social opinions and attitudes towards things.

The advertising is a sort of propaganda that has a great influence, and often is a reason for people's actions or decisions.


How did it all start? No one really knows, since it started very long time ago! The presence of the five thousand year documented advertising history states it exists as long as humanity does.

Archeologists have found a table that dates three thousand years B.C. It contains an advertisement of an ointment retailer, who lived in Babylon. Furthermore, the written forms of the advertising were not the only ones, e.g. the Greeks announced the arrival of ships at the ports by a town crier. They went around the city with musicians, who helped them to create the right atmosphere for their message delivery. In many European countries criers were the first advertising Media.

Back in 1100 A.D., in France, inn keepers used some demand stimulation techniques. Criers blew the horns, gathered a crowd of people and invited them to visit the inn and offered to taste some vine.

Roman merchants also used some advertising techniques. In Pompeii, the archeologists have found stone carvings with various advertisements of stores or inns. They used images and headlines for the advertising. The stone advertisements contained the images of food products they sold and hotels had appealing headlines to invite people to choose them for the rest and stay.

The outdoor advertising has turned out to be one of the durable ones. It has outlived the Roman Empire and some examples of it have been spared by time and survived till our days.


In the Medieval centuries, people, for the most part, were uneducated. They could not read, thus, the advertising was mostly carried out by images. The inns and bars competed in the color and image design of their outdoor ads.


In 1614, in England, was issued, possibly, the first law ever about the advertising. It prohibited placing ad posters or bill boards more than eight feet away from the houses. Another law ordered to put ad signs high up for the armed horsemen could ride under them. In London, 1740, the first printed outdoor poster was made.

Certainly, since the advertising is all about communication, its fastest development started with the development of the mass Media.


With the invention of the printing technology by Gutenberg, the advertising began its rapid march through the time and nations to take the position it has achieved now in our society.

The most crucial part in the advertising development happened last century, when the US grew up from a farmers' country to be a great industrial world power. That is where the advertising obtained its big chance to show all its potency.


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