History of Advertising
1. The Home of Advertising
In 1729 Benjamin Franklin published the Pennsylvania Gazette in Philadelphia with pages of “new advertisements.” By 1784 The Pennsylvania Packet & Daily Advertiser, America’s first successful daily newspaper, starts in Philadelphia.
Many publications banned advertising while others limited the space to one column width. However by 1870 there were over 5,000 newspapers in circulation which carried advertising and the demand for advertising services was rapidly growing.
2. Newspaper Advertising Agents
Early advertising agents were essentially resellers of newspaper space. The field had a shady reputation from the unscrupulous practice of buying large blocks of newspaper space at a discount and reselling tiny bits at highly inflated prices.
The strategy of early advertising was to convince the buyer of the quality of the product. A flattering illustration of the product, numerous descriptions extolling its virtues or testimonials from prominent citizens were commonly used. Later product claims gave way to elaborate stories of purchases that rewarded the buyer with success, popularity or romance.
3. Early Philadelphia Agencies
Volney Palmer opened the first advertising agency in Philadelphia in 1841 and is possibly the first person to use the term “advertising agency.”
N. W. Ayers & Son. In 1869, 21 year old Francis Wayland Ayer opens a firm named after his father, N. W. Ayer. Despite rejecting alcoholic beverage and patent medicine accounts, the firm was so successful that by 1877 it acquired the remains of the original Volney Palmer agency and therefore laid claim to the claim “oldest advertising firm in the US.”
N.W. Ayer & Son introduced the open contract, a practice which would alter the history of advertising forever. The open contract guaranteed clients the lowest possible rates the agency could negotiate with publications. Commission was later added and ranged from 8.5% to 15%. By 1909, the open contract became known as “O.C. + 15″ by the agency, and the 15% commission later became an industry standard.
By 1884 the firm started to offer advertising but it was wasn’t until 1892 that writers and artists worked together in creative teams. N. W. Ayer moved to New York City in 1973 and closed when acquired by the Publicis Groupe (based in Paris, France) in 2002.
4. The Science of Advertising
Psychologist and professor Walter Dill Scott introduced the study of psychology as an important element in advertising in his book The Psychology of Advertising in Theory and Practice (1902). As part of his work he questioned consumers about their reactions to various advertisements — the beginning of market research.
In the advertising magazine, Printers Ink, he declared “The successful advertiser, either personally or through his advertising department, must carefully study psychology. He must understand how the human mind acts. He must know what repels and what attracts. He must know what will create an interest and what will fall flat. He must be a student of human nature and he must know the laws of the human mind.”
Ernest Elmo Calkins’s Business Triangle from The Art of Modern Advertising, 1905. Caukins made the link between advertising and the consumer, retailer and manufacturer.”The mediums have been analyzed and classified; the goods manufactured, wrapped and named with a better idea of the purchaser’s habits and needs, the consumers located and studied; their purchasing power tabulated; their shopping habits ascertained.”
“American forged from her press a power which has made her shop keeping the most wonderful in the world. The shop and the newspaper joined forces and the result is modern advertising.” …Caukins