Ages of Advertising

Essay by texasgirl84College, UndergraduateC, November 2014

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Ages of Advertising Assignment


Advertising has come a long way from the simple signs on shops to its powerful influence today. Advertising has been a major factor in improving the standard of living in the United States and around the world. The history of advertising, and its endless search for competitive advantage and efficiency has made advertising's journey truly fascinating. With changing economies and increased competition, advertising has evolved from the preindustrial age through the industrializing and industrial ages and the birth of ad agencies to the golden age of advertising and finally to the postindustrial age. This paper discusses the transitions between the ages and what factors led to one age ending and the next age beginning.

The Preindustrial Age

During the preindustrial age, advertising was reaching far beyond the simple signage and word of mouth of local merchants. The most significant development in the history of advertising was the introduction of the printing press.

The first form of printing was developed in China and Europe had its first paper mill by 1275. Then in the 1440's Johannes Gutenberg perfected a system of printing in Germany.

This new technology allowed for the mass production of printed materials and quickly replaced the hand written methods of reproduction. Printing changed the way people worked and communicated. Before the invention of the printing press, only a few could read and write, so news travelled by word of mouth. It was not until about a century ago, that the demand for the essentials of life (i.e., food, clothing and shelter) matched or surpassed supply. Printing also provided a way to record facts and important information and more people learned to read and write. The new technology also led to first forms of printed advertising - such as the handbill tacked on church...