The start of modern advertising

Modern advertising began when print­ing was invented, about 500 years ago. The first English printer, William Cax- ton, printed a poster advertising pies; that was in the year 1480, twelve years before America was discovered by Chris-topher Columbus. It wasn’t long before someone thought of publishing a news­paper, and it wasn’t long after that that someone else thought of advertising in a newspaper; it was done in Germany as early as 1591, and in England in 1625. Since that time, or for more than 300 years, nearly every newspaper has pub­lished paid advertisements. But until quite a short time ago, these were not much more than printed notices, all look­ing alike as do classified advertisements in today’s newspapers. And in England the advertisements almost always cov­ered the front page of the newspaper.

The news began farther back. The kind of advertising we see today was born and grew entirely in the United States. It was an American invention; and it remains an American specialty. The first ad in America appeared in the Boston News Letter, a newspaper published in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1704. It was a plain notice, just like the ones in England and European countries. For about 150 years American advertis-ing stayed that way. Then it began to change. Ads began to have clever pic­tures and forceful “copy,” written in such a way that people would want to come and buy. Much of the credit for bringing about this change belongs to the advertising agency. The first agency was opened in 1840, in Philadelphia; others came along in the following years, and by the 1870s there were several.

 Here for the first time were men whose only interest was advertising—planning it, buying it, sell­ing it, and making it pay. In fliany ways our lives would be much different today if it were not for the revolution in adver­tising brought about by the advertising agencies. how an advertising agency works An advertising agency is a company, often a very big one, where everyone is an expert on something connected with advertising. There is the layout man, who knows how to fit printing type and pictures together for the greatest “eye appeal.” There is the media man, who knows how many people read each maga­zine, and what kind of people they are, and what kind of merchandise can be sold to them.

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