History of Advertising

History of AdvertisingAdvertising is an important element of our culture because it reflects and change our life style. The concept of advertising dates back to early civilization. It had to undertake a long journey through the centuries before- it attained its present form. Actually advertising is directly related to the need of man to communicate his message and attract each other. Our knowledge of advertising in ancient times naturally is fragmentary. Early advertising can be traced back to the archaeological evidences available in Greece and Rome. In 3000 B. C. Babylonia merchants hired parkers to hawk their wares to perspective, customers and placed signs over their doorways to indicate what they sold. Advertisements were found on walls in the streets of the excavated Roman city of Pompeii. Another evidence of a piece of papyrus preserved in the British Museum provides the earliest and direct reference to written advertisement. An Egyptian had advertised 3,000 years ago asking for the return of a run away slave. The word of mouth or oral advertisement or spoken publicity was still older. The use of hand bills, posters and newspaper advertisements emerged after Gutenberg which developed movable type in the 15th century. When Benjamin Franklin established the Philadelphia Gazette in 1729, it soon became a favourite medium of advertising. When the weekly Pennsylvania packet and General Advertiser became a daily in 1784, it featured an entire front page of advertisement. In ancient India, some of the typical seals used by the Mohanjodaro and Harrapa people were directly connected. But formally, the history of advertisement in India parallels the history and development of the Indian Press during the past 200 years. In other words we can say that advertising is a father of Journalism. Because the first Indian newspaper started by James August Hickey on January 29, 1780, was called the “Bengal Gazette” or “Calcutta General Advertiser”. It was full of informative advertisement. In 1785, the Bengal Journal published with Government advertisement free of cost. The power of advertising increased rapidly with the growth of trade and commerce. With the Industrial Revolution in our country, the number of advertisements from British Business Houses rose considerably. The Times of India and The Statesman started their own facilities for layout and copy of the advertisement. The development of advertising agency was founded by the development of Indian industries provided by the Swadeshi Movement of 1907-1977. The well known advertising agencies were, The Calcutta Advertising Agency, Alliance Advertising Associates, Publicity Society of India, J.Walter Thompson (Now Hindustan Thompson). During the mid-17th Century, newspaper started appearing in Europe and newspaper advertising was initiated in full swing and large number of advertisement started crowding the newspaper announcing publication of books, new beverages, travel plans and matrimonial offers. All early advertisements were basically only announcement. In England, some of the advertisement, which were known as a “Pioneering advertisements” were Coffee (1652), Chocolates (1657) and Tea (1658). The Industrial revolution, discovery of the growth of transportation facilities, invention of radio and television and revolution in printing technology discovery of the steam power in England and America played a keen role in the development of advertising. After the Second World War and with the independence of India, many British advertising agencies were brought to India by Indian businessman. During the above period print advertising had to be used to raise funds. By 1932 there were 109 advertising agencies in India, advertisement became the main source of revenue of print media. In 1950 the advertisement of cosmetics was on the top of the list of items advertised and in 1960 consumer goods continued to dominate with textile advertisement. 1970 was the important year of the growth of advertising in India. When the ‘Vividh Bharati’ and ‘Doordarshan’ played a great role in the form of commercial broadcasting and telecasting. Now radio commercials made a real dent on the rural audience and urban working class. Besides these many periodicals like ‘India Today’, ‘Bombay’; New Delhi’; Surya’ and various film magazines made their appearance in Indian advertising. The role of tabloids in English and the Indian languages were very popular examples in the field of advertising in India. The programmes and plans of the government were also publicity announcements as also those of the TISCO, DUNCOP, Coltex, Philips, Godrej and Hindustan Lever. These media gradually started emerging as a mutual competitor for advertising revenue also. With the beginning of 21st century, the advertisers themselves became more serious and their approach becomes more sophisticated. Print, Radio, T. V. and Internet Commercials have created deep impact on Indian advertising. Indian advertisement has no doubt to register a rapid growth and has acquired a certain amount of professional character. In India it has played a vital role in the development process by creating a demand for consumer goods and raising a standard of living of millions.

On the government sector, advertisement of the railways also dominated which was soon joined by the public sector advertisement. The massive government campaign for family planning was a new attempt to penetrate into the conservative psyche and practice of Indian massive. Mani Shankar Iyer has also won laurels for his unique campaign on cancer prevention.

In 20th century advertisement bloomed to its full form. More emphasis was laid on advertisement copy. Art services and advertisement production became more and more important.

Reference Article: This article is collected from: Akanksha, S. (n.d.). A study of the impact of social advertisements. University.


Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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