As we begin to examine how advertising works and how we may best make
it work for us, it’s important that we first view in proper perspective
this marketing activity that has been going for so many centuries. Let’s
look at advertising in the past, at the part it has played historically
in our lives. Advertising has changed, as we have changed. If you had
been a young Roman soldier in the occupation army in Gaul, spending an
afternoon at the chariot races at the stadium at Names, you would have
been exposed to advertising.
If you, in your former life, were a tall straight-nosed Grecian beauty
strolling the streets of Corinth, with your market basket on your ears
would have assailed by the cries of street vendors broad calling their
wares for sale. On walls and buildings you would have read
advertisements of a wide variety of products and, most likely, there
would have been some “lost – and – found” notices too.
Because the notices on Roman walls often began with the Latin words si
quis (If anyone) as in ‘If anyone has information’, or, “If anyone
wishes to obtain”, for many centuries afterward any poster advertisement
in England or in America was known as a siqui?
The Advertising Broker
It was in this time of the growing attractiveness of periodicals to the
national advertiser that the modern advertising agency had its
beginning. Brokers purchased space from publications at whole sale
rates, and resold space to the advertiser at whatever markup the cold
In a larger sense, however, the agency’s chief service in this early
period was to promote the general use of advertising, and to aid in
discovering cheaper and more effective ways of marketing goods.
The shift from “advertising broker” to “advertising agent” was very
important; the emphasis had been changed from working for the interests
of the publication to serving the interests of the advertiser. Thus
today all of the advertising agency’s services are directed toward
helping the advertiser achieve his marketing goals.
Advertising Grows up
In the fist decades of the 20th century, advertising underwent two
marked and significant changes. The first was the recognition by
advertising of its responsibilities to society and business. This
recognition of responsibility was evidenced by the formation of numerous
organizations whose goals were the improvement in the effectiveness of
advertising and control over its taste and honesty.
The second significant development in the early 1900s was the emergence
of the nation and regional advertising agency in much the same forms as
we recognize it today. Advertising agencies are tightly geared just to
provide the advertiser with all those services that will enable him to
invest his advertising dollars most effectively.
The New Face of Advertising
The third development in modern advertising, and perhaps the most
interesting and significant of all, occurred in the first decades of the
last century. Their ingenuity, imagination, and restless curiosity
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