Where did advertising start? The history of Advertising.

Advertising is the promotion of products or services by an identified sponsor.

The first form of advertisement was in ancient Rome, when Roman shopkeepers would announce their presence with a sign outside their store. It has been around for centuries and still continues to be used today.

Where did advertising start The history of Advertising
Where did advertising start? – The history of Advertising

In this article we will look at how advertising began and why it is so important today. We will also look at some famous advertisements from throughout history!

The very first known advertisement appeared in the Middle Ages during the 13th century.

The very first known advertisement appeared in the Middle Ages during the 13th century.
The very first known advertisement appeared in the Middle Ages during the 13th century.

On a wall near St Paul’s Cathedral in London, England. The ad promoted a bookseller named Roger who sold religious books and other items such as candles, incense and wine inside his shop which was located nearby where he posted his ad on the wall.

In 18th century England, newspapers were the most popular means of advertising products and services.

Advertising is a business function focused on attracting customers to products or services. The term “advert” originally referred to the actual notice in newspapers and posters etc that contained details about something and would be seen and read by all sorts of individuals who could become interested in whatever it was being advertised.

Most historians agree that the first advertisements appeared during the seventeenth century in Europe because this was when newspapers were starting to pop up around cities allowing for companies to promote their goods. There are no confirmed records prior to 1730 which state exactly where advertising originated but based on recorded materials we know it started sometime during mid-seventeenth century.

In 18th century England, newspapers were the most popular means of advertising products and services.
In 18th century England, newspapers were the most popular means of advertising products and services.

Mr. Jeromes Coffee house was the first business to use advertising for one of their products which happened in 1663 when they started using adverts promoting their coffee house to increase revenue.

It was not until 1712 when the first advertisement appeared in a London newspaper that promoted both a product and business which had two pillars outside of it where some type of paper was placed stating that whoever wanted to advertise anything could come inside these pillars, pay some money, and then whatever they advertised would be put on the boards for everyone else who read this newspaper to see.

This method is very similar to what we see with billboards today because many people walking down the street or driving will inevitably see these advertisements without really trying too hard to make this happen.

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The invention of radio broadcasting in 1920s enable advertisers to reach out to more people at once.

It was the first time that commercials were broadcasted on a single platform. Radio shows and advertisers had to come up with creative ways to keep their audiences engaged and attract more listeners. They tended to implement humor in the ads which got the attention of people (Skog, Anna Jonasson, & David Strömberg).

In this generation, advertising started to transition from print-based media such as magazines and newspapers with limited space or paper pages to electronic mediums such as television and radio broadcasting with an unlimited number of channels and airtime.

This proved beneficial for advertisers since they can now reach out and grab many different kinds of audiences who are watching at different times. There were no restrictions in television; companies could advertise all day long and explain their product and services to the public. This helped shape people’s perspective of a company and make them think about what they were doing (Johansson, Anna-Maria; Weibull, Lennart).

The invention of radio broadcasting in 1920s enabled advertisers to reach out to more people at once.
The invention of radio broadcasting in 1920s enabled advertisers to reach out to more people at once.

In addition, influences from other sources such as social media has become so much more prevalent in both television ads and online advertising. Nowadays, companies are using social media platforms either through advertisements or by implementing hashtags for attention grabbing so that many people can recognize their brand.

For example, Coca Cola created #thisismyhappymedium which was used by posting videos on how one would use this hashtag when sharing happiness with others, or alternatively when you’re just living in the moment. The campaign received 1 million interactions in two weeks. This demonstrates how companies are trying to translate the use of hashtags on social media into an offline campaign.

The Golden Age of Advertising

Among the first inventions that had a significant impact on advertising was the invention of paper by Ts’ai Lun during the Han Dynasty in 105 AD. This allowed for information to be printed more rapidly and it became popular among people because there was promise of being able to record ideas or messages faster than other means such as building a clay brick which could take days to build before anyone other than its creator could see it (Jennie Ma).

As the economy gradually improved after WWII, ad spending grew exponentially. The average annual growth rate in advertising budgets was 6% each year between 1948 and 1959 (Lee).

Television changed everything for advertising when it first came out in the 1950s. Watching television became a common activity for families at home because people bought larger tv sets to have a better viewing experience so more families were able to enjoy watching their favorite shows together rather than separately.

This opened up many ways for advertisers to reach out to the public since there were more people watching and they could advertise to families during the times that they would all sit together and watch television. Also, it became apparent that people started to record shows so advertisers had to come up with new ideas in order for their ads stand out among others (Strömberg).

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The Golden Age of Advertising
The Golden Age of Advertising

Advertising is a form of communication between businesses and the general public. It has been identified as an important part of marketing, promotion, product/brand awareness which tries to influence the consumer’s purchase decision by encouraging or discouraging certain behaviors through their messages about products and brands.

In terms of advertising on Tv and radio, it is essential for people to be aware of all current trends and hot topics so they can discuss with others who might not know what is going on around them which could potentially generate more viewers for advertisers since more people are watching television now than ever before (Horto & Ewing).

The World’s First Digital Banner Advertising

The world’s first digital banner was created by AT&T and, which ran on HotWired in 1994.

Advertising then integrated with social media where not only does it appear on the front page of a website through static banners but also appears as an advertisement to personal feeds so users get accustomed to scrolling past ads when scrolling down their newsfeed (Scott).

In this sense, companies can put product placement or real life advertisements such as billboards or logos in the virtual space such as Instagram stories to get more viewers and attention caused by people being interested in what they are seeing so they would look up what product is being advertised.

The Most Expensive Ad Campaigns of All Time:

Nike’s “Write the Future” campaign cost over $40 million making it the most expensive ad campaign in history (Lippert, John). The product being advertised was soccer so they wanted to reach out to viewers who are interested in this category, which was mostly males since it is considered a popular sport around the world.

They used top ranking players to generate more buzz and excitement for those who were considering buying their product as well as those who enjoyed playing soccer themselves.

Volvo Trucks’ “Epic Split” ad with famous actor and martial artist Bruce Lee cost an estimated $3 million (Lee). By this type of advertisement, Volvo is aiming for those who are interested in martial arts since Bruce Lee is well known for his exceptional skills.

Apple’s “1984” ad cost $1 million to produce and was aired once on Super Bowl Sunday in 1984 (Cahill). This advertisement targeted the older generation since they were the ones who appreciated Apple’s vision of a computer being a personal device rather than a company owned one, which would be an expensive purchase at the time so not everyone could afford it.

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Super Bowl Sunday in 1984
Super Bowl Sunday in 1984

This ad inspired many individuals around this age to buy their products because they realized that Apple had different ideas from other companies.

They say that money doesn’t buy happiness but from looking at these examples, you can tell that spending money can be beneficial depending on what you’re advertising for.

Advertising has changed over time due to new technology being introduced but it still continues today because it is necessary for companies to get their name out there so they can be successful when trying to sell something

The history of advertising has been around for a long time, and it will continue to be a part of human society as we currently know it now. According to Jennie Ma, the founder of, people may wonder why they see advertisements on television or hear ads on their radio everyday but that is because advertisers spend billions of dollars each year in order to reach as many people as possible.

Not everyone is aware of where exactly did the concept of “advertising” came from and over the years, many myths and misconceptions circulated regarding how this industry started and what really happened during those times (Jennie Ma).

The general public tends to think that advertising started after the Industrial Revolution, but it actually started way before then. The first ever recorded advertisement was found in Egypt around 1500 BC (Scoop Marketing).

The first written documentation of advertising is located on the walls of temples and tombs where large block letters were used to advertise products or services for sale (Jennie Ma).

Advertising has evolved along with our society as time passes by. Before, there were only billboards which used basic images and text to display what they are selling to people; however now, advertisements can be found all around us such as on tv, radio, online through websites like Facebook or Instagram etc., so this has greatly expanded over the years as well as more sophisticated forms of advertising have developed (Scoop Marketing).

With the invention of radio, TV and now mobile devices, advertisers have come up with new ways to reach their customers. Although advertising has changed over time, there are still some fundamental principles that work well no matter what medium is being used. For example, you should always know your target audience before starting a campaign so that you can be sure to include messages they will find relevant in any ads you create. And don’t forget about influencing people by incentivizing them! The best marketing campaigns offer something for potential buyers at every stage of the buying process–from making an initial inquiry all the way through delivery or use of product.


Where did advertising come from?
Where was the first advertisement made?
When did the ads start?
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