Early 19th Century Advertising

When the industrial revolution started, many industries became capable of mass producing products in great quantities with the use of factories and assembly lines. These new abilities created a growing surplus of products and supplies. It was decided by the organisations, that they would need to increase advertising in an effort to create a greater demand for their products.

Before this shift occurred, advertisement operated on a much smaller scale, and was directed mainly toward the rich and upper class. Due to the increase of productivity, industries began to nationalise advertising which gave birth to mass marketing.

In England

Warren’s Shoe Blacking was one of the first nationally advertised household products marketed in the U.K. One of it’s adds is shown to the right. It depicts a cat hissing at it’s own reflection in a freshly polished boot.

The majority of ads were found in news papers, however, many merchants would enlist bill-posters who would go around pasting ads on to walls without consent, which became a problem. In 1839, the Metropolitan Police Act finally made it illegal to post bills without proper consent.

After the industrial revolution was well on it’s way, volume printing became cost effective and more ads began printing on the news papers. There were some limitations on diversity as newspapers banned ads that used large type or illustrations and extended over several columns which led to the creation of the of the “every-ad-the-same-size” rule. Many ads which only contained the company name were considered complete and sufficient.

In America

Because the United States was still a new nation, most advertising was done on a small scale by local merchants within single communities, and most products were sold as raw commodities without brand names. However, as the country began to grow, the demand for more products and services also grew which of course, required advertising.

By the middle of the 19th century, many of the major US news and media organisations began to create rules and regulations for advertisements. One example of these, was a rule to not run an ad copy for more than two weeks. These types of rules forced advertisers to create diversity in the ads, which created a demand for professionals who specialised in creating ads. Newspapers also began paying agents to sell ad space to businesses, as opposed to handling the negotiations themselves.



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