A Series of Fortunate Advertising Milestones

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Anyone who’s ever watched an episode of the AMC TV show smash hit Mad Men probably thinks that they know a few things about how to advertise effectively and how to promote a product (Spoiler alert: these strategies for effective advertising mostly just involve expensive cocktails and slick-looking New York men in crisp suits). But the industry fueling modern-day public relations agencies and interactive ad agencies has a pretty interesting history.

Don’t believe it? Take a quick look at the timeline below…

1704: The year that the first paid advertisement was printed and distributed in the U.S. It appeared in the Boston News Letter (a printed publication, of course) and the advertisement was for a piece of real estate on Oyster Bay on Long Island. That’s right — it’s been well over 300 years since businesses and individuals began paying for advertisements. And for a really, really long time, printed sources (i.e. newspapers and magazines) were the primary platforms for effective advertising. In fact…

1938: Was the year that radio ads became more profitable than printed advertisements. This shift in advertising was a pretty big milestone for the industry, and radio ads still remain important today. But it took a long time for the conventional radio ad to be developed, and it took a while to convince people that radio ads were extremely cost-effective. The print industry didn’t exactly suffer from this new development, but that’s changed a bit since the 1930s…

2000: In this year, U.S. ad agencies earned a total revenue of $8.1 billion; experts predicted back then that ad agencies would make about $42 billion by 2013, largely because the ways in which advertisements are created and distributed have changed and expanded. The most effective advertising campaigns are no longer limited to radio ads and newspaper ads (the newspaper and magazine industry actually isn’t doing too well at all these days, to be honest).

And that brings us up to modern day advertising, which is becoming increasingly digital faster than anyone could have predicted. The main benefit here? Any business can create a comprehensive advertising campaign, because online platforms allow ads to be created and distributed at a very low cost.

But for what it’s worth, a fancy cocktail and a crisp suit never hurts. Reference links.

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