Commercial Communication before Electricity
Egyptians used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters. Commercial messages and political campaign displays have been found in the ruins of Pompeii and ancient Arabia. The tradition of wall painting can be traced back to Indian rock art paintings that date back to 4000 BC.
As the towns and cities of the Middle Ages began to grow, and the general populace was unable to read, signs that today would say cobbler, miller, tailor or blacksmith would use an image associated with their trade such as a boot, a suit, a hat, a clock, a diamond, a horse shoe, a candle or even a bag of flour. Fruits and vegetables were sold in the city square from the backs of carts and wagons and their proprietors used street callers or town criers to announce their whereabouts for the convenience of the customers.
As education became an apparent need and reading, as well printing developed, advertising expanded to include handbills. In the 17th century advertisements started to appear in weekly newspapers in England. These early print advertisements were used mainly to promote books and newspapers, which became increasingly affordable with advances in the printing press.
Commercial Communication after Electricity
In 1896, Marconi was awarded the British patent for radio. In 1897 he established the world’s first radio station on the Isle of Wight, England. The first radio news program was broadcast August 31, 1920 by station 8MK in Detroit, Michigan,
Commercially available since the late 1930s, the television set has become a common communications receiver in homes, businesses and institutions, particularly as a source of entertainment and news. Since the 1970s the availability of video cassettes, laserdiscs, DVDs and now Blu-ray discs, have resulted in the television set frequently being used for viewing recorded as well as broadcast material.
In 1940, TV commercials have become one of the most effective, persuasive, and popular method of selling products of many sorts, especially consumer goods. The formation of modern advertising was intimately bound up with the emergence of new forms of monopoly capitalism around the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century as one element in corporate strategies to create, organize and where possible control markets, especially for mass produced consumer goods.
The growth of Commercial Advertising
As the economy expanded during the 19th century, advertising grew alongside. In the United States, the success of this advertising format eventually led to the growth of mail-order advertising. In June 1836, French newspaper La Presse is the first to include paid advertising in its pages, allowing it to lower its price, extend its readership and increase its profitability and the formula was soon copied by all titles.
In the early 1920s, radio equipment manufacturers and retailers who offered programs in order to sell more radios to consumers established the first radio stations. In the early 1950s, the DuMont Television Network began the modern trend of selling advertisement time to multiple sponsors. Previously, DuMont had trouble finding sponsors for many of their programs and compensated by selling smaller blocks of advertising time to several businesses. This eventually became the standard for the commercial television industry in the United States.
The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the introduction of cable television and particularly MTV. Pioneering the concept of the music video, MTV ushered in a new type of advertising: the consumer tunes in for the advertising message, rather than it being a by-product or afterthought. As cable and satellite television became increasingly prevalent, specialty channels emerged, including channels entirely devoted to advertising, such as QVC, Home Shopping Network, and ShopTV Canada.
Marketing through the Internet opened new frontiers for advertisers and contributed to the “dot-com” boom of the 1990s. Entire corporations operated solely on advertising revenue, offering everything from coupons to free Internet access. At the turn of the 21st century, a number of websites including the search engine Google, started a change in online advertising by emphasizing contextually relevant, unobtrusive ads intended to help, rather than inundate, users. This has led to a plethora of similar efforts and an increasing trend of interactive advertising.
The share of advertising spending relative to GDP has changed little across large changes in media. For example, in the U.S. in 1925, the main advertising media were newspapers, magazines, signs on streetcars, and outdoor posters. Advertising spending as a share of GDP was about 2.9 percent. By 1998, television and radio had become major advertising media. Nonetheless, advertising spending as a share of GDP was slightly lower—about 2.4 percent.
Money spent on advertising has increased dramatically in recent years. In 2007, spending on advertising has been estimated at over $150 billion in the United States and $385 billion worldwide and the latter to exceed $450 billion by 2010.
Commercial advertising media can include:
1. wall paintings
3. street furniture components
4. printed flyers
5. rack cards
8. television advertisements
9. web banners
10. mobile telephone screens
11. shopping carts
12. web popups
14. bus stop benches
15. human billboards
18. town criers
19. sides of buses
20. banners attached to or sides of airplanes (“logojets”)
21. in-flight advertisements on seatback tray tables or overhead storage bins
22. taxicab doors
23. roof mounts
24. passenger screens
25. musical stage shows
26. subway platforms
28. elastic bands on disposable diapers
29. stickers on apples in supermarkets
30. shopping cart handles (grabertising)
31. the opening section of streaming audio and video
33. the backs of event tickets and supermarket receipts