You only have to pull out your smartphone and do a quick search on “the printing press” to get an idea (in seconds) of how much and how far technology has evolved. Advertisers, too, have had to evolve with technology so that their messages remain relevant and continue to reach their audiences. The history of advertising is filled with evolutions as media makers strive to stay relevant.
Advertising methods have become much more sophisticated in order to appeal to modern and increasingly savvy consumers.
Let’s take a quick look at the last 100 years of advertising, so we can see how it has adapted to suit the digital age and engage consumers.
The 1900’s were the “golden age” in the history of advertising. This was when radio and television emerged and allowed advertisers into the homes of their audiences for the first time, where they were able to speak directly to potential customers.
These types of advertisements became a part of the culture. Companies used popular and well-known characters and celebrities, who became synonymous with products and brands, to build connections and gain influence with audiences.
In this era, the sole purpose of advertising was to sell. No matter the character, the story, or the type of product, the only goal the advertisers were trying to achieve was to attract customers in order to sell more of their products.
The Age of the Internet
The internet ushered in a new way of connecting with an audience. Banner and pop-up ads were big way back in the early days.
Then, the emergence of social media took it to the next level.
Consumers, fed up of being given the hard sell, we’re no longer trusting the brands that were pushing products. This shifted way that advertisers approached their audiences. Instead of only focusing on selling products, advertisers began building brand awareness and trust.
Rather than taking a transactional approach, advertisers began to offer solutions to problems that audiences were likely to relate to.
The History Of Advertising, Part 3: Modern times
Today, advertisers are keenly aware of consumers’ distrust of commercials. Now, people are as picky about the brands they purchase from as they are about the friends they associate with. A brand reflects on their own image and also has social and political connotations that need to align with consumers’ own beliefs. Consumers now consider brands carefully before choosing whether or not to commit to a buy.
Ad blockers have also become increasingly common, shielding consumers from the bombardment of online ads and commercials. This means that advertisers have to focus on proving their brand authenticity, trustworthiness, and value; providing useful information and solutions rather than just products and services.
Another important factor is that consumers trust other consumers. It’s vital for a brand to build a community of loyal followers who will promote the brand on their behalf. This user-generated content makes consumers part of the advertising drive.
Most consumers simply don’t want to see sales-focused advertising anymore. They want to incorporate brands into their lifestyles. For advertisers, the key is to focus on brand awareness and building relationships.
Want to do more than just be well-educated on the history of advertising? Prefer to run campaigns that keep up with the times? We can help with that.
Reach out to us to learn how we can kickstart an ad campaign that works for this century.