Selling the Dream: Why Advertising Is Good Business

By John Hood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Broadcasting Revolution,
Advertising Evolution

The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the rise of true mass marketing in America and much of the developed world. The magnitude of the change can be partly measured by dollars: in 1929, total advertising expenditures in the United States were estimated at $3.4 billion, up from $200 million in 1880. Even after adjusting for inflation and population growth, it was a 300 percent increase, and advertising represented a significantly larger share of the national economy (3.3 percent) than in 1880 (1.8 percent).1 However, these events did not constitute a sudden invasion of advertising and commercial persuasion into a previously pristine experience of daily life. As we have seen, marketing in various forms has been part of economic life since the dawn of history. More recently, the invention of the printing press and the birth of newspapers and journals were followed by hundreds of years of steady change and experimentation. Printers offered space for advertisers, but not much at first, and the messages began as plain and simple statements of prices and other basic information. The eighteenth century brought more creativity in ad sales and presentation, particularly in Britain and the United States. By the 1830s and 1840s, the economics of media and marketing reached an inflection point with the creation of the penny press and

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