Advertising has always been a uniquely influential social force. It affects what we buy, what we believe, who we elect, and so much more. We tend to know histories of other massive social forces, but even people working in advertising often have a tenuous grasp of their field's background.
This book slices advertising's history into a smörgåsbord of specific topics like advertising to children, political advertising, people's names as advertisements, 3D advertising, programmatic buying, and so much more, offering a synopsis of how each developed and the role it played in this discipline. In doing so, many firsts are identified, such as the first full-page color magazine advertisement, and the first point-of-purchase advertisement. This book also reaches back farther in search of the earliest advertisements, and it tells the story of the variety of techniques used by our ancestors to promote their products and ideas.
Part textbook, part reference, the book is an advertising museum in portable form suitable for all levels of students, scholars, and arm-chair enthusiasts.
Jef I. Richards has served as chair of the Department of Advertising & Public Relations at Michigan State University, and as chair of the Department of Advertising at the University of Texas, the two largest and most influential university advertising programs in the United States. He is author or co-author of more than 90 published books, book chapters, and articles about advertising, marketing, or communications. He is on the advisory council of the Institute for Advertising Ethics (of the American Advertising Federation), on the board of directors for the Advertising Educational Foundation (of the Association of National Advertisers), and a panel member of the National Advertising Review Board (of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council). Richards also is former president of the American Academy of Advertising, is a named fellow of that organization, as well as a recipient of its prestigious Ivan L. Preston Outstanding Contribution to Research Award. He is the inaugural inductee into the Rowan University Advertising Hall of Fame.
Introduction. The History of Advertising: The First 3,000 Years
Part I: Ancient Times through the Dark Ages
Chapter 1. Advertising Archeology
Chapter 2. From Late BCE to CE
Chapter 3. The Dark Ages of Advertising
Part II: The Renaissance through the Victorian Age
Chapter 4. Emerging from the Dark
Chapter 5. Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Advertising
Chapter 6. The Result of Revolutions
Chapter 7. Nineteenth-Century Methods and Media
Chapter 8. Appeals and Social Implications via Nineteenth-Century Advertising
Part III: The Twentieth Century and Beyond
Chapter 9. The Twentieth Century Advertising Explosion
Chapter 10. Industry People, Agencies, and Change
Chapter 11. The Science of Advertising
Chapter 12.Criticism, Law, and Policy
Chapter 13. Improving on the Old
Chapter 14. Newest Media and Methods
Chapter 15. Living in a Virtual World
Chapter 16. Ads and Culture
Chapter 17. 2020 and Beyond
Richards creates a “portable museum of advertising,” arranged chronologically and designed to encourage browsing. Readers can dip in and out, encouraged by hundreds of illustrations, primarily of advertisements past and present. Chapters 8 and 16 on social implications, ads, and culture relate interesting facts on how advertising both influences and reflects its time. Delivers a broad look from ancient times (there is evidence of Roman shops signs in BCE 776) to modern promotional products (Livestrong bracelets; MAGA caps). Well-documented and scholarly with crossover appeal for general audiences.
Marketers describe advertising as a paid form of nonpersonal communication meant to persuade. Researchers have found examples of advertising dating back to ancient times, including a hanging tag used to identify a bottle of oil in 3000 BCE. Richards puts together the whole story of this fascinating, critical component of marketing. Students and practitioners of advertising and history will find the evolution of advertising from basic names, signs, and labels to the sophisticated electronic media of today a remarkable journey…. Richards' book is packed with examples and a timeline that threads together each advertising development, resulting in a surprising, fascinating historical narrative. Recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty and professionals.
Most people practicing advertising today care little about what came before. They only care about today. Yet, to quote Soren Kierkegaard “Life can only be understood looking backwards: but it must be lived forward”. So do yourself a favor, take a long backward look with Jef and become better prepared for today, and tomorrow.
A fascinating read that educates, informs and enlightens. I know of no other publication that gives such a deep dive into the History of Advertising from ancient times through COVID times. One great takeaway was "The 10 commandments of Advertising" written in 1911 but still holds true today. Enjoy the read.
A History of Advertising: The First 300,000 Years by Jef Richards is in a league of its own. This wildly original and fast-paced examination carries us through the world of advertising from its earliest beginnings to the modern-day. Unlike any other book, this one takes us from the very beginnings, through the highs and lows of advertising, posing provocative questions along the way and offering fascinating points of view on how branding, advertising and PR evolved in lock step with human existence.
Jef is an enormously gifted author and his writing – fast paced, insightful and slam-bang full of remarkable details – is an indulgence and rewards readers (including this jaded ad agency CEO) with a new and completely unique portal into our shared past and gives us an intuitively connected view to how advertising transformed and shaped the world into what we see today. For marketers to history buffs, Richards has created a story that will keep you turning the pages and might even help connect a few dots of intriguing facts that you never knew existed in the first place.