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What is Advertising?

Advertising is the process of communicating to persuade a person to do something or buy a product. It is said to be as old as humanity itself. Ancient societies used rock painting and papyrus to communicate their messages. Modern advertisements, such as those seen in magazines and newspapers, began their rise in the late 1800s.

The Beginning of the Advertising Age

Paid advertising’s beginnings can be traced back to France. The first paid ad was placed in a French news publication in 1836. It allowed the newspaper to lower its price, which increased its reach to people with lower incomes.

As radio programs became more expensive to produce in the 1900s, paid sponsorships were sought as a way to raise funds. These early sponsorships were generally with a sole company, often consumer products that appealed to the average listener. Instead of having ads from many different companies like the average television broadcast has today, radio programs were sponsored by one company only.

This was also true of the very earliest popular television programs in the 1950s. Radio and TV stars were responsible for endorsing various products. Sponsorships that would be controversial today, like those from popular cigarette companies, were common in the 1950s.

Women in Early Advertising Careers

At the turn of the 20th century, there were very few career choices available for women because their role was taking care of the household and rearing children. This worked in their favor if they were interested in advertising, because they made most of the purchase decisions of consumer products.

Ads for these products, things like soap and food, were targeted towards them. Getting insight from women on what methods of advertising most appealed to them was invaluable for ad agencies and consumer product manufacturers.

These traditional gender roles still influence advertising today. The average woman makes still makes approximately 70 percent of household purchasing decisions.

Modes of Delivering the Message

Especially in today’s modern age, anything used to deliver a message and evoke a response can be considered advertising. Ads can be found everywhere including newspapers, magazines, on television, the Internet and some places that may surprise the average consumer. Deciding what is advertising is up to interpretation. Paid sponsorships from sole brands are still common, but through product placements in movies.

A product placement is the use of a specific brand in a scene where the brand is on full display. For the average consumer it might seem hard to believe, but product placements can be big business! Having a captive audience, like consumers in a movie theater, can drive sales!

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is perhaps the most important concept of advertising. If you’re still asking yourself, “What is advertising,” you can answer that question can be answered with the four P’s. They are: product, price, place and promotion.

Product is self-explanatory. The product is whatever the advertiser wishes to sell. It could be an actual tangible product, or an idea. Price is the assume value of the product and what the consumer is willing to pay. Place refers to how to product will get to the consumer through channels of distribution and all of the factors that affect these channels. Promotion refers to what most people consider advertising, getting the message to the target market through whatever means necessary.

What is Advertising Today? Branding and the Rise of Social Media

The popularity of Facebook and other social media sites can mean big business for companies selling everything from laundry detergent to car insurance. Cashing in on the popularity of these sites can be a delicate dance. The right branding is important. Branding refers to the process of getting consumers to associate a particular image with a product or service.

Companies continue to decide what is advertising as technology grows. Social media sites allow brands to make their brand “person-like” by interacting with consumers directly. Consumers trust brands they can relate to, and a proper social media advertising approach can boost business dramatically.


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