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The History of Advertising

May 8, 2012

Advertising has come quite a long way since TV first broke onto the scene in the early 1940’s. Before that it was all about print media, and with the advent of TV advertising things began to change. Advertisers had to think more organically about how to incorporate products and services into sponsored television shows and news shows. From there, everything changed. Even today as the Internet has brought advertising into a whole new realm of fragmenting and targeting audiences, TV remains a major influencer of consumer purchasing decisions.


Advertising History

This year marks the 71st anniversary of the very first TV commercial. Even as mobile marketing and Internet marketing has become a whole new medium of advertising for Scottsdale marketing firms, TV still holds a very large piece of the advertising pie.


Even as we live in the Internet Age, where mobile devices and social media make real-time advertising a reality, the average American adult still spends about 15 hours a week watching TV, and more than 40% of U.S. advertising is spent on TV commercials. Whether that’s because TV spots have become so lucrative, especially during the Super Bowl and other popular events where 30 seconds could cost you a few million dollars, or because TV ads are still very influential, advertisers are still more willing to spend a bigger portion of their advertising budget on TV.


The History of Fragmentation

Fragmentation in advertising is paramount. If you are advertising to the masses in hopes that you can outplay the numbers game, you’ve got another thing coming. Fragmentation involves the ability to target an audience so selectively that even where they are, according to their GPS on their mobile device, and what they are buying at that very moment influences the ad that they will see when they ‘check in’ to a specific location. Fragmenting your audience allows for extremely segmented and targeted advertising, something that TV advertising is not capable of doing.


With the advent of Cable TV in the 1980’s, TV audiences did become segmented slightly to where Scottsdale marketing firms could target an audience based on specific TV show demographics. For example, advertisers knew that a certain demographic watched The Oprah Show, so they would run specifically created ads for that segment of their audience.


However, today, even as U.S. adults watch 15 hours of TV a week, they are watching more and more TV through ‘commercial free’ mediums, such as pre-recorded TV where they can forward through commercials or 3rd-party apps on SmartTV’s where there are no commercials. This is where Internet advertising steps in, and print advertising comes back into the picture with specialized magazines targeting extremely segmented audiences.


Internet Advertising Possibilities

More recently, advertising and targeting specific audiences has migrated to the Internet, where capturing an Internet users web history, mobile locations, and click-through history allows for real-time marketing as consumers move from site to site. Behavioral targeting via the Internet, though highly contested and controversial, has become the next generation of fragmenting and segmenting your audience for advertising.


Behavioral targeting gives Scottsdale marketing firms the ability to place a higher percentage of audience-specific ads in places where people can see them, yielding a higher percentage click-through rate. When advertisers are able to utilize behavioral targeting via the Internet, ads are more likely to be personally relevant to the specific audience, unlike TV advertising where no matter how segmented they appear to be, you are still advertising to the masses. With behavioral advertising, you can literally advertise to a handful of people based on their behavioral preferences.


Product Placement History

During the height of TV advertising, the audience had literally no ability to avoid commercials. Not only could they not forward through commercials as they can now, because entire TV shows were sponsored by a single advertiser, the advertisements were literally within the production of the show. This Ted Bates school of thought in advertising basically held the belief that the audience didn’t have to like the ads, they just had to remember the ad. So as advertisers sponsored entire shows, consumers were hit with campaigns of repetition and bombardment and there was really nothing they could do about it except for turn off the TV and choose not to watch their favorite shows.


Over time as TV costs grew, those sponsored shows turned into sponsored ads in 15 to 30-second spots, and with the advent of DVR’s and 3rd-party apps many of those commercials today aren’t even seen. So advertisers had to think of a new way to engage their audience without annoying them with commercials that would only be forwarded and ignored; thus the product placement ads.


Sponsorship of video games, sporting events, music events, and much more have become quite common place, so much so that we often forget about the advertising involved and just know that Kyle Busch drives the M&M’s car (sponsored by Mars Snackfood US) and NFL jerseys are made by Nike.


Today’s ‘off-internet’ advertising has become so intertwined with the events or programs that in many cases the sponsor literally becomes the star and the aspect of the event that is remembered, which is exactly what they want. The audience is more likely to say “hey remember that race we went to where everything was Red Bull,” or “hey remember that concert we went to with all of the Chevy trucks at the entrance.”


Engaging The Audience

Advertising, in every form that it takes in the 21st century, is about engaging with the segmented audience. While TV commercial spots are still effective, it’s no longer the only course and must be integrated with other forms of advertising in order to sufficiently engage the audience on all levels and all segments.


For example, when Old Spice ran it’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign they integrated it with every aspect of marketing, from video (Youtube) to print (men’s magazines) to social media (huge Facebook campaign) and TV spots. They even ran a huge PR campaign in which news shows began talking about Old Spice, thus promoting the brand from all levels. It became a viral sensation and one of the most effective marketing campaigns of all time.


One of the reasons that the Old Spice campaign was so successful was simply because it engaged with the audience, thus encouraging user involvement and ultimately ‘user generated content’ where the marketing campaign had a life all its own in the hands of the consumer. User and/or consumer generated content is when the consumer takes your brand, remarkably keeps to the brand message, and runs with their own ideas and, ultimately, does the advertising for the product.


With the history of advertising being organically grown, twisting and turning to meet the desires of the audience as well as utilizing the latest technologies, it pays to have an expert on your side. Contact us today for more information.