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History of Advertising

Advertising can divided into three historic periods: the premarketing era, the mass communication era, and the research era. The premarketing era covers prehistory to the mid-eighteenth century and was characterized by primitive interaction between buyers and sellers. Media, such as existed, were limited both in reach and effectiveness. The premarketing era ended as the printing press was introduced. The mass communication era lasted from the 1700s to the early part of the twentieth century. During this time, advertisers were able to reach large groups of their market through print media, and later, through broadcast media. The research era began in the mid-twentieth century and continues today. It is characterized by improved techniques for identifying and reaching narrow targets of the general population. Messages can be prepared and targeted to each group. The research era owes its existence to advances in communications (4-5).

With the expansion of advertising that began in the early part of this century, the federal government entered the market and passed the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, which was the first attempt at regulating advertising. The Federal Trade Commission Act created the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which seeks to prevent fraudulent, misleading or deceptive advertising in interstate commerce. As the nation grew and its transportation capabilities also grew, interstate commerce and advertising became more of a problem. The FTC was a response to the public outcry against misleading advertising that was formerly unregulated (13).

During the 1950s, advertising and American business focused on growth and mass marketing. Building on the economic boom that followed World War II, American business used advertising to promote its products to the nation as a whole. By the end of this period, the country had seen dramatic changes in the way advertisers targeted their messages, and the federal govern...

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History of Advertising. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:19, September 20, 2020, from