As printing developed
extensively, newspapers and printed products were produced quickly and more
efficiently. ‘Bill stickers, or external paper hangers plastered blank walls,
empty shops and wooden hoards and fences with advertisement bills’ (3).
However, these were taxed so merchants came up with new ways to overcome that
and that’s when they ‘turned to mobile advertising and paid people to wear
sandwich boards and hand carry placards’ (3). In 18th century, new
medium of advertising emerged- trading cards, a combination of image and text
(similar to today’s leaflets). Used by merchants to inform the public about the
location, goods and services of an establishment or business.
However, advertisement changed
with industrial revolution. It started focusing on ‘creating unique slogans
that customers would remember and that cast products in an optimistic light’
rather than ‘merely providing a list of their goods to inform the public of
what was available for purchase’ (4). During the revolution, new innovations of
technology and medicine began to enter the market. These fuelled a growing
advertising industry as they began to compete against one another. Advertisement also started to focus on
creating “needs” and “wants” in the growing consumer population by cleverly
advertising products in a way to ‘influence potential buyers into seeing the
necessity of owning a particular product’ (4).
the 20th century the government began to recognise the power of advertisement
and its capability of communicating a message to consumers. So, ways of persuasion used in advertisement were
adapted as a way of recruiting soldiers. One of
the techniques used was psychological manipulation, which were set to
deliberately frighten or shame the target audience into following their
instructions. ‘These posters assume a very specific power relationship between
advertiser and audience, and we notice that the advertiser assumes that they
know best and are giving the audience information for their own good.’ (5).
One of the most famous propaganda is the 1914’s
Lord Kitchener Wants
You poster by Alfred Leete. It was known for its provocative nature as it
showcased Kitchner pointing, “pointing is individualistic, it singles out one person alone,” says
University of Hertfordshire psychology professor Karen Pine. “This makes you
more engaged and places you under an obligation to respond.” And the words
“your country needs you” serve as emotional blackmail for those yet to enlist.
Another huge milestone came
about within advertisement after the invention of the radio. It was introduced
in August 1922, and it offered businesses the opportunity to advertise their
products and services by sponsoring radio programs. ‘By the year 1930, almost
90% of all the radio stations in the country were broadcasting commercials, and
they were able to generate enough revenue to support their operational costs.’
(5) Radio advertisement was a breakthrough moment within advertisement as it
became the most effective way to promote products and services. The reason for
its success, over other types of advertisement, is because of the way humans
develop. ‘Hearing and speaking are the first senses that people exhibit during
their developmental stages’ (6), way before developing the ability to read or
write. So, it meant that advertisements were able to reach a wider audience and
advertise their service or instil brand loyalty, it didn’t exempt people e.g.
even children were more reachable than before.
It also meant that it
was harder for people to avoid it, as unlike the visual forms of advertisement
from which you can simply turn away, you cannot do the same with your ears.