Before fifteenth-century that is, before the printing period there were three major forms of advertisement: Trademarks, Town Criers, and Sign-Boards. In India, use of trademarks dates back to 1300 BCE, where producers attached stone seals, or clay seals to mark their product, called trademarks. Now about town criers- in ancient era town criers were recruited to give a shoutout for the official public announcement and news updates. The third form was and still in trade is Sign-Boards — the history of commercial establishments using signages is very ancient, the practice of using retail signages and promo signages have been developed by Eastern and Western world independently —— ancient Egyptian, Greeks, and Romans – Medieval Britain, France and much of Europe were using signages for their shop fronts, and also for announcing market days as a public event. All these three forms: trademark or label, town criers, and sign-boards are even in existence – in practice today. The other ancient form of advertising is wall painting or rock painting — in India, the wall painting tradition is traced back to rock art painting of 4000 BC.
Any marketing communication -a sponsored non-personal message promoting or selling a product/s, or service/s, or an idea/s or concept/s is called: an ‘advertisement’; or ‘ad’; or an ‘advert’ in short. Advertising is communicated through various mediums of mass communication, which includes conventional medias like: newsprints, television, radio, and OOH (Out-of-Home, or outdoor), and new age digital medias like: search results, social media, websites, blogs, and text messages.
In the 18th century, print advertisement started appearing in England, weekly newspaper were chosen to print such ads promoting books and news papers. In June, 1836 La Presse French newspaper (founded by Emile de Girardin -French journalist, publisher, and politician) was the first to include paid advertising. In the year 1840, Volney B. Palmer laid down the modern days advertising agency’s base in Philadelphia —— Palmer was mainly a releasing agency —— in the year 1842 Palmer bought large amount of print ad space in various newspapers at a moderate rate, and sold it to advertisers at higher rates. But this scenario changed in Philadelphia, when N. W. Ayer & Son -a full-service advertising agency, serving clients with media planning, creative production, and releasing was found in the year 1869. Here are the reckoned names taken as ‘father of advertising’ across the world: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, America), Thomas J. Barratt (1841-1914, London), Albert Lasker (1880-1952, Chicago), David Ogilvy (1911-1999, UK) —— J. Henry (early 1900) known as ‘best slogan writer’. In the year 2014, Late Thomas James Barratt chairman of A&F Pears was awarded a Guinness World Record for being named as world’s first brand manager -a job profile Barratt held for A&F Pears since 1865.
By the year 1900, advertising agency business rose —and, media planning, creative production or execution of complete advertising campaign was established as a mainstream profession. Today worldwide, the largest five big advertising agency groups are: Dentsu, Interpublic, Omnicom, Publicis, and WPP.