Advertising are the techniques and practices used to bring products, services, opinions, or causes to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way toward what is advertised.
Most advertising involves promoting a good that is for sale, but similar methods are used to encourage people to drive safely, to support various charities, or to vote for political candidates, among many other examples. In many countries advertising is the most important source of income for the media (e.g., newspapers, magazines, or television stations) through which it is conducted. In the noncommunist world advertising has become a large and important service industry.
In the ancient and medieval world such advertising as existed was conducted by word of mouth. The first step toward modern advertising came with the development of printing in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 17th century weekly newspapers in London began to carry advertisements, and by the 18th century such advertising was flourishing.
The great expansion of business in the 19th century was accompanied by the growth of an advertising industry; it was that century, primarily in the United States, that saw the establishment of advertising agencies. The first agencies were, in essence, brokers for space in newspapers. But by the early 20th century agencies became involved in producing the advertising message itself, including copy and artwork, and by the 1920s agencies had come into being that could plan and execute complete advertising campaigns, from initial research to copy preparation to placement in various media.
Advertising developed in eight principal media. Perhaps the most basic was the newspaper, offering advertisers large circulations, a readership located close to the advertiser’s place of business, and the opportunity to alter their advertisements on a frequent and regular basis. Magazines, the other chief print medium, may be of general interest or they may be aimed at specific audiences (such as people interested in outdoor sports or computers or literature) and offer the manufacturers of products of particular interest to such people the chance to make contact with their most likely customers. Many national magazines publish regional editions, permitting a more selective targeting of advertisements. In Western industrial nations television and radio became the most pervasive media. The other advertising media include direct mail, which can make a highly detailed and personalized appeal; outdoor billboards and posters; transit advertising, which can reach the millions of users of mass-transit systems; and miscellaneous media, including dealer displays and promotional items such as matchbooks or calendars.
In the 21st century, with an intensely competitive consumer market, advertisers increasingly used digital technology to call greater attention to products. In 2009, for example, the world’s first video advertisements to be embedded in a print publication appeared in Entertainment Weekly magazine. The thin battery-powered screen implanted in the page could store up to 40 minutes of video via chip technology and automatically began to play when the reader opened the page.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Online, "advertising", referenced November 19, 2011.
- Advertising at Wikipedia
- Advertising by George Bittlingmayer at The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
- In Defense of Advertising: Arguments from Reason, Ethical Egoism, and Laissez-Faire Capitalism (book; pdf) by Jerry Kirkpatrick, January 2007
- The Five (Wrongheaded) Complaints Against Advertising by Jerry Kirkpatrick, May 2007
- A Philosophic Defense of Advertising (pdf) Jerry Kirkpatrick, June 1986
- "Puffery" in Advertising by Donald J. Boudreaux, September 1995
- The Supposed Sham of Advertising by Jeremiah Dyke, April 2010