How did advertising come about?

Advertising is a way of informing people of something. This can range from telling them of a product for sale, or a service, or urging them to do something, or even to bring one's name before the public.

So advertising came out quite naturally and took many forms from the very beginning. For example, there is a papyrus discovered at Thebes offering a re­ward for a runaway slave. It is three thousand years old—and it's really an advertisement! Signboards that notified people of services available were placed outside doors in Greece and Egypt around 1500 b.c.—a form of advertising.

With the invention of printing, advertising began to take on new forms. About 1477, in London, the first printed advertisement in English announced a prayerbook sale. The first newspaper advertisement appeared on the back page of a London newspaper in 1625.

It was not until 1704 that paid advertisements were printed in the United States. By 1771 there were 31 newspapers in the colonies, and all of them car­ried advertising.

Today, of course, we know that advertising is done not only in newspapers, but also in magazines, on the radio, and on television. The first "commercials" appeared on the radio about 1920.

Commercials on television developed mostly after World War II. The idea spread very quickly and today the advertising that is done on TV is so familiar to all of us that many people can remember the commercials even better than the shows they see!