Evolution of Advertising
|✅ Paper Type: Free Essay||✅ Subject: Marketing|
|✅ Wordcount: 1766 words||✅ Published: 18th Sep 2017|
Advertisements have an astounding power and ability to influence people’s opinions and ideas of the world. In the late 19th century, with the socio-cultural and economic shift from producer to consumer economy, advertisements began to play a major role in the consumerist society of the United States. Advertising responded to evolving business demands, media technologies and cultural frameworks, all in hopes of making products more appealing to consumers. Before the turn of the century, company ads targeted customer nostalgia, which at the time was very dominant in gaining product attention. As time progressed, ads drastically changed. By the turn of the century modern advertisements emerged with executive advertisers, like Edward Bernays, who indulged in ads appealing to extravagance and leisure. Advertisements evolved from portraying objective information to subjective depictions in order to evoke the hopes and anxieties of consumers, basing purchases more on desire rather than need. Customer values shifted due to various reasons between the 19th and 20th centuries, leading people to purchase less necessities and more desirable products, thus causing dramatic advertisement shifts in both form and function in order to optimize companies’ profits.
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Advertisements from 1880s to the early 1900s primarily performed to promote goods for consumers and provide them with a need for their product. As new modes of transportation were developed during this time period to deliver physical items and ideas across the country, companies issued nationwide broadcasting for their products. Regarding more important and higher quality company products, newspapers, billboards and other signs were utilized for commercializing these since they would be optimally advertised in general stores throughout the nation. At the time, these ads in particular focused on consumers limited to purchasing solely necessities. Therefore, promoting its product’s qualities over competitors’. The Model K vehicle advertisement stresses its first-class mechanics with its bold title, “The Fully-Finished Car” which advocates for higher quality over competing products. However, such ads along with, “Will your car do this?” fail to effectively endorse their products due to extensive information that disregards concern for competitors. Both advertisements are text-reliant, with the exception of a single image, and limit their market due to their advertisement’s description only providing information about the product’ particular mechanics; therefore, failing to provide consumers with engagement or originality. Such advertisements were common during the time period due to the market consisting of consumers who were exclusively of need. Although this form of an ad is of low appeal, it proved effective for its limited market as the consumers needed cars that would be sustainable and required fulfilling information since providing a necessity took priority over desirables.
Over time advertisements evolved along with the market and the consumerist economy. During the early and mid-1900s, dramatic changes took effect with ads, especially with automobile ads. The old text-heavy and informative advertisements were replaced with ads portraying numerous colorful images that evoked consumer psyche and emotional connections to company products. With this shift in advertisements, the focus on consumer desires replaced the old form of product promotion. Baker Electric’s vehicle ad, “Pleasure” portrays a significant change from the 19th century to 20th century’s advertisements and is able to present a unique form of vehicles that is not solely limited as a necessity, but instead promotes a luxurious, family-like and endearing essence for future automobiles. Along with Lexington Motor Company’s ad, “The Motor Car is the Magic Carpet of Modern Times,” Baker Electric’s advertisement implies a new ideal for automobiles. Lexington Motor Company’s ad implies a magical character for automobiles, therefore expanding the market for those who don’t own a vehicle through the advertisement’s unique and engaging personality, as well as promoting vehicles’ character as that of luxury. At the same time Baker Electric’s ad expands the automobile audience to families, allowing for a more inviting market that is not exclusive for certain genders or people. It is during this period that certain companies changed their advertising approach and began to target different groups and implement diversified values for an expansive market.
By the 1920s women developed a substantial status among automobile companies and their advertisements, henceforth evolving from basic luxury to a product inducing sex appeal. This advertising development seduced men into buying certain vehicles that commercials would promote, as it appeared for consumers that women preferred particular products. Ford Motor Company released an ad in 1928, “Buy your Wife a Ford,” which suggests a wife will be happier and more loving if bought a Ford automobile. Buick, in 1931, also promoted a similar advertisement that marketed its brand as a fashionable and for the wealthy product, with bold words, “Wherever fashion and character reign there you will find the Eight as Buick builds it,” under a portrayal of an affluent woman. By implementing women in advertisements, not only do automobile companies expand their markets, but also develop their products as luxury, therefore making their vehicles the necessity for the wealthy, and the desire for middle and lower class.
However, the aforementioned, ‘necessity for the wealthy’ no longer truly applies as a need. Instead it represents the difference in class by the automobile brand one owns. Therefore, the development of a need is no longer desired to encourage consumers to purchase products. Automobile advertisers utilized this understanding to appeal to the public on a more emotional level in order to develop a larger target market. It was understood that the more consumers purchased based off desire, the more they bought based off of emotions. With colored and illustrated advertisements influencing emotional appeals, the market was able to be manipulated through the promotion of luxury of a brand with vivid depictions, therefore separating motor companies from outdated advertisements. Therefore, expanding the potential market and creating a luxury ideal encompassing the industry, and further attracting more consumers.
Automobile industries have adapted significantly and successfully along with the fluctuating consumerist economy of the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Originally producing bland informative product descriptions as company advertisements, the automobile industry expanded fruitfully with illustrations, emotional appeals and successful techniques adaptable to the market leading towards a growing business where advertisements became more enjoyable, understandable and engaging for numerous groups of consumers. Through altering the form and function of advertisements, advertisers were able to focus on different aspects and ideals for products in order to keep up with the ever changing consumer market.
- Dr. Katarina Keane, HIST289R Lecture Series, “Commercialized Leisure at the Turn of the Century,” 2016
- Dr. Katarina Keane, HIST289R Lecture Series, “Selling in America: New Advertising and Marketing,” 2016
- Winton Motor Carriage Co., “The Fully-Finished Car,” 1905.
- J. Walter Thompson, Co., “Will Your Car Do This?” c. 1900.
- Baker Electrics, “Pleasure,” c. 1910.
- Lexington Motor Company, “The Motor Car is the Magic Carpet of Modern Times,” ca. 1920.
- Ford, “Buy Your Wife a Ford,” 1928.
- Buick, “Wherever Fashion and Character Reign,” 1931.
- Baker Motor Vehicle Co., “The Social Prestige of a Baker Electric,” 1911.
 Dr. Katarina Keane, HIST289R Lecture Series, “Commercialized Leisure at the Turn of the Century,” 2016
 Dr. Katarina Keane, HIST289R Lecture Series, “Selling in America: New Advertising and Marketing,” 2016
 Winton Motor Carriage Co., “The Fully-Finished Car,” 1905.
 J. Walter Thompson, Co., “Will Your Car Do This?” c. 1900.
 Baker Electrics, “Pleasure,” c. 1910.
 Lexington Motor Company, “The Motor Car is the Magic Carpet of Modern Times,” ca. 1920.
 Ford, “Buy Your Wife a Ford,” 1928.
 Buick, “Wherever Fashion and Character Reign,” 1931.
 Baker Motor Vehicle Co., “The Social Prestige of a Baker Electric,” 1911.
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