THE HISTORY OF ADVERTISING IN QUITE A FEW OBJECTS

History of advertising: No 138: The JWT copy test

History of advertising: No 138: The JWT copy test

How would you describe the colour red to a blind person or - in as few words as possible - what snow is like to somebody who has never seen it?

Related stories

History of advertising: No 137: Sir Ernest Shackleton's 'men wanted' ad

History of advertising: No 137: Sir Ernest Shackleton's 'men wanted' ad

Antarctic blizzards don't come more impenetrable than the mystery surrounding a recruitment ad said to have been placed by the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

 
 
History of advertising: No 136: ET's Reese's Pieces

History of advertising: No 136: ET's Reese's Pieces

Modern-day product placement began when an abandoned and famished space-traveller called ET was coaxed out of a wood and into the home of a young boy by his trail of sweets.

 
 
History of advertising: No 135: The first creative hotshop

History of advertising: No 135: The first creative hotshop

Most adlanders would regard creative hotshops as a relatively modern phenomenon.

 
 
History of advertising: No 134: Kodak's 1984 Olympics ads

History of advertising: No 134: Kodak's 1984 Olympics ads

The organisers of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles were delighted that their event was to be the first of its kind to be funded entirely privately.

 
 
History of advertising: No 133: The Wheaties Quartet

History of advertising: No 133: The Wheaties Quartet

Advertising jingles have their origins in the rhyming cries of 15th- and 16th-cen­tury street vendors, some of which live on in nursery rhymes such as Hot Cross Buns and Molly Malone's cry of "cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh".

 
 
History of advertising: No 132: The world's most expensive TV commercial

History of advertising: No 132: The world's most expensive TV commercial

Having concluded back in the 70s that its flagship No5 brand had lost its air of exclusivity, Chanel resolved that bold action was required - and that was to throw money at the problem.

 
 
History of advertising: No 131: Robertson's controversial brand mascot

History of advertising: No 131: Robertson's controversial brand mascot

More than a quarter-of-a-century after he was axed from TV ads and more than a decade since he was "retired", the Robertson s golly remains one of the most controversial brand icons ever created. With his natty red bow tie and trousers and flowing ...

 
 
History of advertising: No 130: Johann Gutenberg's printing press

History of advertising: No 130: Johann Gutenberg's printing press

It s hard to imagine a more unlikely architect of the media world as we know it than Johann Gutenberg. He was a secretive and paranoid character whose perpetual money problems and interest in get-rich-quick schemes led one commentator to describe him...

 
 
History of advertising: No 129: Josiah Wedgwood's Queen's Ware

History of advertising: No 129: Josiah Wedgwood's Queen's Ware

Branding was not a term Josiah Wedgwood, the 18th-century potter, would have comprehended. Yet his understanding of how it worked was so instinctive that he is acclaimed as the father of modern marketing. Wedgwood had a natural grasp of the fundame...

 
 
History of Advertising: No 128: Bass Brewery's red triangle

History of Advertising: No 128: Bass Brewery's red triangle

On the last night of 1875, an employee of the Bass Brewery was standing at the head of a queue and facing the prospect of a chilly start to the new year. His reward was not to be the pick of the bargains at the January sales but something far more ...

 
 
History of advertising: No 127: The Holborn Restaurant

History of advertising: No 127: The Holborn Restaurant

On the corner of London's High Holborn and Kingsway - now occupied by a Sainsbury's supermarket and a glass-fronted office block - once stood a restaurant that can claim a fascinating footnote in the story of British advertising.

 
 
History of advertising: No 126: Hugh Salmon's high court writ

History of advertising: No 126: Hugh Salmon's high court writ

Whistleblowers are rare in adland. This is probably because disputes are often drawn-out affairs that can exact a large emotional and financial toll and affect job prospects in the "agency village" whatever the outcome. As Hugh Salmon (pictured) ...

 
 
No 125: MTV

No 125: MTV

Nobody doubts that the music industry was changed forever on 1 August 1981, the day that MTV launched in New York on cable.

 
 
History of advertising: No 124: Henry Sampson's A History Of Advertising

History of advertising: No 124: Henry Sampson's A History Of Advertising

For an industry whose creative output has for so long shaped the world s buying habits while reflecting its social history, it s remarkable that so few attempts have been made to tell its story. True, there have been books by agency bosses such as ...

 
 
History of advertising: No 123: Nivea's beach ball

History of advertising: No 123: Nivea's beach ball

Nivea s distinctive beach ball has not only been synonymous with seaside holidays for more than 60 years, it is also symbolic of what is arguably the longest-ever relationship between a client and an agency. It was in 1907 that Beiersdorf, Nivea s ...

 
 
History of advertising: No 122: Ikea's gay commercial

History of advertising: No 122: Ikea's gay commercial

In March 1994, adland seriously confronted a taboo when the world s first TV ad featuring a gay couple appeared in the US. Ikea made the move with a spot created by Deutsch that featured two gay men shopping for a dining table. Until that time, o...

 
 
No 121: Francis Ayer's open contracts

No 121: Francis Ayer's open contracts

For something supposedly dead, the commission system has shown a remarkable capacity for survival since its birth almost 140 years ago. In fact, it has proved extremely difficult to oust it completely from what was its long-term role as the standard ...

 
 
History of advertising: No 120: Rosser Reeves' Reality In Advertising

History of advertising: No 120: Rosser Reeves' Reality In Advertising

Rosser Reeves, the pioneer of the advertising "hard sell", wasn t quite all he seemed. The inventor of the unique selling concept was responsible for what have been described as "many of the most mind-pulverising commercials in the history of TV". ...

 
 
History of advertising: No 118: Nike's 'Just do it' tagline

History of advertising: No 118: Nike's 'Just do it' tagline

Nike s "Just do it" is arguably the best tagline of the 20th century. It cut across age and class barriers, linked Nike with success and made consumers believe they could be successful too just by wearing its products. Like all great taglines, it...

 
 
No 117: I Love Lucy's first episode

No 117: I Love Lucy's first episode

On 15 October 1951, a dizzy redheaded housewife with a habit of landing herself in trouble began convincing advertisers for the first time of TV s emerging power to connect them with millions of consumers. The redhead in question was Lucille Ball, ...

 
 
History of Advertising No 116: Susan Wojcicki's garage

History of Advertising No 116: Susan Wojcicki's garage

It s not a place you would naturally associate with the mighty search engine that was to change the internet in general and advertising, in particular forever. It s just a garage attached to a four-bedroom, ranch-style house largely hidden from...

 
 
History of advertising: No 115: George Gallup's ad research department

History of advertising: No 115: George Gallup's ad research department

George Gallup s name is so firmly linked with the poll that bears his name that it s easy to forget how many of his pioneering research methods still used by admen today were evolved some 80 years ago in Young Rubicam s research department. G...

 
 
History Of Advertising: No 114: The Ford Edsel

History Of Advertising: No 114: The Ford Edsel

The adage that even the most creative advertising cannot sell a lousy product was never more brutally demonstrated than by the launch of the Ford Edsel, which many experts still cite as the biggest brand failure of all time. From its debut in 1957 ...

 
 
History Of Advertising: No 113: Ben Franklin's General Magazine

History Of Advertising: No 113: Ben Franklin's General Magazine

It is remarkable that advertising did not establish itself in the US until many years after it had done so in Britain. More remarkable still is that the man who set advertising on its way in America was one of the country s founding fathers. Indeed...

 
 
History Of Advertising: No 112: The world's first TV commercial

History Of Advertising: No 112: The world's first TV commercial

It wasn t what you would call a memorable piece of TV advertising. Just a ten-second spot featuring a simple graphic and a voiceover that proclaimed: "America runs on Bulova time." Yet the moment it aired at 2.29pm on l July 1941 on the NBC-owned W...

 
 
History Of Advertising: No 111: The first CSR ads

History Of Advertising: No 111: The first CSR ads

Companies eager to generate goodwill towards themselves from consumers by advertising their ethical credentials might seem like a relatively new phenomenon. In fact, it s only increasingly crowded marketplaces forcing companies to look for new ways...

 
 
History Of Advertising: No 110: The Hathaway man's eyepatch

History Of Advertising: No 110: The Hathaway man's eyepatch

It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing. David Ogilvy, on his way to a photo shoot for his new shirt-maker client, stopped off at a New York drugstore to buy a few 50 cent black eyepatches and unwittingly blazed the trail for a new style of advertis...

 
 
History Of Advertising: No 109: The government's Aids campaign

History Of Advertising: No 109: The government's Aids campaign

If there was a time that British advertising proved it could be an overwhelming force for good, it was surely during the government s high-impact Aids awareness campaign. Almost three decades after it first shocked millions of TV viewers with its i...

 
 
History of advertising: No 108: Thomas Edison's Admiral Cigarettes film

History of advertising: No 108: Thomas Edison's Admiral Cigarettes film

At a time when most of adland would rather forget its long and contentious association with tobacco, it would probably prefer not to be reminded of the product s pioneering place in its history. In 1897, Thomas Edison s production company created t...

 
 
No 107: John Caples' 'They laughed when...' ad

No 107: John Caples' 'They laughed when...' ad

Lester Wunderman is widely considered the father of modern direct marketing. But even he bends his knee to John Caples, the man who penned one of the best-known DM ads of all time, which was headlined: "They laughed when I sat down at the piano but ...

 
 
No 106: Benetton's 'shockvertising'

No 106: Benetton's 'shockvertising'

No company was more synonymous with 90s fashion s so-called "shockvertising" phenomenon than Benetton. And nobody pushed the creative boundaries further than its shocktrooper-in-chief, Oliviero Toscani. Toscani was at pains to point out that he was...

 
 
No 105: Madison Avenue

No 105: Madison Avenue

Just as the world has always associated New York s Fifth Avenue with high fashion and regarded Broadway as synonymous with showbiz, so Madison Avenue is seen as advertising s spiritual home. But while shoppers still throng to Fifth Avenue and Broad...

 
 
No 104: Maurice Saatchi's Rolodex

No 104: Maurice Saatchi's Rolodex

With competition for new business so relentless and cut-throat, it is hard to imagine a time when industry rules governing the way agencies could go about finding it were verging on the Corinthian. Not only was trying to steal a competitor s client...

 
 
History of Advertising No 103: André Citroën's Eiffel Tower ad

History of Advertising No 103: André Citroën's Eiffel Tower ad

On the night of 4 July 1925, thousands of Parisians gawped in amazement as 250,000 light bulbs burst into life on the Eiffel Tower, emblazoning the family name of the car-maker Andr Citro n across the French capital. Even for a man renowned as one...

 
 
History of advertising: No 102: 'Daisy girl'

History of advertising: No 102: 'Daisy girl'

Almost 50 years ago, a 60-second commercial that was explosive in every sense was screened across the US. It ran only once. Yet the "daisy girl" spot changed forever the way that politicians sold themselves to voters. It featured a three-year-old, ...

 
 
History of advertising: No 101: Ad agency messenger boys

History of advertising: No 101: Ad agency messenger boys

Question: What do Sir Frank Lowe and the late entertainer Max Bygraves (pictured) have in common? And what links Chris Ingram, the inventor of the standalone media agency, with Brian Clemens, the creator of The Avengers ? Answer: They all began th...

 
 
History of Advertising No 100: Ads of the Great War

History of Advertising No 100: Ads of the Great War

It almost beggars belief that something as horrific as the Great War should have helped shape modern advertising: powerful ads from companies building emotional bonds with consumers. The conflict also created an environment that allowed new product...

 
 
History of Advertising No 99: The personal video recorder

History of Advertising No 99: The personal video recorder

A couple of years ago, Anthony Wood, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur credited with creating the personal video recorder (the device many predicted would mark the end of TV commercials), declared his invention was dead. With the penetration of PVRs ...

 
 
The history of advertising No 98: Pears soap's Bubbles poster

The history of advertising No 98: Pears soap's Bubbles poster

Thomas J Barratt has secured a place in advertising history as the man who first annexed high culture to commercialism when he bought the copyright to Sir John Everett Millais painting Bubbles for 2,200 and used it to sell Pears soap. Yet there ...

 
 
History of Advertising No 97: The Marlboro Man's horse

History of Advertising No 97: The Marlboro Man's horse

Fortune came up with the most graphic comment on the seismic events of 2 April 1993 that rocked the marketing world to its foundations. It was, the magazine declared, "the day the Marlboro Man fell off his horse".

 
 
History of advertising No 96: John E Powers' Wanamaker ads

History of advertising No 96: John E Powers' Wanamaker ads

Calling John E Powers the father of modern creative advertising is no hyperbole. Nor is it any exaggeration to proclaim him the pioneer of tell-it-like-it-is copywriting. Born in 1837, Powers might arguably lay claim to being the world s first full-...

 
 
History of Advertising No 95: King of the Bill-Stickers

History of Advertising No 95: King of the Bill-Stickers

He was the self-crowned King of the Bill-Stickers. Nobody knows his name, but he was clearly confident of his place in the pecking order among the men who turned London into a poster-pasting free-for-all during the middle part of the 19th century.

 
 
History of Advertising No 94: 64 Lincoln's Inn Fields

History of Advertising No 94: 64 Lincoln's Inn Fields

Early in 1985, a basement office in Holborn became the unlikely starter home of what was to become the world's largest marketing communications group.

 
 
History of Advertising No 93: Today

History of Advertising No 93: Today

It is 19 years since Rupert Murdoch's News International pulled the plug on Today. Yet its role in helping free national newspapers from unions and their Luddite grip, and making them attractive to new advertisers, has cemented its legacy.

 
 
History of Advertising No 92: Midland Bank's head office

History of Advertising No 92: Midland Bank's head office

Had there been some other outcome to a meeting that took place in September 1987 at Midland Bank's City headquarters, the worlds of banking and advertising might be looking rather different today.

 
 
History of Advertising No 91: Lord Kitchener's recruiting poster

History of Advertising No 91: Lord Kitchener's recruiting poster

It is one of the most iconic advertising images of all time - and one of the most grimly compelling.

 
 
History of Advertising No 90: 'Labour isn't working' poster

History of Advertising No 90: 'Labour isn't working' poster

It only appeared on a handful of sites, was backed by a minuscule budget and its imagery was faked. Yet it's fair to say that the 1979 poster for the Conservative Party declaring "Labour isn't working" was a game-changer.

 
 
History of Advertising No 89: Irna Phillips' soap operas

History of Advertising No 89: Irna Phillips' soap operas

If Irna Phillips can t be called the mother of the soap opera, she was without doubt its midwife who could see daytime drama s potential for advertisers and delivered massively on her vision. She was in the right place at the right time. It was 1...

 
 
History of Advertising No 88: The Mackintosh Medal

History of Advertising No 88: The Mackintosh Medal

The Mackintosh Medal, the highest award that Britain's marketing communications industry can bestow on one of its own, is named after its first-ever winner and an artful exploiter of the country's collective sweet tooth.

 
 
History of Advertising No 87: The first ad with sex appeal

History of Advertising No 87: The first ad with sex appeal

Looking back with the benefit of a century s worth of hindsight, it s hard to understand what all the fuss was about over what is regarded as the first ad using sex to sell. Indeed, the images of elegant young ladies receiving the admiring attentio...

 
 
Dave Trott

SINE QUA NON

 
 
 
Dave Trott

THINKING LIKE A PARROT

 
 
 
NABS

King of Ping: A Pizza the Action

 
 
 
Lorelei Mathias

New Lines for London Underground

 
 
 
Lorelei Mathias

OLI AND JOSIE WIN AT CANNES

 
 
 
Dave Trott

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS

 
 
 

Additional Information

Campaign Jobs