Mass media – American Adverts in 18th-19th Centuries

After winning independence the USA begin to catch up the Old World in all spheres of live including culture and art of advertising. The chronological period of the own American advertising culture is believed to have started from 1789.

The founder of the advertising art off that period was John Dunlap, who started to publish ‘General Adviser and Pennsylvania Packet” in Philadelphia at the end of the 1770s. He reasonably divided the space in his newspaper and gave most of it to ads and only then published some news about political affairs.

‘Adverts are the main stream of American nation in settling the continent, development of economy and creation of the American life standard… Adverts became the heart and the soul of American culture and even its foundations. We are the first nation in the world to organize the mass production of our own culture.”

The main instrument in this field was Mass Media, the circulation of whish increased significantly.

John Dunlap appeared to be the wisest, forward-looking and skillful professional in the sphere of journalism and advertising.

He intended to vary his advertising works by inserting vivid headlines, eye-catching images and trade mark’s logos. The newspaper was published twice a week, but it didn’t manage to satisfy all the advert-givers. The idea of creation of a daily newspaper was born under this pressure and was brought to life in 1784.

The main page of New York Daily was full of short advertisements made deliberately. They were announcements about auctions, ships’ timetable, sale of food and medicines. Place economizing and imposition unifying were replaced by advertising need, and ideas of Benjamin Franklin and John Dunlap were soon forgotten.

The period of Industrial Revolution began at the beginning of the 19th century and made the economy of the USA one of the leading economical systems in the world. The prices of foreign goods were increased so that gave a possibility to develop the production of American goods. These matters widen the newspaper reader’s audience

and rang of advertisers.

The circulations of penny newspapers shot up significantly during 1830-1840 years.

But the creativity of the advertisers wasn’t limited only by newspapers articles, but it was brought to live in an outstanding creativity of messengers, direct-sales representatives, lottery-tickets salesmen and medicines salesmen. One of them was a man who at just the beginning of his career became the most important person in the whole history of American advertisements. His name is Fines Tailor Barnum.

Some American scientists intend to believe that Benjamin Franklin was the “father of ads”, but other don’t agree with this point due to Franklin’s advertising campaigns can be referred to a Colonial Period, not the period of a free country.

But Fines Tailor Barnum injected his innovations during the periods of total independence and freedom, so his ideas were influenced by a so called “business spirit” and a great search for innovations in various fields.

Barnum worked mainly in two fields – in sale and show-business. He started to organize circus divertissements to advertise the firms which were eager to pay for these extremely expensive adverts. In 1849 strange vans appeared in the New York streets.

They were pasted over with advert leaflets and pulled with circus elephants. It was almost impossible not to pay attention to the ads “offered” by elephants. They were read, discussed, condemned and laughed at.

But the advertisers didn’t complain about great spending of money because their ads worked. Later Barnum’s shows were led not only by the animals, but by the circus actors as well.

In a few years Barnum created one more outstanding advertising idea. For the decent fee he managed to persuade a famous Swedish singer Jenny Lin to cross the ocean and give some concerts in the major cities of the USA.

Barnum offered everyone to put their advertisement texts in the concert halls, on the underside of expensive tickets, on the napkins and table cloths of some restaurants. But the fees for this were really enormous. This affair was a great success, and hundreds of advertisers were eager to pay for this kind of advertisement.

The success can be explained in this way: the concert halls were overcrowded with people and before the beginning of the concert of Jenny Lin people had nothing to do but to observe the advertisements.

Barnum’s activities in this field in thee middle of the 19th century brought the USA to theleading positions in the advertising business.

One more innovation that appeared in American advertising communication in the 1850s was created by Robert Bonner. In 1856 he bought a line in the New Gerald Tribune and published a strange article about sentimental novel there. In this article he used one and the same advertising slogan 93 times.

That novel was forgotten with years but Bonner’s experiment was remembered for a long period of time.

Since 19th century American advertising agencies began to develop rapidly. That was because of the excellent equipment. The start for this was given in 1841.

Walney Palmer established the first specialized advertising agency in Boston. Soon its branches were opened in Philadelphia and New York. He made contracts with newspapers, bought some lines in it to publish adverts.

This gave him an opportunity to resale these lines to advertisers for higher prices and to get a good income.

The first advertising agency which not only gave advertisers an access to newspapers but also created slogans and advertising texts was established in 1891 in New York by George Barnett. His advertising agency not only gave newspaper space to the advertisers, but also wrote advertising texts, inserted images and prepared for publishing all the advertisements. This firm became an advertising giant at the beginning of the 20th century.

Advertisements were almost everywhere. One German journalist made an experiment: he was walking round New York streets for 30 hours to measure the amount of ads he faced. During this period he was given about 400 hundred pieces of advertising works of art.

There were 256 leaflets, 23 broadsheets, 98 small cards, 15 brochures and 8 advertising souvenirs. About a quarter of these things advertised studios, hairdressers’, shoe-workshops, restaurants, sport, tourism and things like that. This “advertising storm” fell on passers-by and was supported with a lot of posters and broadsheets.

The establishment of trade and manufacture logos began throughout this period. It occurred noisily, with a lot of responses in newspapers, with a clear aspiration to embody newly appeared brands in recognition of consumers once and for ever.

Marks of mass consumer products had received additional with the beginning of manufacture of the packed goods with the new advertising opportunities found now earlier by especially utilitarian sphere of packing.

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Mass media – American Adverts in 18th-19th Centuries