History of Advertising - The Pros and Cons of Advertising


Table of Contents


History of Advertising

It is difficult to imagine how advertising worked before television, the radio and the Internet, but, in fact, advertising goes back to ancient Greece where people wrote " For Sale" on the sides of their houses if they wanted to move. In the Middle Ages merchants hung wooden signs in front of their stores to show people what they were selling.

The invention of the printing press in the 1440s had a big effect on advertising. Flyers and posters could be made very cheaply and by 1600 newspaper ads were common.

After the Civil War advertising agencies became popular in America. First they only sold space in newspapers and magazines but later on they also wrote and produced their own ads.

The invention of the radio in the 1920s and television in the 1940s revolutionized advertising. Companies could now inform millions of people about their products over the airwaves. More recently the Internet and e-mail have led to the development of new advertising strategies.



Pros and cons of advertising

There are many contrasting opinions about advertising.

Those in favour say that advertising educates consumers about new products and services that can help them improve their lives. It also increases sales so that companies can produce things at lower costs and make things cheaper.

going-out-of-businessThey say that advertising helps the economy and gives jobs to many people. Without advertising some free radio and TV channels wouldn't be able to exist. Sporting and other events are sponsored by ads. Ticket prices would be higher without advertisements.


On the other side, critics say that consumers pay for advertising through higher product prices. They say that small companies sometimes have to close because they cannot compete with larger ones.

Through advertising, people sometimes buy products that they may not need and often cannot afford. This leads to a higher personal debt. It also leads to a throwaway society – goods are thrown away and more pollution and waste is produced.

Children are very often the main target of advertisers. They sometimes don't know which products are good for them and buy the wrong things. Fast food and snack companies show ads, which lead to obesity and diabetes.



Related Topics



  • advertising agency =a company that designs ads for other companies
  • afford = to have enough money so that you can buy something
  • airwaves = radio and TV broadcasts
  • ancient = old
  • Civil War = war between northern states and southern states in America in the 19 th century
  • common =liked by many people and very popular
  • compete = to try to be better than another company
  • consumer = a person who buys products
  • contrasting = different from each other
  • critic = someone who does not think very well about something and tries to point out the bad sides
  • development =growth
  • diabetes = a disease in which there is too much sugar in your blood
  • economy =financial system of a country
  • educate = teach
  • effect =the way in which an event or a person changes
  • flyer = leaflet , handout = a piece of paper with information on it about things that people want to sell
  • for sale = something that is to be sold
  • imagine =to picture something in your mind
  • improve = to make better
  • in favour of = for something
  • increase = to go up
  • invention = something that has been made and is useful to people
  • merchant = a person who buys and sells things
  • obesity = when someone is very fat
  • personal debt = you spend more money that you have and cannot pay it back
  • pollution =to make something dirty so that it cannot be used
  • popular = liked by many people
  • printing press = a machine that prints newspapers, books, magazines etc..
  • pros and cons = good and bad sides of something
  • recently = in the last few years
  • revolutionize = to completely change the way people do something or think about something
  • sales = the selling of products
  • service =work that you do for someone
  • sign =notice, poster with information on it
  • space =room
  • sponsor = to pay for
  • strategy = the way you do something
  • target =aim, object of an action
  • throwaway society = people buy things and use them for a short time and then throw them away and buy something new
  • waste = the things you throw away