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History of Advertising and Public Relations

Your advertising history museum is filled with vintage print ads, TV commercials and advertising icons.

Great Moments in Advertising History Part 1
In early November of 1971, Led Zeppelin did something that most people then, and now, would consider advertising and marketing suicide. They released their fourth album without a title, the band name, a track listing, record label logo, or any of the other common properties that you’d find on a typical rock or pop album.

Vintage Ads From America
In part one of this series, we looked at some of the major events that happened in the 1940s, and how they affected the world of advertising, marketing and design. Not surprisingly, the ads themselves were byproducts of a decade when racism and sexism and were par for the course. Now, we cast our eye on the 1950s to see just how advertising progressed (or in some cases, regressed) and the events that may have affected that work. We start with the biggest:

Vintage Television Ads From America
The popularity of the show Mad Men has brought to light some examples of advertising that the advertising industry would like to forget. In particular, the way we advertise to men and women. Times have certainly changed, and it seems the world of advertising is a good way to judge that transition. In a three-part series, we will examine ads from...

6 Ways Advertising Attracts Men.
In part one of this two-part series, we looked at three different ways advertising panders to men. First, by really playing up the manliest things in life. Second, by bowing down to the inner child within us all. And third, to bombard us with images of attractive semi-naked women. Now we look at three more ways that advertising sells stuff to the weaker sex (trust me, we die earlier, we get more diseases, we are not stronger in many regards).

6 Ways Advertising Attracts Men.
Over the years, I have noticed that the adverts seem to fall into several big buckets. There are obviously more than six categories, but most fit into them. If you’re a woman reading this, some will apply to you, too. After all, you also buy products for men. But advertisements that are aimed at you, for you, tend to fall into different...

Great People In Advertising
Every industry has its stars, past and present, and advertising is certainly no exception. In fact, the very nature of advertising, and the number of different industries it touches, has resulted in some of the biggest players becoming household names. If you're new to the advertising industry, some of these people may not be familiar to you. If you're a veteran, this list will hopefully be a nice reminder of the greats who helped you get where you are today.

What’s In a Name?
It’s surprising that in an industry that makes its bread and butter with creativity and originality, advertising is home to some of the most boring agency names on the planet. Indeed, it’s very fair to say that only law firms rival their completely uninspired approach to self-naming.

The Top 10 April Fool’s Pranks Pulled by Advertisers
There’s a long history of advertisers and big corporations pulling April Fool’s jokes, and they continue to suck in consumers, readers, viewers, and radio listeners. To celebrate the tomfoolery, here is the Advertising channel’s top 10 April Fool’s Day pranks over the years.

The Stella Artois “Reassuringly Expensive” Campaign
If you know the name Stella Artois, you know it's a Belgian lager beer with a reputation for excellence. But do you know about the history of the campaign that made it so exclusive?

A Brief History of Political Advertising in the USA
To say political ads bombard TV viewers, radio listeners, and anyone who sees a billboard would be a vast understatement. Political advertising gets bigger ever year, monetarily speaking, with an estimated $4 billion ready to be spent in the 2012 election year. But where did it stem from, and how has it changed?

Five Lesser-Known Ad Men You Should Know All About
You know the advertising greats, but what about the greats who didn't get as much press? Meet five men who had a huge impact on advertising.

Great Moments in Advertising History
Advertising has had a big influence on shopping habits and culture, thrusting products into our lives and creating new social norms. Some brilliant ad ideas have advanced the industry and, dare it we say it, civilization itself. Let's identify some of the great moments in advertising history...

A Profile of Steve Jobs - A Brief History of Steve Jobs and Apple
A pioneer, entrepreneur and one of the best clients the advertising industry ever had, Steve Jobs had a career (which ended way too soon) that anyone would envy.

Vintage Ads From America
In parts one and two of this three part series, we looked at the 1940s and 1950s, and a small sampling of the advertising that came out of the US in those two decades. Now, in this final chapter, we turn our eye to the 1960s. Will the swinging sixties, civil rights, free love and the women’s bring a change to the tonality of the advertising? Lets start by looking at some of the major events happening in the United States during that decade.

19th Century Advertising History
Harper's Weekly has compiled a database of advertisements that ran in their magazine from 1857-1872.

Broadcast Communications Museum
This site offers an encyclopedia of television as well as the history of radio. You'll even find newscasts and public programs available for viewing.

Emergence of Advertising in America
EAA is an online image database of over 9,000 advertising items and publications dating from 1850 to 1920.

Paley Center for Media
Formerly the Museum of Television and Radio, this non-profit organization includes more than 150,000 programs and commercials. Search the online database for everything from comedy shows on television to your favorite old commercials.

Howell, Henry, Chaldecott, Lury and Partners.
A brief history of Howell, Henry, Chaldecott, Lury and Partners, one of the most innovative and highly-copied agencies of the 1990's.

Profile of TBWA\Chiat\Day
A brief history of one of the greatest ad agencies in the world today - TBWA\Chiat\Day

Super Marketing: Ads from Comic Books
You tried to forget about Sea Monkeys and Silly Putty. But this site has all those comic book ads in print. If only the products lasted as long.


“Damn Good Advice” is not a magnum opus. It’s not written to be a self-serving piece of adulation. This is excellent advice, written in list form, in a way that is easy to digest.


Tony the Tiger is still gracing that box of Kellogg’s cereal more than 60 years after his debut in 1951. Find out where he came from, and how he survived so long.

Icons From Advertising History Part 2: The Marlboro Man
Perhaps the greatest cigarette icon to come out of the glut of tobacco advertising was the Marlboro Man. Conceived by Leo Burnett, the rugged model of American manliness was born in 1954.

Icons From Advertising History Part 5: McDonalds
It is estimated that there over 35,000 McDonalds restaurants around the world, serving more than 70 million people every day. Let's take a look at the birth of the Golden Arches.

Top 10 Epic Advertising Fails Ever Part One
These are the ad campaigns that suffer from incredibly bad timing, a complete lack of insight, or the hubris of both the ad agency and the client. FAIL.

Advertising In The 1920s
In a time when international travel happened by ship, and radio was the height of home entertainment, advertising in 1920s America was a very different animal

10 Awesome Fictional Ads From Movies
10 of the best fake ads and parody commercials from movies. From Robocop and Batman, to Total Recall and Coming To America, they're unforgettable.

10 Funny Banned TV Ads That Could Have Aired
Get ready for ten great, funny TV commercials that were banned from the airwaves. Thankfully, they're still available to view online. Go for it.

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