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Joy Lee

An evolution in advertisements

The ever-changing world of advertising

Evolution doesn’t just apply to the animal kingdom; it doesn’t even just apply to physical objects. Our ideologies and expectations evolve over time to fit our environment, as well as our lifestyle. With that, the advertising world isn’t that much different. We’ve come a long way, from when tokens/models and word of mouth are the only ways to advertise, to having to now consider even people’s daily habits if we are to reach them.

Advertising: The past

With a much smaller playing field in olden days, most people only knew what was available to them either from their market square or, if they were lucky enough, in the next village. Hawkers literally hawked their wares, calling out through their streets or going on day(s)-long trips to sell their goods. Things were basic; people only bought and sold what was needed because they lacked the skills or means to sell them. Nobles or aristocrats were the only ones able to obtain higher luxury items, and even then, they looked to the court for their inspiration. The court likewise drew inspiration from traveling merchants from another country. The world soon grew through conquests and acquisitions, with technology aiding or promoting the growth.

The printing press: A gift to advertising

The rapid use of the printing press, coupled with faster means of communication (royal mail highways, ships, and the like), allowed people to start marketing their goods. It wasn’t just the basics that were being sold anymore; with the growth of the cities, bakeries, apothecaries and more started to appear.

The means for people to shout about their goods and services? The printed paper. People started to place ads, and print flyers for distribution all in a bid to advertise their wares. And that’s why they started to also get creative: How else to tell others that what they had was better than their competitors? You start to see endorsements, catchphrases, and even promotions. “Freshly baked” just won’t cut it anymore.

The age of consumerism soon arrived. Customers wanted more, at value, and wanted them fast. Advertising would have to evolve to help businesses as time progressed.

Digital and omnichannel marks the next chapter

Long gone are the days when we have to look to the papers, television, or radio to know what’s out there. These days, everything is just a click away. As we have advanced, so have our expectations; they have evolved from just wanting an item to how we experience the journey of obtaining it.

Advertisers have to think of the different platforms, timeframes, and even emotions a brand can reach the consumer. It’s no longer just about the brand itself. A popular name is definitely a factor, but a competing brand is just as well known. Influencers? The competitor has got them too. Sustainability? It’s now also something of a purchasing factor.

So what’s next? These are how advertising has evolved over the centuries: From something self-sustaining to an industry teeming with experts, it’s no longer a 1-solution avenue to get yourself heard. In fact, advertising itself has evolved to encompass part of public relations, exhibitions/events and even helping a brand to stay relevant.

In this ever-changing world, it is important to remember that we have to change with the times. Advertising is no longer just one dimensional; we have evolved to such a stage that we too, at times, have to remember to advertise ourselves.