ADVERTISING (from French Avertir, to notify”. Originally, advertising implied mere publication, a notice for an individual or class, such as legal advertisements. The word, however, is now generally applied to the ad vertisement of merchandise to the public at large, through periodicals, circulars, posters, painted signs, electrical display, etc. In its pres ent sense advertising is a powerful and legiti mate force in the commercial world and in the distribution of commodities, and it has been designated as the literature of persuasion. Its volume in the United States figured in dollars is so great as to place it among the most im portant of the nation's activities.
History of The rudiments of advertising as it is practised to-day for the promotion of commerce can be traced back as far as commerce itself. With the invention of the rudest forms of writing came advertise ments, such as the rewards for runaway slaves. These were written on papyri and well-pre served• copies have been exhumed at Thebes. Before writing was developed advertising by means of criers and sign-boards existed. The latter have been used in all ages for the in formation of the illiterate. Shops in ancient Pompeii had terra-cotta signs, showing a goat to denote a milk-seller's stall, or two men at sword-play to indicate a fencing school. Old tavern signs like the °Star and Garter') are a mediaeval form of the same species of adver tisement. All shops in London and Paris had such picture-advertisements in the Middle Ages, so that servants unable to read might find them. Until the invention of printing advertis ing was necessarily of this primitive character. But since the 16th century it has steadily kept pace with the increase in periodicals and books. The oldest newspaper advertisement preserved appears in a German newsbook of 1591, and is a book notice. The first newspaper traceable in France (1612) was partly an advertising me dium. The first English newspaper appeared in 1622 and the first advertisement 30 years later. But before that the puffing of books, plays, cure-alls and quacks by posters, proces sions, etc., was very common. The introduction of tea, coffee and chocolate into England is recorded in old newspaper advertisements (1652-58). Addison's Taller No. 224 (1710) is devoted entirely to descriptions of advertise ments of that day in the public press and tells of methods of exploiting pills, plasters, cos metics, books, houses for rent and advertising for lost animals and runaway wives. Fifty
years later (1759) Dr. Johnson thought that °the trade of advertising is now so near to per fection that it is not easy to propose any improvement? The first newspaper advertise ment in America appears in the Boston News Letter, of 1704. Notices of shipping and re wards for slaves were numerous in the New England Weekly Journal (Boston) of 1728, and shortly after this American newspapers be gan to carry miscellaneous trade advertise ments.
In Great Britain advertisements were heavily taxed until 1833, an impost of 3s. 6d. being levied on each one appearing in a newspaper, though it might be but a laborer's advertise ment for work. Upon the abolition of this tax advertising immediately began to grow. To-day Great Britain probably stands next to the United States in the extent of advertising expenditure. The London and proNIncial news papers are heavily patronized, while outdoor advertising is more extensive and less sightly than in this country. English magazines, though numerous, have never been developed as adver tising mediums to the extent that the American have. In advertising practice British trades men and manufacturers respect and study American advertising methods, adapting many of our devices to their own needs. In Con tinental Europe advertising finds its chief out let in the newspapers, which often have tre mendous circulations, and by means of outdoor posters and bulletins. The latter forms of ad vertisement are generally controlled by govern ments on the Continent, and not only yield a revenue to the state, but are regulated as to size, location and display. While France, Ger many, Italy and other countries have numerous weekly and monthly reviews, none of them have ever attained the importance of leading Ameri can magazines as advertising mediums. Great Britain and the continental countries have ex cellent facilities for the transportation of mer chandise parcels through the posts, and it might be thought that on this account some system corresponding to our mail order advertising would have been developed. But mail order advertising is limited abroad, probably because most of the population is in close touch with distributing centres, and also because the mass of the people, not so evenly prosperous as Amer ican farmers, have a smaller purchasing power.