This week, we’re covering the history of advertising. Starting in 1970 and working our way through the decades, we will attempt to show you the vast changes (and extreme progress) of advertising methods and media.
The 1970s was a period of political unrest and economic pressures. However, by 1975, total ad expenditures and top agency billings increased faster than inflation, gross national product or any other economic indicator. Advertising was a prominent component of American culture.
During the 1970s, the average American consumer was exposed to 1,600 ads per day, with only 80 being consciously noticed. TV was popular and soon became a preferred ad medium through the entire decade. Advertiser spending approached $5.9 billion in 1976, with more than 69 million homes in the U.S. owning at least one TV set and watching TV up to 6 hours per day!
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“Positioning” became the popular advertising strategy of the 1970s. This was seen as an efficient way of placing ads in the minds of potential customers. Science and statistics were used to achieve a successful “position.” Marketers found it necessary to position a product in a consumer’s mind, given that the culture was so media-oriented.
As a result of this “positioning” strategy, comparative advertising flourished. Pepsi and Coca-Cola went head-to-head and Pepsi’s market share was boosted with their blinded taste test campaign. Most campaigns were geared around the brand’s context of its own merits and relating to its competitors.
Additionally, advertising agencies in the U.S. began looking overseas for new markets and growth. However, with this growth came heavy government regulation and began to trigger concerns that advertising was capitalizing on the inability of children to make a distinction between commercials and programs. These regulations and concerns lead into the 1980s…