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Prior to television, commercials used to be aired on the radio. Before radio,
businesses used to advertise their wares in a variety of different ways,
mostly through print media. Even before print media, metal signs depicting
the nature of the product were produced. For as long as there have been
people in business, they have sought different ways to advertise their
business. The purpose was to get more sales leads and generate more
revenue for the business. Things have not changed. Although advertising
has come a long way, the nature of the reason for advertising has not
changed since the days of the metal signs.
Radio commercials used to often feature jingles. The purposes of these
jingles were to make the listener remember the product. Remember that
people could not visualize the product back then, so they identified with the
jingle. Commercial jingles were so popular: they were also later used in
television advertising, although they seem to have lost their appeal.
Early radio advertisers were the sponsors of the radio program. They were
short and sweet and people were forced to listen because they didn’t want to
miss the next installment of their favorite radio show. Plus, back in those
days, there was no remote control.
When television came out in the late 1940s, advertisers quickly saw this as a
good media to sell their product. They began sponsoring certain television
shows. They often found ways to not only sponsor by their frequent
commercials, but also within the program itself. One example of this is the
old “I Love Lucy” television program, probably one of the most popular sitcoms of all times. It was sponsored by Phillip Morris. Lucille Ball and Desi
Arnaz had stipulations in their contract that they had to often be seen
smoking during the program. This is why Ricky was often seen coming out
of his child’s bedroom with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
In return for their sponsorship, the program aired. People were treated to
all sorts of commercials in black and white that would seem very amateurish
to people today. Madison Avenue was always the place for the big “ad
men.” It soon became apparent that in addition to designing clever ads for
magazines and billboards, they had to film commercial ads. The needed
actors and cameras, lights and sets. Was it worth it?
There were those businesses who thought that television would never last.
They balked at the idea of spending a lot more money to advertise on
television. And they certainly didn’t want to pay to sponsor an entire
program. Most of those businesses have now gone out of business.
Television advertising is a multi-billion dollar business. Commercial jingles
from the past are still remembered fondly but advertisers have become
more creative and many big businesses have decided to put a lot more
money into their advertising. A good example of this is the Super Bowl. The
ads that are broadcast during this annual football event are the most
expensive ads in the business. Companies spend millions of dollars not only
creating the clever ad that they hope will “stand out among the others” but
also for the time they need to pay to have their commercial aired. Things
have changed since “I Love Lucy. “ No longer are the programs grateful to
the sponsors, now the sponsors are grateful to the programs. There are
many people who watch the Super Bowl every year just to see the new and
very clever ads. And the next day at work, the ads are more discussed than
the actual game.
People are visual. And advertising is effective. As more people began using
the internet, advertisers turned to this new media to promote their sales.
They used print ads and pop up ads most of the time. Then they began to
realize that what worked for television may also work for the internet.
According to UCLA studies, 82 percent of the people in the United States use
the internet. And many use it much more than they watch television.
Advertisers took the next logical step and began promoting video advertising
on the internet. At first, it began small. Print ads that could be clicked on.
Then they moved to cleverer banner ads with animation. Now they are
moving to video advertising.