Sales and the history of sales go back for as long as man have lived. As soon as we could exchange things, we could trade. But to trade, you need to know how to sell. Sales techniques and advertising go back thousands of years for this simple reason. Ancient Egyptians, the Romans, Greeks, Chinese, even primitive South American tribes knew how to promote and advertise their goods. Modern advertising arose, however, in England, in 19th century British society. Up until that most advertising was simple – “We sell this at this address”. If you were to walk around London in the early 1800s, there would be plenty of smart posters and flyers, all using carefully picked sentences to catch your attention. This caught on across the globe, and as soon as a French newspaper printed the very first ad, advertising as we know it was born. Globalisation was just getting started. By the beginning of the 20th century, we were already using images and metaphors to awake certain inner emotions and reach into the “soul” of the masses.
Advertising made it possible to concentrate our minds on certain products, on certain technologies or services. Of course, all commercials, ads and so on are thoroughly checked before they are allowed to air on the TV or appear in newspapers. There have been talks about some companies using illegal techniques in video ads, early in the days of mass media expansion. Myths like these scared people into being more conscious about advertising, forcing the latter into displaying complete transparency and high morals.
In the 21st century, advertising is king. Marketing as a whole is probably the single most important service on our planet, as without it people would not know how to pick among the millions of possibilities out there. Marketing, together with strong advertising and branding, forces competition to remarkably high levels early on. At a certain point, there is no longer any point in trying to penetrate an established segment of the market since the competition is simply too fierce to allow a company to prosper. Companies are therefore being pushed into evolving further. Being better, doing something new. This keeps the ball rolling, the technologies coming. You could even go as far as to say that advertising keeps the world spinning.