Online Exclusive: Marketing History


Events That Defined the Industry and Helped Shape the Nation

Published on .

NEW YORK ( -- As part of its 75th anniversary, the editors of Advertising Age sifted through thousands of historical events to determine the advertising industry's 75 most meaningful moments. Below are the year-by-year Advertising Age moments from the birth of the publication in 1930 to the particulars of the landmark 2000 census.

1930: Advertising Age launches. (75)
1930: Buick ads back used cars. (50)
1931: Neil McElroy’s P&G brand management memo. (1)
1932: George Gallup joins Young & Rubicam, develops syndicated opinion poll. (41)
1933: Birth of
The first issue of 'Life' magazine was published in 1936.
daytime soap opera. (29)
1933: Nielsen tracks share of market, introduces the Nielsen Food & Drug Index. (37)
1934: The Communications Act creates the Federal Communications Commission. (23)
1936: Tampax uses print ads, changing the marketing of personal hygiene products. (61)
1936: Photo-driven Life on newsstands. (34)
1938: Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act is passed. The law gives the Federal Trade Commission power to police “deceptive acts of commerce.” (68)
1938: Townsend brothers and copy testing. A consultancy ruffles feathers in the ad world with a 27-point proprietary test for evaluating copy. (66)
1938: Philco remote-control device arrives. (27)
1940s: “Bug bomb” and other dividends of WWII fuel booming consumer economy. (31)
1940s: African-Americans enter ad industry, yet progress in major agencies is mixed. (22)
1941: Advertising on TV. First ad from Bulova. (2)
1942: Advertising Council is formed. (58)
1946: Motivational research arrives. (71)
1947: Levittown opens in N.Y. (24)
1948: Marion Harper Jr. heads McCann-Erickson. (4)
1948: “A diamond is forever” is written by Frances Gerety. (64)
1949: Doyle Dane Bernbach opens its doors. (10)
1950s: Reeves’ Unique Selling Proposition. (33)
The Marlboro man first rode into advertising in 1954.
1952: Ike’s “Man from Abilene.” Rosser Reeves creates a TV campaign for Dwight D. Eisenhower. (39)
1954: Marlboro Man saddles up. (51)
1955: Ray Kroc extends the McDonald’s franchise. (11)
1957: Edsel bows, becomes one of Detroit’s biggest flops. (65)
1957: Vance Packard’s “The Hidden Persuaders” sparks an outcry from the public. (26)
1957: First Japanese car sold in U.S. (13)
1958: Bank of America’s BankAmericards roll out, with the convenience of charge cards and revolving payments. (46)
1959: Quiz show scandals change TV buying. (30)
1960s: Birth of Univision and Hispanic TV. (59)
1962: Wal-Mart opens first store, eventually becomes the most powerful force in retail. (5)
1963: “Pepsi Generation” and the cola wars. (38)
1963: Lever Bros. solicits from its agencies ways to more effectively use African-Americans and other minorities in advertising. (48)
1963: Avis declares it’s No. 2. DDB comes up with a novel “We try harder” campaign. (42)
Ray Kroc extended the McDonald's franchise in 1955.
Cigarettes “hazardous to your health.” In less than a decade, cigarette ads are banned from TV. (40)
1964: Start of cable, satellite-delivered TV. (32)
1965: Ralph Nader and consumer advocacy gain; attack on Corvair in “Unsafe at Any Speed.” (21)
1966: Legendary adwoman Mary Wells and partners open Wells, Rich, Greene, and go on to create iconic ad lines like Alka-Seltzer’s “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” (54)
1968: Marbles in the soup scandal involving Campbell’s, BBDO leads to closer FTC scrutiny. (15)
1968: Peggy Charren founds Action for Children’s Television. It eventually leads to limits on advertising to kids. (69)
1969: MCI competes with AT&T beginning the Phone Wars. (63)
1970s: Emergence of “positioning.” (56)
1971: National Advertising Review Council formed. (14)
1972: Y&R’s “Whole Egg” theory on integrated services. (25)
1974: Universal Product Code unveiled. (47)
1975: Miller changes the beer business when it rolls out Lite (and the classic “Tastes great, less filling” tagline). (36)
The first episode of the 'Star Wars' saga ushered in a new era of movie merchandising.
1976: Advertising gets First Amendment protection. (12)
1977: “Star Wars” saga begins movie merchandising. (43)
1979: Absolut vodka is launched. Award-winning ads from TBWA. (67)
1980s: LBOs shake up the marketing world. (60)
1981: MTV makes its debut. (18)
1981: Beginnings of syndicated TV. (49)
1982: Reese’s Pieces and product placement soar via E.T. (57)
1982: Gannett Co. launches USA Today. (73)
1982: J&J’s Tylenol tampering case. (45)
1984: Apple launches the Macintosh via “1984” Super Bowl commercial. (35)
1984: Nike signs Chicago Bulls rookie basketball player Michael Jordan, spurring the use of celebrity sports endorsers overall. (52)
1985: New Coke fiasco triggers a consumer revolt. (6)
1986: The Big Bang. Omnicom Group is formed from the combination of BBDO, DDB and Needham Harper Worldwide. (8)
1986: Ted Bates Worldwide Chairman Bob Jacoby pockets $110 million in Saatchi & Saatchi’s acquisition of his agency. (16)
The 1990s saw the emergence of the mass-audience Internet and the concept of interactive marketing.
1986: Fox network debuts, paves the way for edgier content on broadcast TV. (62)
1987: WPP Group acquires J. Walter Thompson. (20)
1990s: Agencies unbundle media units. (17)
1990: Compensation consultant at IBM assesses how it pays agencies. (55)
1993: Marlboro Friday reaction to generics. (9)
1994: HotWired runs first Internet ad. (28)
1995: P&G chief Ed Artzt’s speech marks the advent of online marketing. (7)
1997: FDA approves DTC ads. (19)
TiVo popularized the idea of consumer control over TV content, enabling viewers to watch what they want, when they want.
1997: RJR retires old Joe Camel. (70)
2000s: Advent of TiVo and other devices put control into hands of the consumer. (3)
2000: Bubble bursts as dot-coms crash. (44)
2000: Food marketers consolidate. Mergers include Unilever buying Bestfoods, Philip Morris adding Nabisco. (72)
2000: Birth of reality TV. New genre of TV takes off with CBS’ Survivor. (74)
2000: Census 2000, a wake-up call for marketers as Hispanics garner most attention. (53)
Most Popular
In this article: