Ad Age Advertising Century: Timeline
A 295-Year Synopsis of the Most Important Events in American Advertising, 1704 to 1999
|1704||The first newspaper advertisement, an announcement seeking a buyer for an Oyster Bay, Long Island, estate, is published in the Boston News-Letter.|
|1729||Benjamin Franklin begins publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette in Philadelphia, which includes pages of "new advertisements."|
|1742||Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine prints the first American magazine ads.|
|1784||The Pennsylvania Packet & Daily Advertiser, America's first successful daily newspaper, starts in Philadelphia.|
|1833||Benjamin Day publishes the Sun, the first successful "penny newspaper" in New York. By 1837, circulation reaches 30,000, making it the world's largest newspaper.|
|1843||Volney Palmer opens the first advertising agency in Philadelphia.|
|1867||New York agency Carlton & Smith begins buying the right to place advertising in religious magazines.|
|1868||With $250, Francis Wayland Ayer opens N.W. Ayer & Son (named after his father) in Philadelphia and implements the first commission system based on "open contracts." His clients include Montgomery Ward, John Wanamaker Department Stores, Singer Sewing Machines and Pond's Beauty Cream.|
|1873||The first convention of advertising agents is held in New York.|
|1877||James Walter Thompson buys Carlton & Smith from William J. Carlton, paying $500 for the business and $800 for the office furniture. He renames it after himself and moves into general magazine advertising. Later, he invents the position of account executive.|
|1880||Department store founder John Wanamaker is the first retailer to hire a full-time advertising copywriter, John E. Powers.|
|1881||Daniel M. Lord and Ambrose L. Thomas form Lord & Thomas in Chicago. The firm eventually becomes Foote, Cone & Belding.|
|1882||Procter & Gamble Co.begins advertising Ivory soap with an unprecedented budget of $11,000.|
|1883||Cyrus H.K. Curtis launches Ladies' Home Journal with his wife, Louisa Knapp Curtis, as editor.|
|1886||N.W. Ayer promotes advertising with the slogan "Keeping everlastingly at it brings success."|
|1887||The American Newspaper Publishers Association is formed.|
|1891||The George Batten Co. opens.|
|1892||N.W. Ayer hires its first full-time copywriter. Ladies' Home Journal bans patent-medicine advertising.|
|1893||Frank Munsey drops the price of Munsey's Magazine to 10� and the cost of subscriptions to $1, marking the first attempt at keeping a magazine afloat by advertising revenue rather than newsstand sales. Asa Briggs Chandler registers Coca-Cola as a trademark. George P. Rowell of Boston founds Printer's Ink, a magazine that serves as the "little schoolmaster in the art of advertising."|
|1898||N.W. Ayer helps National Biscuit Co. launch the first prepackaged biscuit, Uneeda, with the slogan "Lest you forget, we say it yet, Uneeda Biscuit." Eventually, the company launches the first million-dollar advertising campaign for Uneeda.|
|1899||J. Walter Thompson Co. is the first agency to open an office in the U.K. Campbell Soup Co.makes its first advertising buy. The Association of American Advertisers, predecessor to the Association of National Advertisers, is formed.|
|1900||N.W. Ayer establishes a Business-Getting Department to plan advertising campaigns based on prospective advertisers' marketing needs.|
|1904||The Associated Advertising Clubs of America, a group of agencies, advertisers and media representatives, is formed.|
|1906||W.K. Kellogg places his first ads for Corn Flakes in six midwestern newspapers. By 1915, he is spending $1 million on national advertising. Congress passes the Pure Food & Drug Act, forcing product labels to list the active ingredients.|
|1911||Standard Oil, after being dissolved by the Supreme Court, invites Harrison King McCann to form an agency to service its dispersed divisions. For the first time in its history, P&G pays an outside agency, J. Walter Thompson Co., to launch Crisco, its new vegetable shortening. Woodbury Soap breaks its "The skin you love to touch" campaign in the Ladies' Home Journal, marking the first time sex appeal is used in advertising.|
|1911||A group of large agencies forms the Association of New York Agents, predecessor to the American Association of Advertising Agencies.|
|1914||The Audit Bureau of Circulations is formed, standardizing auditing procedures and tightening up definitions of paid circulation. The Federal Trade Commission Act is passed, and Joseph E. Davies is named the first FTC chairman. Section 5 allows it to issue cease-and-desist orders against dishonest advertising.|
|1916||J. Walter Thompson retires; Stanley Resor and a group of colleagues buy him out for $500,000. Resor becomes president, establishes a market research department and closes the London office to save costs. A group of agencies forms the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau, which eventually controls about three-quarters of the outdoor national advertising in America.|
|1917||The American Association of Advertising Agencies, the first agency trade association, is established with 111 charter-member agencies.|
|1919||Barton, Durstine & Osborn opens in New York.|
|1920||KDKA, Pittsburgh, becomes the first radio station in the U.S. and is the first to broadcast the results of the 1920 presidential election.|
|1921||Bozell & Jacobs opens in Omaha.|
|1922||AT&T's station WEAF in New York offers 10 minutes of radio time to anyone who would pay $100. The Queensboro Corp., a Long Island real estate firm, buys the first commercials in advertising history�four: 15 spots at $50 apiece. Following the ads extolling Hawthorne Court, a new tenant-owned apartment complex in Jackson Heights, sales total thousands of dollars.|
Theodore F. MacManus helps Walter Chrysler launch his new car, the Chrysler Six.
National Carbon Co.'s "Eveready Hour" is the first regular series of broadcast entertainment and music to be sponsored by an advertiser.
John Orr Young and Raymond Rubicam form Young & Rubicam in Philadelphia. They move to New York at the request of General Foods in 1926.
|1924||Goodrich Tires sponsors the first hourlong show over a network of nine radio stations.|
|1925||The National Better Business Bureau is organized.|
|1926||Radio Corp. of America buys New York radio station WEAF from AT&T and renames it WNBC. It forms the first radio network with 19 stations within the year, and the National Broadcasting Co. is launched.|
Columbia Broadcasting System, a second major radio network, is launched.
The Federal Radio Commission is established.
Lintas (Lever International Advertising Services) is formed as a house agency for Unilever in England, Holland and Germany.
Barton, Durstine & Osborn merges with the George Batten Co., forming Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn. With billings of $32 million, it becomes one of the biggest shops.
"The Lucky Strike Dance Orchestra" show, later renamed "Your Hit Parade," debuts over 39 NBC stations.
Following the stock market crash, advertising spending plummets. From its high of $3.5 billion, it sinks to $1.5 billion by 1933.
William Benton and Chester Bowles open Benton & Bowles.
American Tobacco Co. spends $12.3 million to advertise Lucky Strikes, the most any company has ever spent on single-product advertising.
|1930||Advertising Age is launched in Chicago.|
William Esty leaves JWT to start his own agency.
George W. Gallup joins Y&R as director of research and develops a widely syndicated opinion poll.
|1935||Leo Burnett leaves Erwin, Wasey to start his own agency in Chicago.|
|1936||Life publishes its first edition. It later becomes the first magazine to carry $100 million annually in advertising.|
Radio surpasses magazines as a source of advertising revenue.
Congress passes the Copeland Bill, which gives the Food & Drug Administration regulatory powers over the manufacture and sale of drugs.
|1939||NBC experiments with a telecast of TV's first baseball game, Princeton vs. Columbia.|
|1940||Ted Bates leaves Benton & Bowles to start his own agency, taking the Wonder bread and Colgate dental cream accounts.|
|1941||With 7,500 TV sets in New York City, NBC's WNBT begins telecasting July 1. The first TV spots, featuring a Bulova watch that ticks for 60 seconds, air as open- and close-time signals for the day's schedule.|
|1942||The War Advertising Council is organized to help prepare voluntary advertising campaigns for wartime efforts. The council garners $350 million in free public service messages. After the war it is renamed the Advertising Council.|
|1943||Albert Lasker liquidates his stock in Lord & Thomas for $10 million, and it reopens as Foote, Cone & Belding.|
|1946||Frederic Wakeman's "The Hucksters" is published and becomes a bestseller and would later become a film starring Clark Gable.|
|1947||JWT becomes the first agency to surpass $100 million in billings.|
|1948||Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather is launched.|
|1949||Doyle Dane Bernbach opens its doors.|
The FCC lifts its ban on new TV stations after problems of signal interference are worked out.
The Advertising Research Foundation endorses A.C. Nielsen's machine-based ratings system for TV.
CBS opens its Television City production facilities in Hollywood.
|1953||The Advertising Research Foundation is established.|
|1954||CBS becomes the largest advertising medium in the world.|
|1955||The Marlboro Man campaign debuts.|
|1956||Videotape recording makes prerecorded commercials possible.|
In what would be one of the great marketing disasters of automotive history, Ford Motor Co.introduces the Edsel.
Vance Packard's "The Hidden Persuaders," a potent attack on advertising, is published. It stays on the bestseller list for 18 weeks.
|1958||The National Association of Broadcasters bans subliminal ads.|
McCann restructures its agencies under the banner of Interpublic Group of Cos., allowing it to handle competing accounts under one corporate roof.
Doyle Dane Bernbach introduces the "creative team" approach of combining a copywriter with an art director to create its "Think small" campaign for Volkswagen.
Papert, Koenig, Lois is launched. In 1962, it becomes the first agency to go public.
|1962||David Ogilvy publishes "Confessions of an Advertising Man."|
|1963||"The Pepsi Generation" kicks off the cola wars.|
After the U.S. surgeon general determines that smoking is "hazardous to your health," The New Yorker and other magazines ban cigarette ads.
Ogilvy, Benson & Mather merges with London-based parent company Mather & Crowther, to form Ogilvy & Mather.
NBC drops its ban on comparative advertising. ABC and CBS don't follow suit until 1972.
|1966||Following a string of account losses, Rosser Reeves, Ted Bates' first creative chief and promoter of advertising that offers a "unique selling proposition," resigns at age 55.|
|1967||Wells, Rich, Greene is established. Mary Wells is the first woman to head a major agency.|
With Interpublic in financial disarray, Marion Harper Jr. resigns in disgrace.
Saatchi & Saatchi is established in London.
The Four A's, ANA and American Advertising Federation launch the National Advertising Review Board to monitor questions of taste and social responsibility in advertising.
Congress prohibits broadcast advertising of cigarettes.
|1975||The Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act gives the agency clear power to set industrywide rules and to take knowing violators to federal court to seek civil penalties.|
|1976||The Supreme Court grants advertising First Amendment protection.|
Ted Turner creates CNN.
Congress removes the FTC's power to stop "unfair" advertising.
|1981||MTV debuts with frenetic video images that change the nature of commercials.|
|1982||Gannett Co. launches USA Today.|
Needham Harper Worldwide, BBDO International and Doyle Dane Bernbach merge to create Omnicom Group, the largest advertising company in the world.
Bozell & Jacobs merges with Kenyon & Eckhardt.
Saatchi & Saatchi buys Ted Bates Worldwide, becoming the world's largest agency holding company.
Saatchi & Saatchi merges Backer & Spielvogel with Bates to form Backer Spielvogel Bates.
Martin Sorrell sells more than $500 million worth of new shares in WPP Group, allowing him to pay almost $600 million for JWT in the industry's first hostile takeover.
|1988||WPP acquires the Ogilvy Group for $864 million, the highest price paid for an agency.|
The Internet becomes a reality as 5 million users worldwide get online.
Philip Morris announced plans to cut the price of its flagship Marlboro brand and heavy up on promotional outlays. The move, coined "Marlboro Friday," plunged Philip Morris' shares 23% and reverberated to other package goods stocks.
|1994||In the largest account switch in history, IBM Corp. yanks its business from scores of agencies worldwide and consolidates the entire account with O&M.|
|1995||TBWA and Chiat/Day merge.|
Following crises within the organization, Saatchi & Saatchi re-emerges under newly created Cordiant.
As its share price plunges 30%, Maurice and Charles Saatchi leave the agency they founded in 1970.
WPP combines the media operations of JWT and O&M to form The Alliance, the largest U.S. media buyer with more than $2 billion.
Cordiant spins off Saatchi & Saatchi and Bates Worldwide into separate companies.
The Wells agency shuts its doors.
Cigarette makers and state attorneys general draft a $206 billion deal that curbs marketing and settles lawsuits to recover Medicaid costs.
Interpublic combines its Western International Media with Initiative Media in Paris to create the world's largest media management shop with $10 billion in billings.
|1999||Internet advertising breaks the $2 billion mark and heads toward $3 billion as the industry, under prodding from Procter & Gamble, moves to standardize all facets of the industry.|