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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|1873||The first convention of advertising agents is held in New York.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|1911||A group of large agencies forms the Association of New York Agents, predecessor to the American Association of Advertising Agencies.|
|1919||Barton, Durstine & Osborn opens in New York.|
|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.|
|1923||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.|
|1927||Columbia Broadcasting System, a second major radio network, is
The Federal Radio Commission is established.
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.
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.
George W. Gallup joins Y&R as director of research and develops a widely syndicated opinion poll.
|1936||Life publishes its first edition. It later becomes the first magazine to carry $100 million annually in advertising.|
|1938||Radio surpasses magazines as a source of advertising
Congress passes the Copeland Bill, which gives the Food & Drug Administration regulatory powers over the manufacture and sale of drugs.
|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.|
|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 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.|
|1956||Videotape recording makes prerecorded commercials possible.|
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.|
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.
|1963||"The Pepsi Generation" kicks off the cola wars.|
|1964||After the U.S. surgeon general determines that smoking is
"hazardous to your health," The New Yorker and other magazines ban
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.|
Saatchi & Saatchi is established in London.
|1971||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.|
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.|
|1986||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.
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.|
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.|
|1995||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.
|1997||WPP combines the media operations of JWT and O&M to form
The Alliance, the largest U.S. media buyer with more than $2
Cordiant spins off Saatchi & Saatchi and Bates Worldwide into separate companies.
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.|