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By 1900 Advertising Became a Science

It is worth taking a stroll down memory lane to see how businesses by 1900 put such stock in the power of advertising.

Something must have been motivating them.

In a book from that period called the Handbook of Mahin Advertising Company we read the following, “Advertising is influencing the minds of people. It is making them think as you desire. It means utilizing all those forces which produce impressions and crystallize opinions. It is the creating of prestige – that quality which causes others to accept a statement without question.”

In 1901 business professor Emily Fogg-Meade gave an example in her article “The Place of Advertising in Modern Business”.  She wrote, “Royal Baking Powder becomes the symbol of all baking powders. In ordering her supply the busy housewife may forget the name of the new baking powder which her grocer has urged her to try, but the name of ‘Royal’ immediately occurs to her.”

Newspaper ad 1890

The idea of branding comes to mind. The consumer thinks of a particular ‘brand’ of the product, rather than the product.

Such is the way of modern advertising.

Fogg-Meade spelled out the reason for such advertising when she wrote, “This method of making the public acquainted with goods has been resorted to because the modern system of distribution requires that goods be sold in large quantities.”

Because so many goods were coming out of factories and they had to be sold in quantities, advertising for a particular brand worked quite well.

By 1900 people did not want any oatmeal, they wanted ‘Quaker Oats’, and not any bar of soap, but ‘Ivory.’

It was no surprise that American gardeners too wanted the garden style promoted in the catalog.

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