The Voice | Selling wine or slaves? This is how it’s done
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Selling wine or slaves? This is how it’s done

Category: History of Advertising

Renaissance & Early Printing

Urban Development

Aside from supplying bodies for the Crusades, population begins to create commercial adjuncts to existing towns and cities. New cities are also created that are devoted to manufacturing and trade. Not ones to miss out on a good thing, the Church and lords and other minor nobility also participated. They sponsored locators who publicized and supervised development. The locators used heralds with bells or horns, and offered promises and benefits like personal freedom, free land, or an equity stake in the local mill.

The holders of virgin lands … sought to attract the immigrant by offering him the most advantageous material and personal conditions, and … had recourse to publicity to entice him. The charter of the (new town) which was to be founded was promulgated throughout the country, just as in our day the press publishes the most flamboyant prospectuses…” – Pirenne

This is a very Marxist ideology: government-sponsored commerce. The growth of towns leads to trade and industry, which lead to prosperity and progress. Urban snobbery begins here too: city dwellers in the middle ages already are looking down on their rural brethren. New urban dwellers are free men, either by charter or by breathing city air for “a year and a day.”  This length of time still exists today: the maximum criminal penalty for a misdemeanor is a year in prison. You often hear of someone being sentenced to prison for “a year and a day.” This is the minimum length of time of imprisonment for a felony. The judge is telling the criminal that what you did is more serious than a misdemeanor, which is why they add one day to the sentence, to make it classified as a felony.

 Heralds, Market Criers And Doorwaymen

During the Middle Ages, the largely illiterate public led to an expanded role of the town crier. There are records of barkers in Britain at the Stourbridge fair in the 3rd Century. In the late Middle Ages, a herald was usually the only crier licensed to roam the streets. Other criers were either in the central markets or posted outside shops. The guilds and local authorities tried to fix markets in squares, large buildings with many shops, or concentrated along streets often dedicated to a specialty in order to maintain standards of quality and price, order, convenience, and (often) control competition. But there was a natural counter-tendency for sellers to wander and new commercial sites to spring up.

 The Wine Criers

In France in 1141, Five of them got the right to cry the wine of certain taverns. They went around, honking horns to get attention, and extolling the virtues of the wine. There were a lot of these wine criers in Paris after a while, standing in the street with oaken casks dolling out free samples.

“Whoever is a crier in Paris may go to any tavern he likes and cry its wine … and that there is no other crier employed for that tavern; and the tavern keeper cannot prohibit him. If a crier finds people drinking in a tavern, he may ask what they pay for the wine they drink; and he may go out and cry the wine at the prices they pay, whether the tavern keeper wishes it or not… Each crier is to receive [receive what daily] daily from the tavern for which he cries at least four denarii.” – 1258 Charter of the Wine Criers of Paris.

The theory was that one free drink would entice people to come in for more. This is an excellent example of the prejudices against merchants in the Middle Ages. They had to overcome roadblocks at every turn of the road.

  •  “I had but sixpence for crying a little wench of thirty years and upwards that had lost herself betwixt a tavern and a bawdy house.” – Soliman and Perseda, 1599.
  • “Cooks to their knaves cried “Hot pies, hot! Good griskin (pork) and geese – go dine, go!” – John Langland, Piers Ploughman.
  • “One-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot cross buns! … Come buy my whitings fine and new … Dust, O! Dust, O! Bring it out today, Bring it out today! I shan’t be here tomorrow! … Strawberries ripe and cherries in the rise! … Fuller’s earth, fuller’s earth! Freshly dug to clean your wool! Come and buy, my sacks are full! … Sprats big as herrings, sprats all live, ho! … Stinking shrimps today! Lor! Ow they do stink today!”
  • “The taverner is more to blame than I, for as I passed before his door, and he being seated at it as usual, called to me saying, ‘Will you be pleased to breakfast here? I have good bread, good wine, and good meat.’” A servant excuses himself to his master in the French Debates of Gringald and Gorgen.

The Commercial Revolution

The risk of robbers on the road and limitations of having to use pack animals limited the volume of goods. The importance of international fairs declined as shipping improved. There was a rise of trade by sea: first Venice in Italy, then Genoa, Pisa, and even landlocked Florence and Milan. The Hanseatic League offered protection to the ships of its member cities. They could now travel to distant ports for products that Western Europe desired.

Cities grew by maintaining connections with the Byzantine Empire and trading goods with the rest of Europe.

Trade by sea led to the shipment of bulk goods like grain or wool being carried long distances. Towns came to rely on the imports. Sicily shipped grain to Flanders during their famine in 1315; England stopped making wine once they came to rely on regular shipments; salt came from the Bay of Biscay. [Salt was more valuable than gold for centuries. The word “salary” comes from the fact that Roman soldiers were paid in salt.]

 Advertising trends:

Theatrical shows advertised with public processions featuring acts, music and other entertainment on the bill.

Butchers would advertise mutton (meat was a treat for most people) by hiring a crier to lead a sheep through town, selling each leg. If all four quarters of the sheep weren’t sold, the sheep went back to the pasture.

Barkers would stand in front of stores saying, “What do you lack?” then roll off the list of products for sale in the store. This expression eventually became “Whatchalack?”

Urban dwellers formed manufacturing groups, trade associations and guilds. By the early 14th C., the competition for limited markets and the desire to preserve hard-won rights made guilds exclusionary. They became intolerant and innovation and exploitative of workers. Medieval guilds prohibited competitive advertising among members but did promote group interest. A guild symbol might be displayed on banners or signs at the guildhall and as trademarks on finished goods. A guild with high standards could command higher prices than those of other towns. But when individuals such as jewelers or metalworkers were required to put their individual mark on items it was actually a way of fixing responsibility for poor quality: since prices were generally fixed, pride was the major incentive for doing a superior job. Some early printers’ trademarks include:

  • The orb and cross of the Society of Venetian Printers (looks like the Nabisco trademark)
  • Individual marks of William Caxton, the 1st English printer
  • Aldus, who held a monopoly on printing the Greek classics in Venice. Rip-off artists copied the mark

but, Aldus pointed out gleefully, reproduced the dolphin pointing the wrong way.

Naturally, with this nascent complex industry, many things can and did go wrong. Some entrepreneurs made fortunes; others went bankrupt. To protect themselves from the unseen, developments like partnerships, credit and insurance. Competition led to some areas to specialize, i.e., the woolen-cloth industry in Flanders. There had never been trade on this scale in the western world: trade that encouraged specialization and raised the quality of products.  Raising quality is one thing that advertising does. If someone is making a product and a competitor starts advertising that theirs is better, it forces #1 to raise its quality in order to prosper. By the same token, advertising is one of the best ways to reduce cost. If you’re selling Coke for $1 and the store next door starts advertising it for 80¢, you have to react. This is the free market at work.

By the 14th C., all of Christendom was in the network of international commerce. Meanwhile, the Church reacted against freethinking. The nascent nation-states of Europe were flexing their muscles, which contributed to the Hundred Years War, 1337-1453.

England wanted to control Flanders, which was an important market for English wool and a source of cloth. This is the war that Joan of Arc emerged. She raised the siege of Orléans and saw Charles VII crowned king of France. Then she was captured and killed. The war wiped out France in a big way: farmlands were ruined, population decimated by the war, famine and the Black Death. However, the war also destroyed a lot of the feudal nobility, which enabled France to unify under royal authority, which in turn led to the growth of a solid and loyal middle class. The war was the first step in England’s transition from a small, gray island into a major sea power.

Bubonic Plague: Also called the Black Death because of the black hemorrhaging. Earliest known occurrence is in Athens in 4th century BC Reappeared in Rome in 3rd century AD, where 5,000 people a day were estimated to have died. The most widespread epidemic began in Constantinople in 1334, was spread throughout Europe (helped by returning Crusaders) and in less than 20 years wiped out nearly 3/4 of Europe and Asia. England, as an island nation, dodged many of the blows for years, but in 1665 the great plague of London decimated the city (See Daniel DeFoe: Journal of the Plague Years). Spread to people by fleas from infected rats. The Great Fire of London in 1666 burned most of the city down but also, thankfully, killed most of the rodents, abating the plague. The disease is still around today, especially in many parts of Asia.

Attitudes to Commerce

  • Overall, merchants were held in contempt by the landed gentry.
  • “Business is in itself an evil, for it turns men from seeking true rest, which is God.” – St. Augustine
  • “No Christian ought to be a merchant.” – Medieval Church dictum
  • “We shall not permit our working people to become … auctioneers or proclaimers of rewards for the arrest of thieves or runaways, shouting in the streets with great vulgarity ….” Dio Chrysostom, 7th Discourse
  • “The monks of St. Martin-des-Champs had been lending money on exactly the same terms as ordinary bankers as early as about 1070 … ‘the bank-business of St. Andrew was managed by Jewish financiers in the service of the abbey.’” G.G. Coulton, Medieval Panorama
  • “The law gave the fairs a privileged position … most precious of all was the suspension of the canonical prohibition of usury (i.e., loans at interest) and the fixing of a maximum rate of interest.” Pierenne, Economic and Social History
  • “…. I have seen a Mountebank gash his naked arm with a knife most pitifully to behold, so that the blood hath streamed out in great abundance, and … he hath applied a certain oil unto it … (which) staunched the blood and so thoroughly healed the wounds … we could not possibly receive the least token of a gash.”  – Samuel McKechnie, Popular Entertainment Through the Ages
  • This sales pitch and demonstration is repeated with great effectiveness by 19th C. American patent medicine salesmen.The Moslems controlled the Mediterranean by the 8th C. Ibn Kaldun said “The Christians can no longer float a plank on it.” This forces Europe to turn inward for expansion. Europe’s internal expansion is parallel to America’s settlement of the west. Landlocked Europe becomes thoroughly agrarian and feudal, with a few noble and church landowners holding sway, the latter having “economic and moral ascendancy. The church was the social and economic hub of the village: they had the money, the land, and the literate few who could and did control what everyone else could see and be influenced by. They could dole out punishments to those who stepped out of line. Urban life hits bottom.

Developments

By the second half of the 10th C., relative political stability plus gradually improving agriculture (the deep-digging moldboard plow followed by the use of horses, better harnessing, iron horseshoes, three-crop rotation) led to population increases. Water and windmills become common for agriculture and manufacturing, mining, metalworking, development, gunpowder and the clock are invented.  The clock helped coordinate activity and moved time away from the abstract to a profit-making resource. There’s also the formation of modern accounting methods: Arabic numerals, gold coinage, and credit.

Peripatetics

The wandering peddlers, often traveling together in small bands, brought spices, cloth, small wares – and news. To get attention, they would often play a drum, which is where the expression “drumming up business” comes from. They would also employ musicians, dancing bears and chimps, jugglers, conjurers, etc. to entertain and draw crowds and create an atmosphere conducive to selling. These peddlers were often found at fairs.

Fairs

Trade led to the development of true capitalism and numerous fairs. The fairs played an integral role in commerce throughout the Middle Ages. Great fairs were held annually or sometimes more often, especially in the Champagne region of France. These “conventions” were enjoyable social events for everyone, from distant-traveling merchants to small landowners and workers on feudal estates. They weren’t only a meeting-place for commerce, but a wellspring of entertainment, feasts, playing, gambling, and all-around mucking about. Charlemagne had to order his serfs not to “run about to market.”

Charlemagne is the father of Europe. He ruled from 768 – 814 AD. He was taught by Alcuin and fought Avars, Lombards, Allemani, Bavarians, Frisians and Saxons. Crowned Holy Roman Emporor in 800 by Pope Leo III.Until the 13th C., Western Europe’s commerce centered on international fairs. Italian merchants who had access to the spices and other rare goods of the East would cross the Alps and meet traders from the northern European cloth-producing cities and Flanders.

The illuminated manuscript Book of Durrow is dated circa 675 CE .It’s comprised of the text of the four Gospels, in Latin; six carpet pages, and five more illuminated pages. It’s believed to come from Ireland’s Durrow Abbey, hence, it’s name. The Book has a very colorful past. It disappeared for a century and was allegorically used in that time by a farmer, who used to dip the book into a trough, believing it gave the water curative powers for his sick cattle. Trinity College, in Dublin has ostensibly provided better care for the manuscript.

It’s one of the earliest surviving decorated manuscriå and one of the first examples of where the visuals and text are integrated and complement each other. It’s one of the earliest Carpet Pages, which as the name implies is a manuscript where ornamentation blankets the entire page. In addition, it’s one of the first manuscripts that integrates interlacings and zoomorphics. The faithful believed that interlace could “trap” evil. So the interlace carpet pages serve to protect the texts. The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity. The decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art. Figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts, together with Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours, enliven the manuscript’s pages. Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasise the themes of the major illustrations.

The Book blends many influences: Mediterranean spirals, trumpet scrolls, and bird motifs, Roman glass enameling patterns, Germanic animal designs, and Celtic red dotting and illuminated initials. While the scribes who composed Book of Durrow only used reds, yellows, and greens, these colors are fully leveraged.

The Book of Kells, c.800 AD, is the finest illuminated masterpiece from the golden age of early Irish art. It’s an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels, written on vellum, with rich colors and intricate decorations. The Book of Kells is believed to have been started in a monastery on the island of Iona, Scotland, then completed in Kells. It was stolen from a church c.1000, and then found in a bog a few months later, without its jewel-encrusted cover. Trinity College, Dublin now curates it.

The manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells that was its home for centuries. Today, it is on permanent display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin. The library usually displays two of the current four volumes at a time, one showing a major illustration and the other showing typical text pages.

Celtic Design: Book Of Durrow and Book Of Kells

The illuminated manuscript Book of Durrow is dated circa 675 CE .It’s comprised of the text of the four Gospels, in Latin; six carpet pages, and five more illuminated pages. It’s believed to come from Ireland’s Durrow Abbey, hence, it’s name. The Book has a very colorful past. It disappeared for a century and was allegorically used in that time by a farmer, who used to dip the book into a trough, believing it gave the water curative powers for his sick cattle. Trinity College, in Dublin has ostensibly provided better care for the manuscript.

It’s one of the earliest surviving decorated manuscriå and one of the first examples of where the visuals and text are integrated and complement each other. It’s one of the earliest Carpet Pages, which as the name implies is a manuscript where ornamentation blankets the entire page. In addition, it’s one of the first manuscripts that integrates interlacings and zoomorphics. The faithful believed that interlace could “trap” evil. So the interlace carpet pages serve to protect the texts. The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity. The decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art. Figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts, together with Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours, enliven the manuscript’s pages. Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasise the themes of the major illustrations.

The Book blends many influences: Mediterranean spirals, trumpet scrolls, and bird motifs,Roman glass enameling patterns, Germanic animal designs, and Celtic red dotting and illuminated initialsWhile the scribes who composed Book of Durrow only used reds, yellows, and greens, these colors are fully leveraged.

The Book of Kells, c.800 AD, is the finest illuminated masterpiece from the golden age of early Irish art. It’s an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels, written on vellum, with rich colors and intricate decorations. The Book of Kells is believed to have been started in a monastery on the island of Iona, Scotland, then completed in Kells. It was stolen from a church c.1000, then found in a bog a few months later, without its jewel-encrusted cover. Trinity College, Dublin now curates it.

The medieval era of Europe lasts from the fall of Roman Empire in the 5th C. AD until the Renaissance in 15th century. Rome was divided into the Western and Eastern Roman empires when Western Rome lost political unity. But Mediterranean trade with Eastern Rome (centered around Constantinople, later the hub of the Byzantine Empire) continued. The Church held it all together and provided a link to the past, but exerted much less influence than before.

Renaissance scholars looked at the Middle Ages as a period of barbarism. Serious study of the Middle Ages began less than 200 years ago. The arts (painting, sculpture, architecture) of the Middle Ages were scoffed at for centuries as amateur hour. The term “Gothic” was a slur to refer to the barbaric northern European origins of Goth architecture.

Commerce and advertising took a big step backwards as urban centers declined and fell to various tribes. Those who could leave did so, as people fled cities and pledged allegiance instead to the owners of feudal estates. Classical learning was lost as illiteracy rose and in fact, reading and writing were considered effeminate. Only the clergy were literate at this point in time. Trades were hereditary: a father would teach his children his trade, who would teach their children. Prices for goods and services became more fixed, and taxation and regulation increased.

2- renaissance

Renaissance thinkers and Protestant revolutionaries saw themselves as beacons of light & freedom for the people as a whole.

Posters

Posters reappeared and spread with the invention of moveable type, by Johan Gutenberg, in 1450, often considered to be the last great medieval invention. The advent of printing encouraged literacy, the spread of knowledge, and the presentation of alternative points of view. It also propagated the spread of advertising.

The first posters were for political causes, for example, war-recruiting posters issued by the government. Circuses and other entertainment groups were among the first to use them extensively in the private sector. Woodcuts, also known as wood engravings, were used first and quite frequently. Images were carved into blocks of wood that were then, literally, bolted together, thus marking the beginnings of the rise of pictorial advertising. Woodcuts were crude in technique, but the level of artistry and craftsmanship could range from amateur to that of extremely skilled.

The great German Renaissance painter, Albrecht Durer, created a public service woodcutting, warning against the dangers of syphilis in 1496. Entitled,  “The Syphilitic,” this woodcut is an example of an early broadsheet, which is a single page of image and text, often with a topical and/or timely message. Here, the subject is the scourge of syphilis, having newly arrived in Europe, with a Latin poem underneath by a local doctor. One must note the weaknesses of cutting by its carver. Includes city arms of Nuremberg and zodiac with ominous conjunction of constellations.

The Lucas Cranach The Younger woodcut, “True vs. False Church,” erected in 1550, was made in Wittenberg, the heart of Protestant revolt. This is also the location in which Luther posted his protests on the door of the English church.

The Mouth of Hell is an image that corresponds more to the needs of visual propaganda than of theological teaching. The image contrasts the “proper” Lutheran celebration of mass, without ordained priests such as in the traditions of Catholic hierarchy. In this case, however, the judging figure is Luther himself, who stands in a central pulpit. Note the arms of Saxony in the decorations above.

In the fifteenth centure, posters were called siquis, which is Latin for, “if anybody.” They earned this name because most posters began with the lines “If anybody desires …” or “If anybody knows of …” Siquis were hand written by scribes and often single copy prints.

Siquis were later used by people looking for servants; as lost and found articles; and frequently as advertisements for tobacco, coffee and other goods. Largely, however, they were used for personal ads, as befits the Christianity-dominated Middle Ages, lawyers, teachers and even priest-hopefuls, would post their siquis on church doors.

After the establishment of The Church of England, the church became more of a commercial center. The middle aisle of St. Paul’s Cathedral was the main meeting place for all the denizens of London. Lawyers claimed pillars as their offices and trolled for clients there; laborers, such as seamstresses, found hire. People looking for employees and workers looking for employers alike met at this location.

However, less desirable citizens also frequented the grounds. Con men, gamblers and thieves hung around the church with hopes of swindling an innocent man/woman.

The church became a commercial center as well.  Tobacco, books, and other goods were often sold. One could even have a trunk assembled on the spot in St. Paul’s in the 1500s. Lumber, wine, glass and more were all stored within the church grounds; siquis were posted all over the place.

One holy man, John Ramsey, complained that the constant passage of “porters, butchers, waterbearers, and what not” disrupted worship. ß more?

In Ben Jonson’s play Every Man Out of His Humor, he portrays a man named, Shift, who is there, “for the advancement of a siquis or two, wherein he hath so varied himself, that if any of them take he may hull up and doune in the humorous world a little longer.”

The first printed ad in English was a siquis posted on a church door by artist, William Caxton’s, printed in Salisbury for books.

Most book printers didn’t print siquis like Caxton did, but bound an ad of books they had available with their prices inside their books. ß wouldn’t they have had to print them?

In 1518, a printer in Paris included in his books some testimonials as to the quality of his books. This method of advertising is still used in publishing and other fields. However, most advertisers still felt that repetition was enough to sell product.

English Tavern Signs

In the late Middle Ages, signboards outside inns and other stores started becoming more sophisticated. The number of shops in the larger cities was on the rise and many laws increasingly required signs to mark the business. Plus, by now, people had grown bored with the old signs and wanted new ones.

Many inn signs were actually the coat of arms for the owners. However, many may have been away for long periods of time, for example, on the Crusades. From this, names for the inns begin appearing like the “Golden Lion” which in reality is just describing the sign.

Another popular habit was to have signs with animals, like a bull or lion. As a result, someone would stop at “The Sign of the Lion.”

Sometimes a new tenant would move in but not want to sacrifice the equity from the old owner; a baker might move into an old cobbler’s store and the name would become “The shoe and bun.”

In 1625, a traveler in London counted the following tavern signs: five angels; four anchors; six bells; five bulls’ heads; four black bulls; four bears; five bears-and-dolphins; seven green dragons; five fountains; three fleeces; eight globes; five greyhounds; nine white harts; four white horses; five harrows; twenty king’s heads; seven king’s arms; one queen’s head; eight golden lions; six red lions; seven half moons; ten mitres; thirty-three maidenheads; ten mermaids; two open human mouths; eight nag’s heads; eight prince’s arms; four pope’s heads; thirteen suns, and eight stars. ß elaborate one how shops were then differentiated

Painters found the creation of tavern signs to be fairly lucrative. One painter named Clarkson reportedly earned £500 for a portrait of Shakespeare for one pub.

As time progressed, many signs started to add words due to the increased literacy. At the very least, the newly middle class felt is essential to be literate in order to conduct business.

By the 1700s, the trend in English tavern signs was to portray the painted comic. A sign created by Hogarth, in 1730, of a man holding a woman, a magpie and a monkey on his back is the most famous from this time period. As years went one, the signs became larger and more colorful until they exceeded logical proportions; they began falling down. Finally, in 1762, the government ordered all the signs to be taken down and replaced with street numbers. Today, we have a mix of numbers and signs.

Other Symbols

A sin with three balls was/is symbolic for pawnbrokers, believed to have been taken from the Medici coat of arms.

The Rothschilds took their name from a signboard. In 1743, a Frankfort moneylender named Meyer Bauer wanted a sophisticated name, so he took his name from his merchant father’s sign, which was a red shield; Rothschild is Red Shield.

The Bloodletters and amateur surgeons, created the original red-and-white barber’s pole by wrapping their bloody rags around the pole to dry.

The two styles that dominated at the same time for many centuries were to, one, use an icon that represented the trade, and two, use the coat of arms of the nobility under whose patronage the merchant operated.

Signs remained essential into the 18th century because street numbers were not yet in use. A store became known for being on a certain street, near another readily identifiable building; the storeowner hoped to become a landmark.

English Trade Cards

In early 17th C. development, merchants would distribute illustrated shopbills, also called trade cards. Essentially, they were pieces of paper that were a cross between business cards and postcards and were used as receipts, invoices, note slips. Anything with the tradesperson’s name and address was referred to as a trade card. Eventually, trade cards were printed on all sorts of substances, including celluloid, cork, leather, silk, wood, foil and metal.

The artistry of the time period was often exquisite. After signboards were prohibited in the mid-1700s in England, the graphics were often transferred to handbills; famous artists like Paul Hogarth  even created trade cards.

The shopbills were usually engraved on copper, but sometimes wood. They varied in size from 2×3 to 10×16 inches; virtually all businesspeople used them, from the lowliest station to the highest. The British Museum has over 4,000 of trade cards in its collection showcasing various styles and types. Soon after Britain, America followed and adopted the trade card trend as well.

Scan

Thomas Heming Goldsmith & Jewelry is a typical example of name adoption. Hemin adopting his shop sign of the Hand and Hammer, thus giving the location distinction in the days before street numbering. The jewelry store was opposite the Black Bear Inn in Piccadilly.

The Periodical

1525 marked the first advertisement in a disseminated sheet. The ad  is for a patent for a medicine book whose closing line reads “Let whoever does not know the meaning of this buy the book at once and read it with all zeal.”

Other pieces were printed sporadically, but none on a regular schedule. The term “newsletter” was developed, originally a piece of writing that a professional writer composed onto a single sheet, then sold to nobility and other men of means who wanted to know the news of the court and other happenings. The development of a regularly printed newspaper came in the 1620s, with the addition of ads shortly following. The ads were usually stuffed into the editorial somewhere or in the back, where they could be easily mistaken for articles.

The earliest known newspaper ad is 1625 for a book; the second newspaper ad didn’t appear for over more 20 years, in 1647. The ad was again for a book but was barely noticeable having been set among the text. There also does not appear to have been a charge for its printing; the publisher ran the notice as a favor for a friend. However, the ad drew response, which in turn attracted the attention of other advertisers.

The publisher, Henry Walker, soon set up the registration of offers and wants to chronicle the “advices”. Other book publishers were drawn to advertising, soon followed by medicine sellers. Later ads for lost horses, runaway apprentices, etc. were printed and more, houses for rent, professional services and more overtook the new ad pages. Only hard-goods merchants were late to the party. The fee was nominal, at sixpence per item.

The amount  of advertisements grew so great that people were protesting the large quantity by 1652; these were all in news books.

In England, in the mid-1600s, as the country plunged into strife and eventually civil war, the various political parties discovered the value of news books to promote their views. The books were from 2-20 pages long, and often large at size 5×7. Newly published books were still the main item advertised in the papers.

Tobacco

Sir Walter Raleigh returned from the New World with a pipe, smoking a strange new plant: tobacco. The controversy was born instantly. King James I immediately tried to quell the rage for the product, but by Cromwell’s time, the pipe had become a staple in English society.

As a result of essays by the famous Frenchman Montaigne, the first periodical was published in 1612, entitled, the Journal Général d’Affiches, or Journal of Public Notices. Basically, the journal was a publication of want ads, still printed today, but now called Les Petites Affiches.

Over the years other publications of various qualities came and went in England and France. In 1657, Oliver Cromwell’s journalist, Marchmont Nedham, began publishing the Public Adviser in London. It contained only advertisements, for which, advertisers paid anywhere from 4 to 10 shillings. The space bought didn’t affect the charge, but the occupation of the advertiser did.

Workman:    4 shillings

Bookseller    5 shillings

Physician    10 shillings

Land    one penny per pound sterling of value.

These rates were considered high, and Nedham was often referred to as, “The Devil’s Half-Crown Newsmonger.”

The Advertisement

The word advertisement as we know it today first appeared in 1655 and was originally used primarily by book publishers. “Advertisement” soon became a generic heading for paid announcements and took the place of the word “advices,” which had supplanted the word siquis. At this time, advertising wasn’t a sophisticated art, but merely announcements of goods for sale.

Newspapers developed the practice of describing important news advices as “advertisements,” not unlike the modern practice of bold, tabloid-style headlines. Readers would scan the news book mainly to see if there was any news from their hometown.

The First Wave: Food Ads

The first advertisements for food appeared in May of 1657 in the Publick Adviser. The publication contained no news, but was solely published to give publicity to registrations of offers and wants such as at Henry Walker’s bureaus:

“In Bartholomew Lane, on the back side of the Old Exchange, the drink called coffee, which is a very wholesome and physical drink, have many excellent vertues, closes the orifice of the stomach, fortifies the heat within, helpeth digestion, quickeneth the spirits, maketh the heart lightsom, is good against eye-sores, coughs or colds, thumes, consumptions, head ache, dropsie, gout, scurvy, King’s evil, and many others; is to be sold both in the morning and at three of the clock in the afternoon.”

The newest rage in London, the coffee house, swept into the city in the 1650s.

A competitive ad appeared a month later:

An advertisement: “In Bishop’s Gate Street in Queen’s Head Alley, at a Frenchman’s house, is an excellent West India drink, called chocolate, to be sold, where you may have it ready made at any time and also unmade at reasonable rates.”

Another brew made its advertising debut a year later:

“That Excellent, and by all Physicians approved, China drink, called by the Chinese Tcha, by other nations Tay alias Tee, is sold at the Sultaness Head Cophee-House, in Sweeting’s Rents, by the Royal Exchange.”

From the tea, the first celebrity endorsement was born: “Physicians approved” Tea had been known in England for about 20 years before this ad, but was originally considered a medicine and not a pleasure drink.

King Charles II- The Copywriter

In 1660, an advertisement appeared for a few lost dogs and falcons, apparently belonging to King Charles II. A follow-up ad appeared a few weeks later, believed to have been written by the king himself:

‘’We must call on you again for a Black Dog between the greyhound and a spaniel, no white about him only a streak on his breast, and tayl a little bobbed. It is His Majesties own dog, and doubtless was stolen. Whoever finds him may acquaint any at Whitehall for the dog was better known at Court than those who stole him. Will they never leave robbing His Majesty? Must he not keep a dog?

England’s John Houghton: “The 1st Schoolmaster in the Art of Advertising”

In 1692, an apothecary named John Houghton, of England, saw the possibilities of advertising. He started a publication, Collection for Improvement of Husbandry and Trade and began soliciting for ads. These trade ads (a business person talking to another business person) began appearing in the public eye:

“Whether advertisements of schools or houses and lodgings about London may be useful, I submit to those concerned.

I believe some advertisements about bark and timber might be of use both to buyer and seller.”

This approach worked; landlords, merchants, domestics and others began registering advertisements in his publication. Usually, Houghton ‘s editor would write the ad himself, in first person. If a party was interested in a product or service listed, one would have to go to the paper and ask who the placed the ad.

“I know a peruke [wig] maker that pretends to make perukes extraordinary fashionable and will sell good pennyworths; I can direct to him.”

“If anyone wants a wet nurse, I can help them, as I am informed, to a very good one.”

“I know of several curious [efficient] women that would wait on ladies to be housekeepers.”

“I have been to Mr. Firmin’s work house in Little Britain, and seen a great many pieces of what seems to me excellent linen, made by the poor in and about London. He will sell it at reasonable rates, and I believe that whatever housekeepers go there to buy will not repent, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the forenoon he is always there himself.”

Mr. Houghton’s first person technique was an effective and early personal endorsement and proved to be very effective. Within a year he had dozens of advertisers, from all different categories, registered with his newspaper. Purveyors of food, apparel, luxury articles, dry goods and more all began running ads because of the innovation of his technique.

Houghton then began experimenting with the copy; finding ways to draw the greatest response. For instance, he began inserting the name of the advertiser within the ad, instead of just mentioning the product, shortly thereafter, he began listing the addresses of the advertiser. Houghton conducted a few experiments in which the two-line initial letters, all-caps first words and the pointing finger. Though previously in existence, Houghton was the first to use them extensively and to experiment with different styles to create the most effective ad: the first merger of advertising and art direction/graphic design.

As a public service, he then began listing directories of shops and professional services, listed by categorically. The lists contained things such as London attorneys, physicians, schools, coaches, etc., similar to the yellow pages of today.

The 1700s

English coffee houses began complaining that newspapers made money two ways: through advertising revenue, typically one shilling for an 8-10 line ad, and also from the coffee houses, who had to pay for the right to distribute the free papers. In addition, the coffee houses claimed that the papers were stuffed with ads and short on news. The transition from a flat line rate for ads to a per-line rate, thus making ads bigger, exacerbated their complaints.

At this time, ads were still for the most part the same type as the news, and they were placed at the bottom of the news columns, combining the story and the ad inappropriately. An issue of the paper might have 30-40 ads.

While the number of ads increased greatly in the century, the style itself experiences little progression. Display advertising wasn’t very popular, except for occasionally a small woodcut; though, the headline made its introduction. (insert Gloves for Ladies ad, which has all the elements)

The biggest newspapers were Steele and Addison’s Tatler and the Spectator. Daniel Defoe’s, Defoe’s Review, also appeared from 1706-12. Defoe is chiefly known today as the author of Robinson Crusoe, but in his day he was an active advertiser and pamphleteer. From 1685-1728 he was constantly looking for ways to promote his books and writing on the hot topics of the day. In his career,

During his career, Defoe made stockings, tiles and bricks while also a successful politician, editor and poet. He published an essay in 1702 that angered Queen Anne, for which he was sentenced to stand in the pillory for three days. During this time, he wrote A Hymn to the Pillory that he sold to onlookers as he stood there. Defoe adopted the habit of recognizing his failures in his sequential books.

In 1712, Queen Anne made the unwise decision to tax newspapers and their advertisements. This tax, which lasted 150 years, forced the immediate foreclosure of several publications, including Addison’s and Defoe’s, and severely hindered the growth of publishing. Ironically, advances in printing, travel, communications and literacy were at large at this time.

From this, the practice of sharing publications developed. A patron would read a paper in a pub and then leave the paper there for the next person to read.

A poster announcing the execution of Louis XVI appeared in the Place de la Révolution appeared on Monday, Januaray 21, 1793. At the same time, first notices were from the church granting indulgences and also from the government looking to recruit people. Poster wars developed during the French Revolution; this new mode of communication threatened the occupation of the town crier. However, the benefit from these wars is that talented artists, like Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec, were drawn to the forefront.