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History of Advertising

The concept of creating a ‘perfect’ person for your advertisement to associate your brand or company with began in the 19th Century. This idea of lifestyle branding began with Thomas J. Barratt who was the chairman of the soap manufacturer A&F Pears and a pioneer of brand marketing. He has been called “the father of modern advertising”. (Coates, 1908). He created one of the first advertising campaigns. With this he wanted to associate his brand ‘Pears Soap’ with people of class and aimed to show the brand to be of high quality and culture. His first advertisements were a series of adverts of middle class, beautiful children amongst his soap, which assumed notions of high society. This can be seen in Figure 2 where the children appear well presented and clean. This advertising tactic of stressing the importance of a strong and exclusive brand image is an approach that is very successful in modern global advertising. (Coates, 1908). The ‘Pears Soap’ approach to advertising has meant that over the past two centuries many leading brands in society have followed one another in their regimented idea of advertising. This has meant that they have stuck to the ‘the Herd’ behavioural theory –research to explain the phenomena of large numbers of people acting in the same way at the same time. (Neitzsche, 1878) and bowed to pressure to only advertise the thinnest or most attractive models within their brand or company. This can be seen in advertisements for many designer brands, e.g. Dolce and Gabbana (see figure 3).

Fig 2, Pears Soap, 19th Century

Fig 3, Dolce and Gabbana, 2013

Which brands are leading the way? 5

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