Advertising started to become a serious business and it wasn’t long before people started to offer themselves as specialists in advertising – the earliest known record of an advertising agency dates back to 1786. It became a major force in capitalist economies in the mid-19th century, based primarily on newspapers and magazines. In the 20th century, advertising grew rapidly with new technologies such as direct mail, radio, television, the internet and mobile devices. Advertising is “a paid, mediated, form of communication from an identifiable source, designed to persuade the reader to take some action, now or in the future.” The term “mediated” means, simply, that some medium like television or newspaper or even the Internet conveys the message from sender to receiver, as opposed to direct “in-person” communication. The term “identifiable source” distinguishes advertising from wholly anonymous communications, such as those found in some unsolicited e-mail. The “action” can be buying a product or service, but it also can be directed at voting behavior during an election, or it might even entail not-for-profit social behavior like recycling, saving your money, saving the whales, or preventing abortion.


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