Aerial cars will fly between great centers of population, arriving and departing on fixed schedules and carrying their human cargoes” (Henry Litchfield, 1901)
Humanity has always been dreaming about the impossible: should we take crazy experiments with wings, parachute costumes or insane aircrafts? Once all these became a reality, we occupied our minds with even more fantastic things – the idea of connectivity has enslaved the masses.
Well, we passed through radio, phones, and TV – while each one of them was offering more and more opportunities for the business. Just imagine what impact TV ads had on audience. At that time, they were just used to reading or listening to the radio announcements. This was truly, a Golden Age of Marketing!
Today, we are in the Digital Era, and it seems that some of the wildest marketers’ dreams came true. What else could we desire?
Today, we are starting a series of content spotlights featuring The Future of Marketing. Piece by piece, we will recover some of the past marketing practices to answer the single question – What’s next?
The Era of Radio – Installed knowledge
One thing we can’t deny is that our ancestors had a wild imagination. At the beginning of the 20th century, people truly believed that knowledge could be directly installed into the human heads using wires. Yet, while dreaming big, the marketing possibilities were still quite modest, and reality was far from the imaginary world.
Marketing fell mostly to local stores. National companies began to use branding, including slogans, logos, and icons. They used signs in local shops, as well as giveaways. Advertising in newspapers and magazines was also more and more common. (Source)
Marketers could still just dream of a real-time mass communication; that’s when the radio came to the stage and blew the mind of advertisers. Starting to widespread like a wildfire in 1930-s, radio programs were creating masses of regular listeners. How did marketers use this opportunity? Well, no surprise there, you all have heard 'This message was brought to you by.'
The first radio ad campaign, however, did not start until 1922 when the Queensboro Corp. paid $100 for 10 minutes of airtime to talk about their Long Island apartments (Source)
I hear a sigh, yes the price seem to be amazing, as the effect!
READ MORE: HOW WEB DESIGN EVOLVED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS
TV Time – Going Wild with TV Ads!
The picture above demonstrates how the 2000s could have been – very close technology-wise, just missing with the outfits.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, people were imagining that transmitting image and sound across space could be real. Well, unfortunately, in the 1900s this idea sounded absolutely mad, and very few believed in its practical implementation.
But with the help of radio, scientists managed to develop the way to transmit the image as well. TV, due to its innovative nature and extreme attractiveness, quickly became popular and attracted attention of advertisers, who could already see its great potential.
The history of TV ads started back in July 1941, when the very first official paid television ad was broadcasted in the US over New York station WNBT (now WNBC). The ad was first live just before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. (Though first ads wouldn’t really impress the spoiled modern viewer, used to special effects, sophisticated concepts, and sparkling humor). Have a look at one of those mammoths!
“America runs on Bulova time"
The rest you know – TV became an essential part of our life, and a strong marketing channel, which is now being slowly replaced by social media (and other online touch points).
eCommerce – Changing The Way We Shop
So you meet your friend (it’s the 1940s, by the way) and tell something like: “Ah, I was shopping using picture phone, check out what a cool gramophone I’ve just ordered.” Chances are, your friend will consider you slightly mad (in the best case), and he would be wrong, because you are a very progressive person.
Back then, no one would believe that such a futuristic concept can actually be implemented in people’s daily life. Now you can’t surprise anyone with online shopping. eBay, Alibaba, Amazon became primary commercial destinations in just the last few decades.
The first online store 'opened its doors' back in 1979, when English entrepreneur Michael Aldrich ' "connected a modified domestic TV to a real-time transaction processing computer via a domestic telephone line. He believed that videotex, the modified domestic TV technology with a simple menu-driven human–computer interface, was a 'new, universally applicable, participative communication medium — the first since the invention of the telephone. (Source)
Among internet stores, Pizza Hut was one of the first to accept online orders, and this happened in 1994. Online shopping has opened a whole new horizon for companies, making their services available 24/7, at the same time,enhancing business opportunities.
As you can see, most of the ideas that people considered fantastic and too bold to ever become real, actually found its way to being actually implemented. Next time we will talk about the future technologies and virtual reality, to see what ideas we (as all marketers globally) might be considering as too crazy, too complicated, and too expensive to execute today, might become the best marketing solutions for businesses tomorrow.
Stay tuned for part 2 where we will be talking about what's coming next in the digital arena of marketing!