Old ads have always fascinated me. I think it was ever since way back when I was first getting into advertising and read about how the first ads were placed in bibles or something religious like that by JWT sometime back in the stone age. Part of me was just impressed that a professional firm could last that long with the same names on the letterhead.
Since then I've firmly believed that some of the most effective ads are still from decades ago. Naturally, VW's Think Small as the namesake for this blog is one of them. So is Earnest Shackleton's recruitment ad. Part of it is nostalgia and part is the glorious purity of such communications were permitted in those eras.
With this ad history buff side of me exposed, I'm happy to share the discovery in Wikipedia of this somewhat thorough history of the early days of advertising. Covers a lot of the different sides of the business. But I couldn't help but to feel that they really missed covering one of the most important aspects. The actual content of ads.
There is a quick mention of the early VW work and how it established positioning and USP's but apart from that it's most about media and issues with advertising. And egads... regulation. For an industry so consumed by it's own "thinking" and "ideas" wikipedia feels a bit incomplete.