Sometimes we just need a break from the stress of our work day. Take a 5-minute break with Ocreative and read how marketing has evolved from its earliest forms. We’ll review everything from BCE societies adapting the idea of branding to today’s ever-changing world of digital marketing, all within five minutes. While it may not be the latest viral video of an unconventional friendship between a bird and a dog, it is information that will keep you entertained. (We’re still working on finding the perfect bird, but we’ve got the dog all lined up.)

Ocreative Office Dog

1500 BCE: Early Logo Usage

The history of marketing starts much earlier than most people think. While there is some dispute around how marketing truly began, many historians believe the concept started as early as 1500 BCE (before common era) when Mesopotamian societies started mass production of goods that required quality control. Producers of goods would stamp their products with a signature mark, (the earliest form of a logo) to signal to buyers who created the product they were purchasing. This mark worked as a reminder to early consumers that a specific product came from a specific vendor or merchant and that they could return to that vendor or merchant for other goods of equal quality. This continued to grow in importance as trading developed between different countries and societies in the coming decades.

1450 CE: The Invention of the Printing Press

Fast forward to 1450 CE (common era), when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and made it possible for the mass reproduction of these symbols (logos) on many forms of paper medium. This invention was revolutionary in the world of marketing as producers could now relay their brand with the application of words on things other than just their product; they could also reach a much larger audience through books, posters, and papers. Thus, the earliest form of print advertising was born.

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The 1730s – The 1900s: Magazines, Billboards, and Outdoor Advertising

The introduction of magazines in the 1730s came from an Englishman named Edward Cave who dubbed the word “magazine” from the Arabic word “makhazin”, meaning storehouse ( In order to create mass appeal for his publication, Cave decided to include a variety of readings that he believed the public would enjoy- essays, poems, stories, and political musings ( The idea of printing publications for mass public consumption created a new need for information sharing – finding a solution to reach the largest amount of people within a single, geographical location. This ignited the creation of billboards on street railways in 1850 CE.

The first recorded leasing of a billboard occurred in 1867 and soon a standardized corporation was created to harness the booming industry of billboards in America. These outdoor advertisements became a large outlet for companies, government, and individuals to speak their mind during World War I and World War II ( This 1900’s area of interruptive marketing started a trend that would last nearly 100 years. Commonly recognized examples of this style of advertising include U.S. Army recruitment via Uncle Sam and Rosie the Riveter designed to encourage women to join the industrial workforce.  As more entities chose to voice their message throughout the great wars in America, more innovative forms of advertising outlets were created to meet the demand.

Rosie The Riveter

Rosie the Riveter by J. Howard Miller, National Museum of American History [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

1920s and on: Marketing Through Radio & Television Ads

One such innovation was radio advertising. The first paid radio ad hit the airwaves in 1922. AT&T paid a total of $100 for a 10-minute advertisement to promote Long Island apartments. By 1930, nearly 90 percent of all radio stations in the country were broadcasting radio ads (  Radio spots were quickly transformed into TV advertising ads by 1941.

The first TV commercial aired on July 1st, 1941 – the ad spot was for Bulova Watch Co, which cost the company a whopping $9 in total. Compared to today’s average airing slot cost of $8000, this was quite the deal! Bear in mind, that $8,000 price tag does not include the holy grail of tv ad lineups, the Super Bowl, which run approximately $5 million for a 30 second air time (

Color Tv

The 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s were home to a simpler, more family-friendly style of tv advertising. One-size-fits-all adverts with catchy jingles were appealing to everyone. Brightly designed visuals were a magical experience in the golden age of color television. While tv ads are still popular today, they must share the spotlight with digital advertising.

The Rise of the Supercomputer

1970 ushered in the world of the amazing supercomputer. Computers no longer needed to fill an entire room; they could (gasp!) fit on a single office desk! With computers quickly becoming a staple in modern society, E-commerce promotions, spam email, and guerilla marketing became a digital reality. All of these marketing avenues were key players in the marketing industry until 1995 when the search engines like Yahoo and Google became prominent.

Old Computer

The mass development of websites led search engines to develop technology to filter out unnecessary information based on what users were searching. Marketing strategies like search engine optimization allowed companies to better understand their consumers, what they wanted, how they reacted to particular campaigns, and what they may react to in the future. This created a more in-depth, intuitive approach to marketing that focusses more on curated content for specific audiences rather than interruptive content designed for any user. “Smart marketing” now offers interactive, customer-based marketing strategies that have sparked omnichannel marketing solutions using social media, blogs, Google Ads, and TV commercials).

As technology develops and we begin to understand consumer habits in a clearer way, marketing will continue to evolve. All we can say at Ocreative is that we are excited to see what happens next!

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About Ocreative

Ocreative is a Milwaukee marketing agency, with expertise and broad experience in developing digital marketing strategies, and growing their online presence, for their clients. The company’s core values include offering the highest level of customer service, award-worthy quality, and performance that surpasses client expectations. Ocreative is located just outside Milwaukee, and works with clients locally, nationally, and globally. Their clients have access to some of the most fun and knowledgeable professionals around – ones who inspire, educate, and problem solve. The agency provides marketing and brand strategyadvertising and designwebsite design and social media, and video expertise to their clients, fulfilling their desire for business growth, and their aspiration to make a mark on their industry.