Advertising battle for the favor of the potential buyer

Brand awareness is one of the most important parts of advertising. Many billions are spent every year for that main purpose. Even though brands are well known worldwide, companies continue to spend a lot of money on keeping the brand name known. One of the most striking examples is perhaps the brand name Coca Cola. Advertisers frequently use TV to gain attention for their products, which means the costs are high.

Name recognition through facade stones and attributes in the Middle Ages

Working on brand awareness was already practiced in the Middle Ages. Names were incorporated into facade stones. These were not always the names of people, but also names that referred to professions and products. For example, many medieval pharmacists used the name The Unicorn, which was a reference to ground horn that was known as a potency-enhancing agent. Even more than names, images were used that referred to a profession or position. Attributes were also hung outside, such as bloody cloths that were intended to prove the craftsmanship of the man with the combined profession of surgeon, dentist and hairdresser.

Advertisements in newspapers by advertising agencies

Industrialization in the nineteenth century brought more and more mass products onto the market. While word-of-mouth advertising was previously sufficient for the craftsman, manufacturers increasingly realized that more had to be done to bring the products to the masses. This created a completely new way to draw attention to the goods. Special advertising agencies were founded such as Nijgh & Van Ditmar in 1846 in Rotterdam and Delamar in 1880 in Amsterdam. These agencies were not only involved in placing advertisements in newspapers, but they also advised on texts, layout and choice of media.

Salad oil style poster

More and more advertising also appeared in the cityscape. Advertising on walls and columns included Hima bicycles, NOF salad oil, Philips lamps, Singer sewing machines, Sunlight soap, Van Houten chocolate, Van Nelle coffee and Verkade rusk. Theater, music and revue were also advertised through posters that were often executed by painters in a decorative style. The poster for NOF salad oil from 1894, which was made by the painter Jan Toorop and was given the style name salad oil style, is famous.

Rise of neon advertising

At the end of the nineteenth century, many individual signs and attributes disappeared and made way for neon signs, which also made it possible to point out the products to potential buyers in the dark. The neon signs became larger and the shop windows were also illuminated. Large neon signs also increasingly appeared on the roofs of houses and in prominent places on squares. Neon advertising became more and more common with bright colors and all kinds of advertising forms. The De Gruijter company once even changed its name to De Gruyter, with the advantage that the two dots did not have to be incorporated into the neon lighting in a complicated way.

Shopping street in the dark

But things didn’t always go well with neon signs. Vandals once managed to put entire shopping streets in the dark in one night. For safety reasons, neon signs at the time had a box with a ring on it that was attached to the facade. Pulling the ring down extinguished the neon light. Armed with a long stick with an eye on it and perhaps under the influence of alcohol, a number of young people set out in the middle of the night to put everything in the dark.

Advertising characters and mascots

In 1915, agreements were made to keep out cheaters, price gougers and cheats, and from then on publishers only worked with agencies that adhered to the Advertising Regulations. At that time, the first picture album as an advertising medium was also published, which was introduced by Verkade following the German example. In 1923, the advertising world organized itself into the Association for Advertising, which changed its name to the Society for Advertising in 1927. That society regularly organized conferences and courses. From that time on, advertising increasingly became a profession, with the publication of the first advertising manual in 1936. This was also the heyday of advertising characters and mascots such as Arretje Nof, Boffie, the Droste man, Blue Band girl, Flipje van Tiel, Piggelmee and Piet Pelle van Gazelle.

Merge with American advertising agencies

The first years after the Second World War were difficult times for advertising. There was a shortage of paper and electricity had to be saved, so neon signs were banned and shop windows were no longer allowed to be illuminated after half past eight in the evening. By 1950 things were improving and several new advertising agencies were established. When many American advertising agencies were later deployed by multinationals, many Dutch agencies merged with the American ones.

Rise of TV commercials

In January 1967, a completely new form of advertising appeared due to the new Broadcasting Act, which allowed advertising on radio and television. TV commercials gradually made more use of well-known artists such as Kees Brusse, Rijk de Gooyer, John Kraaijkamp and Martine Bijl. Various slogans stuck with the audience, with the top ones being: Honey, the Bokma is cold, Giro blue suits you, Paturain, that’s nice, You must have Hak’s vegetables.

Commercials that hit

TV advertising continued to grow in the 1990s. Advertising in public magazines and free magazines for train passengers was also on the rise. Consumers were confronted with an abundance of advertisements during TV broadcasts and the Internet also contributed. Advertisers increasingly looked for advertisements that touched people with humor, irony and sometimes surrealism, where the costs of the commercials could be high. This trend continues, despite less good economic times, to win the favor of potential buyers.