Amazing Facts of Advertising


  1. The most complained about ad in Australia in 2010 was an ad from the Advanced Medical Institute about erectile dysfunction. To advertise the effectiveness of the drug, the ad showed a wife using her husband’s erection as a step stool to reach something out of a high cupboard.m
  2. Ice cubes in beverage advertisements are typically made of acrylic so they won’t melt under hot photography lights or move around. Bubbles are made by adding detergent, and water is added so light will filter through better.g

  3. A York University study revealed that U.S. pharmaceutical companies spend twice as much on advertising as they do on research.c
  4. The famous Marlboro Man ads began in 1955. The Marlboro Man actually included a variety of masculine figures such as athletes, gunsmiths, and captains, but the rugged cowboy image proved the most marketable. Three men who appeared in the advertisements later died of lung cancer, earning the brand the nickname “Cowboy Killer.”d
  5. TV commercials during Super Bowl XLV in 2011 are estimated to have cost $3 million for a 30-second spot.a
  6. More than $500 billion a year is spent on advertising worldwide.i
  7. By the time a person in the United States is 65 years old, he would have seen an estimated two million television commercials.d
  8. In fashion advertising, women are often pictured lying on bearskin rugs, wearing furs and feathers, or dressed in tight-fitting leather clothing. Some researchers criticize these kinds of ads because they feature women as “prey.”d
  9. Women’s bodies are often “dismembered” in ads and shown only as “body parts.” This type of representation has been criticized for objectifying women and contributing to the underlying culture of violence toward women.d
  10. In 1900, the standard billboard was created in America, creating a billboard boon along streets and highways.o
  11. Many researchers argue that advertising is the most powerful art form on Earth.b
  12. Over $15 billion a year is spent in advertisements directed toward children in the U.S.k
  13. Though the commercial “1984,” which launched the Apple Macintosh computer, ran just one time on American television, during the Super Bowl, it has had a lasting impact on advertising. Directed by Ridley Scott, the commercial was the first example of “event marketing,” or when a promotion deserves as much coverage as the product itself.b
  14. One Kirshenbaum & Bond sidewalk ad in New York reads, “From here, it looks like you could use some new underwear.” This type of advertising is termed “guerilla” or stealth advertising to label a breed of “edgy” urban advertisements.h
  15. The first advertisement widely believed to be the first to feature a homosexual couple aired in 1994 when an Ikea ad featured two male companions shopping together for furniture.g
  16. A Disney ad which showed a woman with the words “lift my shirt to see more” over her breasts was banned in 2009. It was an advertisement for the film Adventureland.e
  17. Most watches displayed in advertisements are set to 10:10 because the hands of the watch frame the watch brand name and they make a smiling face.g
  18. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that children under eight years old are not able to critically understand advertisements and that they regard them as truthful, accurate, and unbiased.d
  19. Fast food companies (soda, fast food, and cereal) in the U.S. spent about $1.6 billion in advertising in 2006.k
  20. In 2006, soda companies spent an estimated $492 million in advertising. In contrast, the Milk Processor Education Program, which sponsors the “Got Milk” ads, spent about $67 million.k
  21. The average child in America watches over 40,000 television commercials in a year, or over 100 a day.g
  22. popular girlAdvertisements often target children's self-esteem
  23. Advertisers consciously try to create a ‘nag factor” by bombarding kids with ads encouraging them to buy certain products in order to become popular. American children ages 12-17 will ask a parent for products they have seen on television an average of nine times until parents finally give in.d
  24. In a national survey, more than half of the children who responded reported that buying certain advertised products made them feel better about themselves.d
  25. Channel One delivers two minutes of advertising and 10 minutes of news to approximately 7.7 million students. Over 27% of Channel One advertisements are for junk food and 10% are for military recruitment. Channel One also advertises movies, TV shows, and video games with alcohol and tobacco use, violence, and sex.g
  26. The very first U.S. paid advertisement was a 1704 ad in the Boston News Letter which advertised an estate in Oyster Bay, Long Island.b
  27. Researchers note a correlation between sexual imagery in children’s ads and an increase in eating disorders among girls.g
  28. In 2008, approximately $2.6 billion was spent on political advertising in the U.S., the largest ever during a presidential campaign. Obama's campaign spent $70 million on ads for the primary and $240 million for the general election. McCain's campaign spent $10 million for the primary and $126 million for the general election.p
  29. In 2006, Microsoft spent over $11.5 billion on advertising. That same year, Coca-Cola spent $2.5 billion, Yahoo spent $1.3 billion, eBay spent $871 million, Google spent $188 million, and Starbucks spent $95 million.s
  30. In 2000, U.S. Internet advertising revenue was $8.1 billion. In 2011, that figure jumped to $32 billion. In 2013, the figure is expected to reach $42 billion.i
  31. Advertisers often use a technique called “affective condition,” which means they take a product and place it next to other things consumers feel positively about. For example, a detergent ad will juxtapose their brand with babies, sunshine, flowers, or other similar items. Repeatedly showing their brand with these items makes consumers feel good about the detergent too.j
  32. Advertisers appeal to several common psychological themes to motivate people to buy their products. Some of the most common psychological appeals are to self-preservation, sex, self-esteem, fear, authority, and imitation.r
  33. Studies show that repeated exposure to a stimulus that is barely perceptible creates an “exposure effect,” which increases positive feelings toward the object. For example, even though most people do not click banner ads, the ads still positively influence the way people feel about the product. In fact, the “wear out” effect of banner ads did not appear even after 20 exposures.t
  34. Food advertisements often use “food stylists” to style food for advertisements. For example, food stylists for roasted chicken will pull the skin tight on the chicken and sew it up with a needle and thread. Then they will stuff the chicken with wet paper towels, which keeps the chicken plump and creates steam. The chicken is then roasted just enough to make the skin bumpy while the insides remain raw. The bird then is painted a golden brown.g
  35. teen actorChildren in advertisements are usually older than their target audience
  36. In advertisements for children, child actors are typically older than the target audience. For example, a commercial for 8-year-olds will show 11- or 12-year-old models playing with an 8-year-old toy. Advertisers use older children as role models, as an image of what younger children will want to be like.g
  37. Microsoft allegedly paid the Rolling Stones $9 million to use their hit “Start Me Up” in its Windows 95 advertisements. Additionally, unknown songs by new artists can become hits overnight because of their association with a popular advertisement. For example, Cansei de Ser Sexy’s “Music is My Hot, Hot, Sex” became popular when Apple used their song to advertise its iPod.n
  38. The first American magazine advertisement appeared in Benjamin Franklin’s General Magazine in 1742.b
  39. Life was the first magazine to make $100 million per year in advertising.b
  40. In 1938, radio surpassed magazines in generating advertisement profits.b
  41. Prerecorded advertisements became possible in 1956 with the invention of videotape recording.b
  42. Interpublic, WPP, and Omnicom Group are the top three largest advertising companies in the world.b
  43. Many kids are plugged in to some kind of media for more than seven hours a day, which means their exposure to advertising is at record levels.g
  44. Because the Mars candy company found the character ET in the movie ET: The Extra-Terrestrial so ugly, they refused to allow M&M’s to act as a lure for the creature. Instead, Reese’s Pieces were used. Sales for Reese’s Pieces went up 65% once the film was released.g
  45. VolkswagenThe "Think Small" ad is considered to be the most successful ad of the last century
  46. Doyle Dane Bernbach’s “Think Small” ad for Volkswagen at the end of the 1950s is considered particularly brilliant because it took a German car initially created for Hitler and successfully sold it to post-war Americans.b
  47. A new kind of advertising called “viral advertising” uses blogs and emails to promote a product. For example, Dove’s “Evolution of Beauty” campaign was an overnight viral sensation when more than a million people watched a time-elapsed video of a model being made beautiful on YouTube.h
  48. “Ambient ads,” which legally and illegally advertise on unexpected places, such as store floors, washroom stalls, or sidewalks, have been so successful that marketing firms have actively sought out new and shocking places to display their products. Researchers note that this use of “edgy” space intensifies a sense of distrust and alienation because it makes people suspicious that any human interaction may be a commercially staged event designed to get us to buy something.h
  49. A new study finds that the best strategy for advertisers trying to persuade a skeptical audience is to leave out facts and focus more on emotional ads. On the flip side, it found that those who are less skeptical are more persuaded by more information-based ads.f
  50. The 1970 Crying Indian advertisements helped usher in not only Earth Day but also the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). It also motived 100,000 people in the first four months of the ad to request a booklet on how to reduce pollution, helped reduce litter by as much as 88% by 1983, and is described as one of the 50 greatest commercials of all time.g
  51. Before the printing press, advertisements were often vocal announcements. The invention of the printing press in 1440 ushered in the advent of modern advertising.g
  52. The largest group of advertisers is food marketers.g
  53. Controversy arose when ABC and Fox censored a sexy Lane Bryant ad for plus-size lingerie but allowed a Victoria Secret ad to air unedited. Lane Bryant claimed that there is a bias against plus-size women in lingerie.q
  54. Victoria Secret modelVictoria Secret has been criticized for promoting impossibly thin models
  55. Most Victoria Secret models in advertisements are a size 2, with a 34”-36” bust, 23” waist, and 34”-35” hips.g
  56. Advertisers are expected to spend $4 billion onFacebook in 2011, of which $2.19 billion will come from U.S advertising.i
  57. Researchers report that women’s magazines have 10.5 times more ads and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines do, and over 75% of women’s magazine covers include at least one article title about how to change a woman’s body by diet, exercise, or cosmetic surgery.g
  58. Ronald McDonald was first introduced in 1963. In 2010, the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International argued that the clown has hooked kids on unhealthy food for nearly 50 years, creating an epidemic of diet-related diseases.l
  59. Using sex to sell a product is not new. Advertisers have used sex to sell products since the early days of modern advertising. For example, pictures of naked women were placed in tobacco ads in the 1800s.g 
    Top Ten Slogans of the Century v
    DeBeersDiamonds Are Forever
    NikeJust Do Tt
    Coca-ColaThe Pause That Refreshes
    Miller LiteTastes Great…Less Filling
    AvisWe Try Harder
    Maxwell HouseGood to the Last Drop
    WheatiesBreakfast of Champions
    ClairolDoes She or Doesn’t She?
    Morton SaltWhen It Rains, It Pours
    Wendy’sWhere’s the Beef?

    Common Advertising Techniques b,j,g
    MusicMusic and other sound effects add to the ad’s atmosphere, helps define the ad’s target audience, and acts as a transitioning element. Jingles are designed to stick in the audience’s head.
    EmotionAdvertisers appeal to emotions that most humans experience, such as love, hate, and desire. Emotion is often the motivating factor for buying a product.
    Star PowerA famous person is used to promote the product—for example, Michael Jordon recommending particular brand of underwear or athletic shoes.
    BandwagonAppeals to the desire of most people to feel like they belong or that they are part of the winning side.
    Weasel WordsAdvertisers are legally required to tell the truth, but they often use misleading words such as “Part of . . .,” “The taste of real . . ,” “Because we care . . . “
    TransferenceIdeas and text with positive connotations are associated with the product.

    The Top 20 Advertisements of All Time u
    11959Volkswagen“Think Small:” Doyle Dane Bernbach
    21929Coca-Cola“The Pause That Refreshes”: D’Arcy Co.
    31955Marlboro“The Marlboro Man:” Leo Burnett Co.
    41988Nike“Just Do It”: Wieden & Kennedy
    51971McDonald’s“You Deserve a Break Today:” Needham, Harper, & Steers
    61948DeBeers“A Diamond Is Forever:” N.W. Ayer & Son
    71981Absolut Vodka“The Absolut Bottle“: TBWA
    81974Miller Lite Beer“Tastes Great…Less Filling”: McCann-Erickson Worldwide
    91957Clairol“Does She or Doesn’t She?”: Foote, Cone, &  Belding
    101963Avis“We Try Harder:” Doyle Dane Bernbach
    111982Federal Express“Fast Talker:” Ally & Garagano
    121984Apple Computer“1984” Chiat/Day
    131960s-1970sAlka-SeltzerVarious ads: Jack Tinker & Partners; Doyle Dane Bernbach; Wells Rich, Greene
    141940sPepsi-Cola“Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot:” Newell-Emmett Co.
    151959Maxwell House“Good to the Last Drop:” Ogilvy, Benson, & Mather
    161882Ivory Soap“99 and 44/100% Pure:” Proctor & Gamble
    171975American Express“Do You Know Me?”: Ogilvy & Mather
    181981U.S. Army“Be All That You Can Be:” N.W. Ayer & Son
    191952Anacin“Fast, Fast, Fast Relief”: Ted Bates & Co.
    201985Rolling Stone“Perception. Reality.”: Fallon McElligott Rise
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