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A Week of the Past

The idea that we have within us a power to disseminate and detect what we see and hear in advertising might not be what it seems. We have been subjected to over 100 years of manipulation by advertising. Is this a good thing? A bad thing?

Regardless, advertising is part of our lives and dictates trends. Advertising was a catalyst for how the early 20th century shaved off the Victorian ideas of products and behavior and came together and helped create our modern society.

I just pose the thought.

I want to explore this idea of marketing, history and advertising. More than digital, more than media. We need to understand the origins of marketing even before we get to start to generate ideas for our clients or ourselves.

So I will some ideas which I will nomenclate as pitches in my posts to you this week.

Starting with this one.

Pitch One

During the Second World War in England there was a mandate that to save resources that products should not have colour or otherwise noticeable print. Think of a case of soap. This used to be until the decree, many bars wrapped and branded and then those bars boxed and branded. Now the decree said that this couldn’t be.

What to do.  What to do.

Manufacturers were allowed to put their name on the packages.  So the field is even for marketing because there is no visual branding or otherwise noticeable difference between all soap products. Even-Steven.

unileverUntil the end of the war anyway.

So what did Unilever do about this? Unilever is a big multinational now, but before the War it was third rate. What Unilever did was different from other soap manufactures. It advertised. Why? All soap was the same – brown paper packaged.

Unilever understood that at some time that he ware would be over. When it was, people remembered the name. Unilever spent the cash during the War to reinforce the brand and when the time came they reaped the rewards.

Other brands thought it crazy to advertise for a product that no one could disseminate in terms of packaging, Think of cereal – all boxes would be the same. But then they did have the name of the manufacturer on it. With the constant advertising of the name, the brand at some point will be ‘branded’ in the buying habit when the choice of market became available  IE when the War was over.

How does this relate to today’s world with digital marketing?

Simple. Push the brand and in the face of declining sales within your entire market increase the message. When customers are ready to buy, they will remember and gravitate to your brand.

In today’s world it is not about what shows up on the doorstep so much but being part of the every day life such such as search, social, network, or video.

And that is something that was not thought of in the 40’s but I know that if we had what we have now, Unilver would have embraced that even more.

The next article in this series will deal with how brands in themselves became important in the early part of the 20th Century.