Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Objective Proficiency p 46. The Development of Advertising. Extra Reading

The development of advertising

During the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, advertising was a relatively straightforward means of announcement and communication and was used mainly to promote novelties and fringe products. But when factory production got into full swing and new products, e.g. processed foods, came onto the market, national advertising campaigns and brand-naming of products became necessary. Before large-scale factory production, the typical manufacturing unit had been small and adaptable and the task of distributing and selling goods had largely been undertaken by wholesalers. The small non-specialised factory which did not rely on massive investment in machinery had been flexible enough to adapt its production according to changes in public demand.
But the economic depression which lasted from 1873 to 1894 marked a turning point between the old method of industrial organisation and distribution and the new. From the beginning of the nineteenth century until the 1870s, production had steadily expanded and there had been a corresponding growth in retail outlets. But the depression brought on a crisis of over-production and under-consumption - manufactured goods piled up unsold and prices and profits fell. Towards the end of the century many of the small industrial firms realised that they would be in a better position to weather economic depressions and slumps if they combined with other small businesses and widened the range of goods they produced so that all their eggs were not in one basket. They also realised that they would have to take steps to ensure that once their goods had been produced there was a market for them. This period ushered in the first phase of what economists now call 'monopoly capitalism', which, roughly speaking, refers to the control of the market by a small number of giant, conglomerate enterprises. Whereas previously competitive trading had been conducted by small rival firms, after the depression the larger manufacturing units and combines relied more and more on mass advertising to promote their new range of products.

A good example of the changes that occurred in manufacture and distribution at the turn of the century can be found in the soap trade. From about the 1850s the market had been flooded with anonymous bars of soap, produced by hundreds of small manufacturers and distributed by wholesalers and door-to-door sellers. Competition grew steadily throughout the latter half of the century and eventually the leading companies embarked on more aggressive selling methods in order to take custom away from their rivals. For instance, the future Lord Leverhulme decided to 'brand' his soap by selling it in distinctive packages in order to facilitate recognition and encourage customer loyalty.
Lord Leverhulme was one of the first industrialists to realise that advertisements should contain 'logical and considered' arguments as well as eye-catching and witty slogans. Many advertisers followed his lead and started to include 'reason-why' copy in their ads. For example, one contemporary Pears soap ad went into great detail about how the product could enhance marital bliss by cutting down the time the wife had to spend with her arms in a bowl of frothy suds. And an ad for Cadbury's cocoa not only proclaimed its purity but also detailed other benefits: 'for the infant it is a delight and a support; for the young girl, a source of healthy vigour; for the young miss in her teens a valuable aid to development ... ' and so on. As the writer E. S. Turner rightly points out, the advertising of this period had reached the 'stage of persuasion as distinct from proclamation or iteration'. Indeed advertise or bust seemed to be the rule of the day as bigger and more expensive campaigns were mounted and smaller firms who did not, or could not, advertise, were squeezed or bought out by the larger companies.

(from “Advertising as communication” by Gillian Dyer)

Now complete these statements by choosing the answer which you think fits best.

1 An example of a product which might well have been advertised during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution is

a a cooking utensil.

b a new child's toy.

e tinned fruit.

d household soap.

2 The small-scale manufacturers of this period did not need to advertise because

a there was no competition between different firms.

b customers bought goods directly from the factory.

c the demand for most goods was fairly constant.

d they were not committed to producing one type of product.

3 It is explained that during the depression small businesses combined in order to

a spread their commercial risks.

b gain control of the market.

c increase their profits.

d finance mass advertising.

4 The account of the soap trade in paragraph 3 illustrates how

a products came to be distributed by travelling salesmen.

b products came to be given separate identity.

c leading manufacturers produced an excess of goods.

d wholesalers drove their competitors out of business.

5 The Pears soap advertisement suggests that, compared with similar products, Pears soap

a is more economical to use.

b is more pleasant to use.

c makes the task less difficult.

d makes the task less lengthy.

6 Early twentieth century advertising differed from previous mass advertising in that it

a contained more factual information.

b included more pictorial detail.

c relied more on appearing rational.

d relied more on memorable phrases.


1 B  (novelty: new)
2 D (adaptable)
3 A (so that all their eggs were not in one basket)
4 B (distinctive packages)
5 D (by cutting down the time the wife had to spend)
6 C ("reason-why"; the advertising of this period had reached the "stage of persuasion as distinct  from proclamation or iteration")

Straightforward: simple. E.g. It's quite straightforward to get here.
Fringe: groups of people, events and activities that are not part of the main group or activity. E.g. Street musicians have been gathering as part of the festival fringe. Fringe meetings at the party conference  
In full swing: having reached a very lively level. E.g. when we arrived the party was already in full swing.
Weather something: to come safely through a difficult period or experience. E.g. The company just managed to weather the recession. She refuses to resign, intending to weather the storm (= wait until the situation improves again).
Slump: a sudden fall in sales, prices, the value of something, etc. Decline. E.g. a slump in profits. This is the worst slump in property prices since the 1990s. 
Usher something in: to be the beginning of something new or to make something new begin. Marcar el comienzo. E.g. The change of management ushered in fresh ideas and policies.  
Combine: a group of people or organizations acting together in business. E.g. a combine was created with the participation of all the enterprises in the district.
Custom: the fact of a person or people buying goods or services at a shop/store or business. Business. Clientela.  E.g. Thank you for your custom. Please call again.We've lost a lot of custom since prices went up. 
Frothy: having a mass of small bubbles on the surface. Espumoso. E.g. frothy coffee. A frothy mixture of eggs and milk. Add the eggs and beat until frothy.
Suds: a mass of very small bubbles that forms on top of water that has soap in it. Espuma de jabón, agua jabonosa. E.g. She was up to her elbows in suds. 
Iteration: /ˌɪtəˈreɪʃn/ the repetition of a process or utterance.
...or bust: (informal) used to say that you will try very hard to get somewhere or achieve something (or collapse from the effort) - used in phrases expressing determination to do something. E.g. For him it's the Olympics or bust. Oregon or bust (meaning "We will get to Oregon or die trying.")

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for your kind words. It's funny because I have already known Cristina’s C2 wikispaces and Matt’s blog since last year. The reason is that I studied Pre-proficiency at the Universidad Complutense (Centro superior de idiomas modernos) with Sally and she recommended to us visiting and working with both of them. It’s a small world! Thanks a lot for sharing your interesting documents and information. I will work with them.