coke ad

A 1900 advertisement for Pears soap.

“Good morning. Have you used Pears’ soap?”

Most of us have probably never even heard this slogan or know what Pear’s Soap is.  Thomas Barratt, the so called father of modern advertising scripted this copy and made this slogan quite famous in London back in the late 19th century.  Soon enough an industry was born and then in the 1920s Madison Ave was taking its roots.  This whole industry was founded by talented minds, witty campaigns, and great content.  Yes, content has been around a long long time.

As we all know the American brands that own the lion’s share of shelf space in our grocery stores & supercenters really shaped the ad industry in the 20th century.  Radio and TV soon became popular mediums for advertising as well as direct mail, but soon the internet was born and the ad landscape was shaken.  So today we hear a lot about Content Marketing and that 2013 is The Year of Content, but the reality is that content has been here for quite a long long time.  All ads start with words.  Whether it be a TV, radio, or even video ad, they all start with copywriting.

Due to the proliferation of online advertising and the dominance of Google, words or keywords as we call them now, they have become the new hot commodity.  Hence, it’s really digital content that has become the new advertising weapon.  If you have a valuable product or service and a strong online presence supported with digital content that is of value to your customers & prospects, then your chances of being found by your target market will be better.  Further, more traffic will invariably find its way to you (assuming you are distributing this content via channels that your customers & prospects use) and over time your sales will grow with the right action.

So with this stampede of digital content that is flooding the internet as well as social channels, what really makes this content so valuable today?

  1. Measurement- with proper analytic tools it is possible to measure traffic, leads, customer feedback, demographics, location and much more.
  2. Targeting- with these accurate measurement tools, targeting your audience now can be done today with unmatched precision.  No other medium compares to targeting an audience via online channels.
  3. Search- online searching by using content successfully helps to connect products & customers.  Ever tried searching on the radio or TV? enough said.
  4. ROI- as digital tools advance and marketers come up the utilization curve, return on investment can actually be accurately measured.


So perhaps the age old saying from John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” might finally now be history.


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1898 advertising poster