The Evolution of Marketing Part 2: How Modern Ads Compare to Historical Ads

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In Part 1 of The Evolution of Marketing, we went over the differences between digital marketing and historical marketing.

But what about the ads themselves? How have those changed?

At first glance, yield/ antique marketing was massively different from modern ads, even modern engrave ads. But what you’ll come to see is that the core elements haven’t changed all that much … but there’s been a big shift in the core messaging of modern ads.

I planned, let’s ignore the actual product in the ad below for a few seconds( because CLEARLY the times have changed with what we can sell, FDA regulations and all that …) and only search and the marketing elements.

Historical Ad to exemplify the evolution of marketing

It’s hand pump, contains a lot of information that wouldn’t matter as much to modern purchasers, and just feels old.

But when you break it down, you can see that there are core ad parts that occur in a modern ad equivalent as well.

The Historical Ad vs the Modern Ad

Old medicine ad with marketing breakdown, showing the evolution of marketing

You’ve got your graphic or portrait, your concoction mention, your catchy hooking, and then the company info. And when you compare it to a modern ad along the same lines…

Pharmaceutical ad with the same marketing elements as the old medicine ad

Same elements, though a significantly different breakdown.

And I known better pharmaceutical ads may be a bad speciman. After all, it’s those ” regulations thwarting the sale of cocaine as a toothache panacea that require the triple-column, tiny-font, full page of disclaimers.

So let’s look at a gondola ad instead.

Here is an old ad ­čśŤ TAGEND

Old chevy ad with consistent marketing elements

Compared to one from this year ­čśŤ TAGEND

Chevy ad with all the same marketing elements

See? Same factors, different breakdown.

In this case, there is way LESS copy, and highway MORE of a rob( really, 2 secures ). But there were those same cornerstone elements.

( Related: What is Copywriting ?)

Modern ads are, in many ways, the same as historic ads.

But wait, I know what you’re( probably) recalling.

You’re thinking that I spent the whole of Part 1 of this succession telling you how different commerce is now, and how much better it is now; so how could I invest the integrity of THIS announce telling you how the ads themselves are mostly the same?

Here’s the thing. The core renters of an ad may not have changed. But the messaging sure has. And the marketing tactics behind them sure have.

We no longer live in an era where you can buy a single ad placement in a periodical to make all your sales for the month.

Marketing has become a world of campaigns, massive audiences, and tiny differences in copy across 5 ads for the same thing.

Three slightly different versions for an ad for Chevy showing the evolution of marketing within ad structure.

But WHY?

It’s simple. You remember that one downfall of modern commerce from Part 1?

There is just way more competition.

Companies have to work harder for fewer marketings.

You may still need to have all those same market factors in your ads, but you too have to find a way to set yourself apart from the half-a-dozen( or more) fellowships selling the same thing as you.

So what is the best way to set yourself apart, without time slashing prices until your bank account hemorrhages or your business becomes stagnant?

Well, one of the most important changes we’ve seen in the evolution of marketing world has been the relevant recommendations of “selling the why , not the what.”

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Selling the Why, NOT the What

The idea behind selling the “why” is that there has to be something more than just your commodity on the line, and your company “re going to have to” stand for something bigger.

Across almost every industry, business big and small are creating movements or standing for campaigns outside its scope of application of their own product/ work.

Not exclusively does this set them apart within their respective manufactures, but it stops up with an increasingly engaged patron base.

( Related: How to Create Audience-Engaging Content That Drives Results)

To show you what I represent, I’ve picked out a duet examples of historical ads with some modern counterpoints that really exemplify this new “cause-based marketing” evolution.

The Evolution of Marketing Razors:

The razor industry has interpreted a significant amount of disruption over the last several years, primarily with the introduction of more economical options like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s onto the market.

A big part of that comes down to the messaging of their campaigns. Take a look at the ad below, an old-time Gillette ad, and see if you can pick out the core messaging of the ad.

Gillette ad emphasizing the safety of the product

If you guessed security, here’s your gold star ⭐!

This Gillette ad prioritizes the elements of the product itself, primarily the safety and security. “No stropping no honing” is understood at the bottom in the product information, and even though it is I did have to look up what stropping is (it’s polishing the edge of the blade, like you would a straight razor ), it’s clear that they are trying to sell you on the razor itself. And that’s it.

This strategy clearly worked for a long time, because it was only this recent disruption that has bumped Gillette from the majority hold on the shaving market.

But when you counter this ad with a recent video ad from Billie, a women-focused razor subscription, it becomes clear that focusing on the make is simply not enough any more.

Billie’s utmost priority in this ad is to showcase inclusion and adoption. It’s capitalizing on the body positivity movement to make their brand relevant to their target audience: young women.

They are creating a action around their product, rather than advertising the product itself.

Project Body Hair by Billie video description

But what affects me about this ad, and why I picked it to be addressed by over a Harry’s or a Dollar Shave Club ad, is that the ad’s core meaning is that you don’t have to reduce.

That’s like if a butcher shop put out an ad in support of vegetarianism. It simply doesn’t make sense on the surface. But take a look at the comments on this video.

Comments for the Billie ad praising the ad and talking about remembering the company name because of it

Billie has extended their marketing outside the scope of their commodity and addressed a number of problems that is central to their public. And they are being rewarded with audience engagement and symbol loyalty.

They are selling the why–that some maids WANT to shave–instead of the what–the razor.

Gillette on the other hand, is just now catching up to the cause-based marketing game. In fact, they released their own video ad attempting to start a crusade( although it was received a LOT of appraisal ).

But if I’m honest, after witnessing the Project Body Hair ad, I may precisely be switching my own razor subscription to Billie.

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The Evolution of Marketing Gasoline:

Gasoline, and exertion in general, is not going through as much of a interruption. But Shell Energy has still taken it upon itself to change its advertise strategy in order to set itself apart.

When you look at an old-fashioned Shell ad, you have an ad that details the benefits of their commodity. In this case, machine oil.

Old Shell ad that just sells the product

They go into why Shell oil is different and will “stretch time” for your device. Which clearly did enough back then to prepare sales.

But counter it with a recent ad for Shell energy that scarcely mentions a concoction for sale, and you can see how their sell has changed.

Recent Shell ad that embodies the marketing evolution of selling the why.

Even though these components and visual outage of this ad are nearly identical to the old-fashioned ad, the messaging is vastly different.

Shell is trying to evolve their sell beyond the force they sell and attach the environmental movement for energy conservation. Their “why” for electing Shell over another energy company is that Shell is “more environmentally conscious.”

Again, they have taken their ad outside the scope of their make and are marketing a motive.

Now, whether their messaging was received well is a completely different issue. But there is a distinct effort to sell the why.

But not every company is going to have a cause as “big” as body positivity or environmental conservation. And our last-place pattern evidences an ad that find a smaller-scale “cause” to fit with their company’s audience.

The Evolution of Marketing Cameras:

The focus of this last historic ad is again, the produce (I’m ability a trend …); precisely the price and naturalness of use.

Old Kodak Brownie ad

For context, the Brownie Camera in the ad was one of the first cameras sold to the masses and paved the route for more widespread photography. So it determines sense that price and ease of use would be the focus.

But now everyone has a camera in their pocket, and actual cameras, especially nice ones, are getting more and more expensive. So camera companies are having to get more creative with their marketing to reassure their audience.

That is part of what meets the Nikon ad below so interesting. They are focusing on documenting your feeling rather than utilizing their camera.

Nikon ad for Find your Passion Contest to show evolution of marketing messaging

By broadening the scope of their ad , is not simply do they utter their audience a reason to buy/ use their camera, but they improve love within their client locate.

You may have just discontinued $3,000 on the camera, but you get to showcase your affection and possibly earn some great booties. There is nothing about the specs of the camera in the ad, or even on the arrival page, despite it being the center concoction at stake.

And “Follow Your Passion” is a why that is way more scaled down from the other two examples, but it has just as much impact.

The Messaging IS the Marketing

Even if most of our ads today are digital instead of hand drawn, and even if digital marketing has wrested photograph sell, your median ad still looks a lot like those historic ads selling morally controversial products.

So much is different, but eventually, a lot is the same.

But even if the ads still carry the same general components, it’s the messaging that we now connect with. And it’s the messaging that matters in the end.

So if you want to keep up with the evolution of marketing, you should probably take a page out of the cause-based marketing book and think about your “why” before you try to sell your “what.”

( NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital market acts? Or maybe you just require proven, actionable commerce tools, tactics, and templates to apply in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your course to helping your business grow .)

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