Thursday, June 16, 2011

Modern Food Advertising

Before that late nineteenth century, food was not commonly marketed directly to Americans.

Shoppers at typical nineteenth century grocery stores would walk in, find a clerk and tell the clerk what they needed and the clerk would pass the order to other employees.

The goods then either delivered to the customer’s home or given to the customer on the spot.

The invention of modern advertising can be largely be credited to patent medicine sellers of the Reconstruction era.

They came up with all sorts of spurious and very dangerous cures for such ill-defined diseases as neuralgia and dyspepsia, which seemed epidemic in that unsettled time.

Early soft drinks were sold and marketed as patent medicine. An 1892 advertisement for Coca-Cola was typical of the genre the carbonated potion was recommended as “the Ideal Brain Tonic for Headache & Exhaustion.”

Coffee substitutes were originally promoted in much the same way. As late as 1951, the Federal Trade Commission was investigating the Post Company for running ads for its Postum beverage claiming that drinking coffee discourage marriage or that it results in “divorces, business failures, factory accidents, juvenile delinquency, traffic accidents, fire or home foreclosures.”

Since 1970s and the latest presents a picture that hasn’t change much. But two thirds of the TV commercial on Saturday morning TV were foods.

Over half of these commercials were for breads cereal, rice and pasta and the next largest category (28%) were fast food outlets.

The strong rise of food advertising was closely related to the emergence of brand names and the transformation of the retail sector.

In pre-industrial society the production and purchase of consumer goods were mostly locally oriented.

The range of available goods was limited and their quality depended on their region and the preferences of the retailer. From the second half of the 19th century onwards, industrial mass production of consumer goods, including food products, increased rapidly.

Producers needed to sell to a wider market and to provide the customers with information about the product.

Advertising offered the obvious means to this end. This led the manufacturers to package their products and complete them with a brand name.

Advertising are major influences on American food consumption patterns. Food marketers are the nation’s largest advertisers, with around $30 billion per year is for food products after automobiles. About 70% of food advertising is for food products, principally packaged foods, snacks and soft drinks and another 28% for food service especially fast foods.
Modern Food Advertising
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