DOI: 10.21637/GT.2015.3.02.

Are there no new ad techniques under the sun? – How the methods presented to us today as 'new discoveries' appeared in Hungarian advertising literature a century ago


It is a frequently held notion that advertising appeared in Hungary (and the whole of East-Central Europe) and began to develop rapidly only during the 1990’s, after the fall of Communism. Indeed, today’s advertising professionals will throw around sonorous terms such as ‘brand’, ‘word of mouth’, ‘integrated marketing communications’, ‘USP’, ‘CSR’, ‘astroturfing’, ‘AIDA’, ‘collective advertising’, and so on, with a casual ease that would have been unimaginable 25 years ago. Moreover, some of those terms are used in their original English form, showing, as it were, that they have been adopted straight from ‘the West’, and that the concepts they refer to are so fresh that no Hungarian equivalents have been created yet.
But have Hungarian advertising experts really adopted these concepts from abroad? Should we be convinced by the opinions voiced by journalists (and sometimes even by ‘professionals’) who say that any advertising worth speaking of has only been introduced in Hungary in the past 20 or 30 years?
As we will see, the answer is a clear ‘no’. Hungarian advertising was well-established already by the 1910’s and 1920’s, and Hungarian advertising science was in the process of becoming firmly grounded too. Several works were published that laid the foundations of advertising – it is another matter that, sadly, these books have then been forgotten by many. Even more interestingly, the abovementioned concepts already appeared in these works written almost a hundred years ago, even though they did not use today’s professional terminology at the time.
Therefore the aim of this study has been to explore the beginnings of Hungarian advertising science and to show that today’s marketing and advertising continue to use much of the knowledge recorded as early as in the 1910’s and 1920’s.

KEYWORDS: advertising, marketing, economic history, business history
JEL Codes: M31, M37, N70

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