Income Artist

How Advertising Has Changed Over The Last 20 Years

Author: Jimmy Barron
Published:March 12, 2024
3 mins 39 secs

It is clear to everyone that communication has undergone a revolution in the last 20 years with the rise of digital media. These formats, which are versatile and can be delivered on a variety of devices, have in fact increased the possibilities of communication and have put the focus on the visual component.

Video devices, in fact, are now present in so many contexts, from shopping centres to city streets, not forgetting shops, gyms, offices and public transport stop, allowing increased interaction with the user.

In recent years, both the tools used for advertising and the methods of communication have changed. Those born between the 1970s and the early 1990s witnessed these changes, and these generations remember well how the media changed. Many steps forward have been taken in 20 years, but there are still many more to come. 

Understanding where we started from and looking to the horizon is important for companies that want to be competitive and in step with the times. Then, here is a brief excursus of these changes, from twenty years ago to the present day, and what the future might look like.

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Advertising And Communication 20 Years Ago

If we go back 20 years, we have to imagine a scenario where mobile phones did not exist and where much of the communication took place in the presence.

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The telephone and e-mails were the most technological media at that time. It would have been difficult then to imagine the changes that took place year after year and influenced both private communication and advertising.

For example, advertising has changed dramatically over the years.  Already in the 1920s and 1930s, however, the aim was to create increasingly customized advertising, and it was in this decade that we first heard of the unique selling proposition.

Thanks to the post-World War II economic boom, the so-called ‘golden age of advertising’ took place. Back then, companies used to focus on creating memorable characters to establish a bond with viewers. 

Today, however, the same bond is created with engaging images and videos that aim to arouse emotions and to create a liaison between customers and brands. This is why indoor and outdoor led display are increasingly popular tools, along with online communication that offers a high degree of interaction.

How Digital Media Change The Scene

Social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, have brought changes not only in communication and advertising, but also in business. From being tools to keep in touch with other people, they have become tools to support all kinds of business and allow people to sell products online, even without having a website.

Videos, enriched by Instagram and TikTok hashtags, have become a way to promote products and services, also thanks to the influencer, a brand-new figure that can be considered an evolution of the more classic testimonials present in commercials since the 1930s.

Digital media have brought about a change: the orientation is no longer about selling, but on creating a brand image and on formulating an offer which is interpreted as a solution to problems. The focus is no longer about the product, but on the consumers and their needs.

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What Does The Future Bring?

In recent years, however, communication has also moved off the screens and street marketing, a technique that allows advertising messages to be delivered using public spaces, has become widespread. Installations, video walls, performers and more have become a way of combining online communication with a tangible component of the real world.

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In this scenario, all forms of Out of Home communication, i.e., advertising messages outside the home, using LED walls, billboards, signs and public transport, have found their place and proved their importance.

On the one hand, the future of advertising sees the combination of digital and physical channels: omnichannel is certainly a crucial keyword.

It is no coincidence that more and more companies are aiming to create opportunities for interaction with users through display touch-points, using physical elements such as indoor or outdoor LED screens in shops or other public places, but perhaps also referring to the possibility of a digital online experience through smartphones. 

On the other hand, this search for a bond with the physical world is countered by the Metaverse, a completely virtual environment where you can create e-commerce shops to sell real and virtual products with which to enhance your avatar’s wardrobe.