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How has advertising changed?

Advertising has been around since people began trying to sell. That's the point. So by this logic, one might think all advertising, or shares similar characteristics.... but not quite. Every advert is different, takes a different angle, or tries a new technique, and advertising has changed massively as times change. As people’s opinions and views change, adverts also change to comply with the masses. In this article, I want to talk about how advertising has changed. For the sake of consistency, I’ve decided to look at one company’s adverts throughout the years to show the change.


So let’s look at how McDonald’s has tried to sell burgers and fries since the ’50s and ’60s.


Ignoring the quality (of the ad, not the food) McDonald’s took a very product-focused approach to their ads, as many did in these decades. They are trying to sell food after all. Mcdonald's wanted to show their food to consumers and highlight its quality and value relying on the food itself to get customers as opposed to the brand.


Now the 1980s were similar to the ‘70s but slightly different. There were a lot more songs and music and I think they did it for two reasons. It was the ‘80s and to make the ads catchy and stick in people’s minds after they had finished watching which they would remember as they walked past a McDonalds for instance. They still targeted kids but moved their sights onto the whole family, this was done to give McDonald’s a wholesome family image and appeal.
In the 1990s the ads still had a similar style and tone to the ’80s but they began to use their mascots a lot more. They had adverts focusing on this range of characters and their adventure. They did this to strengthen their brand identity and to relate to kids. McDonald’s also used more stories in their ads, which would continue into the future.


These modern ads show the very different way McDonald’s has tried to sell burgers since their first ads. They now focus on the stories behind a McDonald’s as opposed to the food itself. For instance, in earlier ads, the whole video focused on food and why people should eat it, then it shifted to the people and began to experiment in storytelling. Through the 2000s they did more and more storytelling which is almost all they do now.


Originally this article wasn’t going to just be about McDonald’s ads but I wanted to show you how advertising has changed. If you look at any ad from the ‘60s it will almost always show the product with narration. That’s boring and people will forget it. With storytelling instead of making a viewer bored it not only captures their attention but also evokes an emotion that makes an impression. Whether they’ll go and buy your product based on the emotion you evoke is a story for another article.


Another strategy they use along with storytelling is humour, for the same reason. It makes the audience laugh thus making it stick in their minds, which is the first step. So before you go here is one last example, one of my personal favourites, to hopefully give you a laugh and make you crave a McDonald’s.