The Feldwick Factor: how advertising history applies to the future

In his monthly column, Paul Feldwick is asked, "What can the history of advertising tell us about the future?" He considers the suggestion that not much ever changes but goes on to claim that this is both cynical and unhelpful and instead urges readers to try and understand why past advertising work, as these same principals will apply to humans in the future.

The Feldwick Factor

Paul Feldwick

What can the history of advertising tell us about its future?

There's a short and slightly cynical answer to this: what we learn from history is that not much ever changes in the world of advertising. My old boss, Keith Reinhard, used to challenge audiences to name a business that had changed less in 40 years than the advertising agency – no-one, he claimed, had ever been able to do so.

Certainly, technology changes, even business models have changed beyond recognition, yet the roles of 'account men' and 'creatives' are instantly recognisable from Mad...

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