A Vision Of Today’s Advertisements A Hundred Years Ago


The following extract is from A Hundred Years Hence (1906) by T. Baron Russell. It describes the author’s idealistic prediction about the future of advertising:

Advertising will in the future world become gradually more and more intelligent in tone. It will seek to influence demand by argument instead of clamour, a tendency already more apparent every year. Cheap attention-calling tricks and clap-trap will be wholly replaced, as they are already being greatly replaced, by serious exposition; and advertisements, instead of being mere repetitions of stale catch-words, will be made interesting and informative, so that they will be welcomed instead of being shunned; and it will be just as suicidal for a manufacturer to publish silly or fallacious claims to notoriety as for a shopkeeper of the present day to seek custom by telling lies to his customers.

So, what do you think? Let me know in the comments section.


About Edmark M. Law

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. I blog at learnfunfacts.com. You can find me on Twitter @EdmarkLaw and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com
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31 Responses to A Vision Of Today’s Advertisements A Hundred Years Ago

  1. k3icreative says:

    I can definitely see why fast food companies would do this, although it is unfortunate for the consumer.


  2. craftysurf says:

    Advertising is getting more and more personalized, even invasive. Even friends sell to friends now knowingly and unknowingly- we’re all guilty 😣

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JD Bond says:

    I can’t say the advertising of today is any more intelligent than the advertising of the past. There’s still the use of clever catch phrases, but with the ability to be enhanced by CGI effects. I’d say it’s definitely becoming more technologically advanced but using the same old tricks. The only thing is, the mass populous has not become reasonably more intelligent really, so the need for advertising to advance in intelligence has not become a main driver in ad development. Cleverness is the word. Why use pure reason when you could be clever with words (now, images and other forms of media)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The more things change, the more things stay the same. Many don’t realize that when making predictions.

      The rise of infomercials during the 80’s showed how gullible people can be when faced with clever claptraps.


  4. YariGarciaYA says:

    Interesting, yes. Informative? Eh… I know sometimes it looks like a dramatic soap opera, with heart strings being plucked, and then it’s just Coke or something. No info of the product.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a visionary. Got this right 100 years back. I think there is more regulations required in this space. Manipulation is the word I have for some of the ads I see these days

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As for the photographs… well, i’m a vegetarian. A lot of secondhand minds out there that can be easily influenced, unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are also a lot of health-care companies that target vegetarians with misleading ads. For example, those expensive “detox” juices and whatnots that are very popular these days


  7. People are dumber than ever nowdays, and the advertising reflects that! Poor guy lol, he had high aspirations at least.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Lily Pierce says:

    This makes me think of the minutes-long ads on YouTube. There’s one now where the whole video is spent asserting that art education is important, and in the last ten seconds, you find out it’s a commercial for a water bottle brand.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. K. Joseph says:

    Ha, ha, ha! Mr. Russell was obviously clueless about human behavior. That first sentence is a joke!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. mistermuse says:

    Too bad we can’t bring T. Baron Russell back from the past to see what has become of his prediction. No doubt it would have him turning over in his grave.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. sk8sandhu says:

    Good evening dear Edward,

    I have nominated you for the 3 days, 3 days and 3 tags. One quote per day of your choice motivational , inspirational or skills to something meaningful.

    I hope you accept this nomination the link is as follows: https://wp.me/p8QP9J-vM.

    I like your blog very much , it is very interest, sometimes it made me pause and start thinking , especially numbers and digits how it fix into one formula.

    Even the taxation article was very interesting.

    I look forward to hear from you soon.


    Thank you very much

    Liked by 1 person

  12. curioussteph says:

    Missed that boat, mores the pity

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Wow. That would truly be nice. “I am amazed and know not what to say!” Except….do You imagine….in Your wildest dreams….that perhaps they will go back to showing 1 or 2 commercials per break as opposed to 20 or so?!!! 🤣 Cheers!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. B. says:

    Advertising is manipulative in itself… but it’s “normal”…. it’s meant to sell more, more often and bigger quantities…


  15. Ady says:

    Russel guy forgot to account for one thing. The society never drastically changes. People used to like everything new and flashy, they still do. While as per his assumption, awareness did increase, cleverer ad makers have emerged to make a fool out of people as well.

    Liked by 9 people

  16. masercot says:

    The recent spate of prescription drug commercials seem to have that in spades. A LOT of emotional manipulation. People being shunned due to their minor ailments… pastel colors… successful and happy people all around the shunned one… It’s a nightmare.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Would be nice if they’d been right.

    Liked by 5 people

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