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1850: Phineas T. Barnum uses print ads to drum up excitement for his circus

Chosen by: Gina Grillo, chief executive and president, the Advertising Club of New York

Barnum & Bailey poster

To kick off its 120th anniversary, the Advertising Club of New York will be recalling pivotal moments throughout history that have forever impacted and helped to evolve the industry as we know it today.

The emergence of advertising in America began in the 1840’s when Volney B. Palmer opened the first American advertising agency in Philadelphia.

By 1860, there were 20 agencies in New York City. As reported in the New York Tribune, the advertising industry doubled at the close of the decade.

In 1850, it was Phineas T. Barnum who employed newspaper ads, handbills, and broadsides to drum up interest in his shows. He was not only a master at getting patrons to the door but also garnering coverage in newspapers about his upcoming shows.

Thus the beginnings of advertising, guerilla marketing and public relations. As we all know, many followed in his footsteps.

See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book, launched 1 December.

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