Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Air Raid

(continued from The Space Age, see 6/26 below)

Very near the time Lasker and Kennedy got together and revolutionized the advertising industry, two other men got together and created a revolution of their own. Wilbur and Orville Wright lifted their flying machine off the ground at Kitty Hawk in December of 1903 and launched the Aerial Age in America.

There was a long period of time between that first flight in 1903 and the commercialization of flying. Commercial aviation didn’t really grow until after Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight to Paris in 1927. The number of airline passengers in the United States grew from less than 6,000 in 1926 to approximately 173,000 in 1929.

Similarly, commercial radio had a long development period. The invention of the vacuum tube by Ambrose Fleming in 1904 and the invention of the triode vacuum tube amplifier by Lee DeForest in 1906 made radio as we know it possible. Coupled together, these inventions enabled the transmission of voice and music. But the technology wasn’t commercialized as an advertising vehicle until 1922 when AT&T, owner of station WEAF, one of the first few radio stations to come into existence, offered to sell 10 minutes of advertising time on its station to anyone willing to pay $100 for it. A Long Island real estate company bought the advertising time and sold apartments with it.

Thus was launched a period I call “The Air Raid”, from 1922 - 1975. This was a period that saw the introduction and dominance of new media which came to us over the airwaves. It added a whole new dimension, literally, to advertising and media planning; a dimension of Time.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!!

(to be continued….)

Sources and Additional Reading:

U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, The Pioneering Years: Commercial Aviation 1920-1930,

Stephen Fox, The Mirror Makers, William Morrow and Co., New York, 1984


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