Marketing In The Roaring 20s: 1921 vs 2021

Long before Facebook, Twitter and even the suave marketing tyrants on Madison Avenue, who normalised having a scotch cabinet in the office, there was the roaring 20s – a time when marketing as a concept was just starting to pick up speed. In the wake of the First World War, a sense of normality had returned, sparking a new decade of cultural evolution and dramatic industrial growth.

This new era of post-war elation led to change, not just in the outlook that people had on their life, but within businesses and their approach towards the way they operated. The idea that companies would use new methods, to actively try to sell their products and re-invest their earnings into materials that would help them do so, was becoming much more popular.

Marketing Materials Of The 1920s

Without Google AdWords and Ahrefs at their disposal, businesses in the roaring 20s had to use eye-catching and inventive ways of appealing to their target audience. These often came in the form of ads placed in magazines and newspapers, designed to appeal to the casual ‘every-day man’. Expanding on this small-scale approach, businesses ploughed more money into their advertising budgets and plastered their branding across billboards, shop windows and cinemas.

Typically referred to as ‘the golden age of radio’, the 1920s was the beginning of radio advertisement. This gave businesses a new outlet to communicate to a much wider and more diverse audience. America saw the debut of the radio ‘commercial’ in 1922, while the UK had to wait until 1973 to get theirs in the form of an advert for Birdseye Frozen Food. 

Using the most effective methods possible to advertise became crucial as industries became more competitive, and business owners strived for a higher standard of living. This led to the introduction of marketing departments within agencies and new advertising strategies being implemented. However, in comparison to today’s techniques, this was an extremely basic form of marketing as there was no way of tracking customer purchases, with the only indication as to whether the strategy was working being if there was an increase in revenue come the end of the month.

Marketing Materials Of The 2020s

Looking back over the last 100 years, you can see how these marketing techniques have developed and grown into the adverts we know today. It feels as though advertisements are jammed into every part of our lives with an absolute overload of pop-up ads, spam emails and those annoying YouTube ads which make you wait for 5-seconds before you’re able to skip.

It’s not just technology and advertising techniques that have changed either – the rules and regulations surrounding false advertising have tightened massively. When Coca-Cola was first introduced, it was marketed as a medicine and brain tonic, claiming that it could cure headaches due to the inclusion of it’s most controversial ingredient, Cocaine, which was often found in medicine around that time. Nowadays, marketers have to be much more careful ensuring that their advertisements accurately represent the product and don’t mislead consumers. 

It’s no secret that the marketing tools which are available at our disposal today are incredibly advanced and although you can see glimpses of influence from where it all started, the vast majority of advertising you’ll see today is as a result of modern technology and innovative strategy. That being said, the influence which the 1920s had on design, fashion and social culture will forever be making appearances throughout our marketing materials for many years to come.

2021 – The Start Of The New Roaring 20s?

Whether a post-COVID world will enjoy the same explosion of culture and industry growth as a post-war world did remains to be seen, but what we can be sure of is that marketing as a concept is far bigger than it was 100 years ago and it’s only going to get bigger. To ensure your business benefits from this continued growth, let us handle your marketing – we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to new trends and cutting edge marketing strategy. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at our stunning Embryo Index, old sport.


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