In addition to being one of the most popular sporting events of the year, the Super Bowl is celebrated for its commercials. In case the game got you thinking about media and advertisements, or if you find yourself curious about the history of advertising, or even if you’re looking for snazzy images to include in a presentation, the library has something for you.
In addition to a number of resources that allow users to search for historical ads, the library has information about the history, practice, and techniques of advertising. While these resources may be especially useful for students in business or communications, those in history, various area studies, and the visual and graphic arts may also find information and inspiration from the resources below. Advertisements provide researchers primary source documentation in a visual format and can tell us about popular products, trends in marketing, and the history of popular visual culture.
The library staff has created a library page devoted to helping students find this information: Advertising, Illustrations and Photographs. This is a great resource for locating all kinds of images.
The database Ad Access contains advertisements from the United States and Canada. This resource is limited to the first half of the twentieth century (1911-1955) and categorizes ads into five different groups based on what product they promote. Users can search for specific items or browse by a number of criteria, including publication, medium, and subject.
Emergence of Advertising in America deals with the early history of advertising in the United States. In addition to 9,000 images drawn from “cookbooks, photographs of billboards, print advertisements, trade cards, calendars, almanacs, and leaflets for a multitude of products,” the site includes a timeline that covers the history of American advertising from the 1850s until 1920.
For the latest advertisements, patrons can head over to the current periodicals section, which recently relocated to the Reference Reading Room on the first floor of the East Tower of the Herman B Wells Library. In addition to many scholarly journals, the library also subscribes to a number of popular interest magazines. While scholarly journals often have subject-specific ads, the popular interest magazines print ads for an eclectic range of products. Flipping through these items reveals a great deal about current trends in marketing and patterns of consumption.
Interested in current practices in advertising? The library also subscribes to a number of industry journals, in which the practice of advertising is explored in depth. Two of note are Advertising Age and International Journal of Advertising . Current articles from Advertising Age are located on their website, while earlier issues are available through the library web page. Search for Advertising Age in the search box on the library web page and scroll down to the category Journal Titles.
To gain some international perspective, be sure to check out the International Journal of Advertising; recent issues are available electronically through IUCAT, while older copies can be ordered from the ALF.
For a longer list of journal titles check out the Advertising and PR Research Guide page.
For a comprehensive overview of the history of advertising, the Wells library has a copy of: Adland: a global history of advertising, located in the West Tower of the Wells library, in the Undergraduate Services Core Collection under the call number: HF5823 .T83 2007
For further help locating advertisements be sure to stop by the Wells Reference Desk!