Advocacy advertising—as well as corporate image advertising in general—has recently been on the upswing. Some trace its origins as far back as the oil crises of the 1970s, but a historical amnesia has largely obscured the extensive earlier history of this so-called modern phenomenon. In fact advocacy advertising emerged early in the twentieth century. In some of the dramatic early campaigns, practitioners of this strategy—often among the giants of the corporate world—confronted many of the same challenges that modern public relations and corporate positioning strategists face. This article provides a historical survey of these advocacy campaigns which reveals both the variety of experiments within this advertising mode and the ways in which earlier practitioners tried to deal with the problems that still beset the genre.
- © 1987, The Regents of the University of California