Nothing written about advertising would be complete without an early reference to those earliest advertisements, the primitive picture stories scratched upon stones by prehistoric man. To comply with the conventions this allusion is made and disposed of. In reality advertising is a vastly larger subject than is comprehended in the idea of announcement by means of permanent characters. Advertising, in fact, antedates the existence of man upon this planet; it goes even further back, to the time when there was no animal life.
This may seem to be getting too far back into the dim realms of the past, since advertising, as it is generally understood, is the art of selling by means of publicity, but advertising is not merely a matter of printing from types, of posting lithographs, of sending out a sandwich man. The real advertising is everything that may attract trade, and the word of mouth advertising of a pleased patron is better than the most attractive or sensational lithograph ever pasted on a wall.
Even before the creation of brute life plants advertised their attractions by means of vividly colored flowers, attractive odors or waving foliage. Long before man came, the beasts roared out their defiance of one another; advertising their own might, or called to their mates to advertise their skill. Eve, Mother of the Race, was the first to yield to the seduction of an advertisement, for the Serpent advertised the apples so attractively that she fell. In actual practise there is little difference between that early advertisement and the current announcement of the bargain counters.
Advertising, then, is a matter of publicity. It is not confined to one or two forms of announcement but ranges from the personality of the house owner to the condition of the broom with which the house is swept.