If You Don’t Know Your Past, You Don’t Know Your Future

How important is knowing the history of advertising, or business in general? We’re so focused on the here and now, many people simply don’t care.

The history of advertising, pop culture, and business in general is quite vast. I’ve always believed more knowledge is always better, no matter what the subject. And it’s amazing how a few years of experience in advertising, coupled with a good memory, can hone your inner BS detector.
Some people just entering the business world and the ad industry may not have a full recollection of the 1999-2000 dot-com buildup and meltdown. You can see it with new technology being hyped. When Facebook announced last year it was accepting advertising, its CEO heralded it as a revolution stating, “once every hundred years, media changes.” I wasn’t around in 1907, but I’m old enough to realize he was full of shit.
Perhaps that’s why so few marketing concepts captivate me. I’ve seen them before, albeit probably in a more primitive iteration. And if you’re a student of history, as I sometimes am, I’ve begun to realize that even the most unique ideas today’s agencies produce are built on foundations erected by previous ad people.

It’s the focus of my new column on Talent Zoo.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Great stuff, as usual, Dan. I didn’t know about Apple’s 40-page print buy. Or didn’t remember it ;->
    p.s. nice Ziggy Marley reference

  2. Danny: Great piece. This is one of my shibboleths as well: the fact that so many mistakes could be avoided by acknowledging that advertising and marketing have been around for a while now and that there might be something to be learned from looking back.
    I know when I was a junior I enjoyed seeing how things were done “back in the day” and how those approaches shaped the current work.
    Societies become more ad-resistant over time, and that’s an interesting this to watch as well.