Mark Tungate’s new book, Adland: A Global History of Advertising, traces the evolution of advertising across time and examines all of the ways that advertising has impacted our lives from around the world. Tungate provides an engaging summary of the long and colorful history of advertising, from ancient cave paintings to TV commercials to fast food commercials. In Adland, the reader will learn about branding, brand management, brand maintenance, corporate identity, product image, and much more. By engaging with Adland: A Global History of Advertising, readers will learn not only how advertising has changed over the centuries, but also how it has changed in response to emerging marketing issues like social responsibility, environmentalism, and government regulation.

The book traces the development of advertising from prehistoric times through the Middle Ages, covering a period of about two thousand years. During this period, knights adorned their shields with brightly colored cloths to advertise chivalry and valor. Signet rings were issued to members of royal families to further signify their social status. While public consumption of advertising decreased during the Renaissance due to restrictions placed on printing, it began to flourish during the Industrial Age. Enormous posters and pamphlets appeared in large towns and cities, often bearing messages for business and political agendas.

Mark Tungate’s Adland uncovers the history of advertising through both its commercial and consumer forms, examining the role of brands, images, and logos in advertising both as a medium and a commodity. The book examines how these factors affect not only the creation of the work but the reception it receives as well. Adland traces its development through various periods in artistic history, ranging from the Gothic era to the dawn of the Industrial Age. In addition, it examines current trends in advertising and examines the impact these have on society.

Adland traces the evolution of History of Advertising through four main periods in artistic history. These are the Gothic, Classical, Realism, and Post-Renaissance. Each period exhibits different styles and forms, but Adland maintains a consistent theme throughout. As she does throughout the book, she looks at the way art relates to the culture, economy, and politics of each period. She shows how the History of Advertising relates to fashion, societal norms, art, science, literature, and technology.

In addition to an introduction outlining the book, Adland provides an extended discussion of reception and interpretation. She examines how the History of Advertising is interpreted in relation to technology and society, the nature of consumer and artist relationships, the role of artists in society, the nature of money and art, and the contemporary art marketplace. She concludes with a chapter analyzing the political climate surrounding the creative industry. The importance of the book is that it illuminates some of the historical and sociological significance of art. Adland provides an introduction that opens up many avenues for future studies regarding art.

Illustrative examples from this period include an account of how the Pre-Raphaelites sought to express their liberal and tolerant values in their art, how the artists associated with William Blake’s circle were censored by the religious authorities in their time, and how Impressionists made important contributions to the world in terms of color, emotion, and form. However, Adland goes beyond the standard texts and illustrative examples found in most art history texts. Through an engaging style that includes personal anecdotes, detailed research, and acute analysis, Adland presents an engaging look into some seldom considered aspects of art and culture. This includes examining the relationship between art and business in the Pre-Raphaelites, how Impressionism and modern commercial art affected the art world, how art and literature emerged from the nineteenth century onwards, and how artists and audiences responded to the new technologies of film, radio, and photography.

Overall, this is a rewarding art history workshop that will appeal to students interested in art history, media arts, American art, and social science. The book is edited by Ellen Glaser, a professor of art history at Cornell University and a member of the American Academy of History of Advertising. The well-designed structure and detailed discussions will make this book a useful resource for students, professionals, and historians. I recommend this highly recommended to anyone interested in this important period in art history.