We’re used to the graphically pleasing presentations that come with and are expected of our 21st century advertisements. We just have to browse the printed editions of Jamaica’s two major newspapers, the Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer, to get an idea of the enormity of the graphic design process that goes into these commercial works of art … not to mention their final dollar values!
An example of one company that definitely prides itself on its advertisements in its various marketing campaigns is our own telecommunications giant, Digicel Jamaica, who, when putting on an ad campaign puts others to shame. Who remembers any of their advertisement wars with Lime? These must have been discussed ad nauseum in marketing classes!
Early 20th Century Advertisements as Seen in the Pages of “The Daily Gleaner and De Cordova’s Advertising Sheet”
So what were newspaper advertisements like back in the day? Well, let’s take a tour of a couple early 20th century ads that appeared in the May 12, 1900 edition of c (previous name of the Jamaica Gleaner), exactly 110 years ago, to get an idea of the type of products that were being advertised and how these were presented to the reading public. I’ll allow the ads to speak for themselves.
Here’s a bit of historical fact for you: the Gleaner was first and foremost an advertisement publication before becoming the newspaper it is today. In 1900 the paper went by the name “The Daily Gleaner and De Cordova’s Advertising Sheet.”
(Ad 1) Chapoteaut’s Peptone Wine – A Delicious Nutritive Stimulant
(Ad 2) Dr. Warburg’s Peptonized Beef Iron and Wine
(Ad 3) Syrup of Figs
(Ad 4) Skin-Tortured Babies and Tired Mothers Find Comfort in Cuticura
(Ad 5) Ashton and Parsons’ Infants’ Teething Powders
(Ad 6) Solomon’s Liver Tonic
The May 12, 1900 edition of “The Daily Gleaner and De Cordova’s Advertising Sheet” was 24 pages long and the majority of it was devoted to advertisements as either mostly text or drawings accompanied by a large quantity of text, what we now call advertorials.
These advertisements are not only valuable as distinct echoes of Jamaica’s advertising history but also an aspect of our social and cultural history that is worth studying through which we can learn much about our country’s development. Is there anyone out there already studying this aspect of our history? Why not write to us at Jamaican Echoes so we can talk?
Until next time…
The Daily Gleaner and De Cordova’s Advertising Sheet, Saturday, May 12, 1900