According to Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learners’ English Dictionary the verb to advertise means to make the public aware of something, to cause people to notice something. – page 25, 2008, USA Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. The origin of the word can be traced back from the early 15th century and it means 'to take notice of' (a sense now obsolete), from Old French advertiss-, present participle stem of advertir (earlier avertir) 'make aware, call attention, remark; turn, turn to' (12th century ), from Latin advertere 'to direct one's attention to; give heed,' literally 'to turn toward,' from ad 'to, toward' (see ad-) + vertere 'to turn'.
Early forms of advertising can be traced to ancient civilizations. An early form of advertising, “criers”, originated in Babylonia in 3000 B.C. when people used to go on streets carrying their merchandise and shouting so that they could draw attention. Egyptians used papyrus in order to create sales messages or they used to carve advertising messages on stone slabs and place them along the main roads for people. The most interesting thing is that in Europe, during the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read the words, the merchants used to use an image associated with their trade. For example, instead of a sign that read “tailor” one could use an image of a suit. Modern advertising began taking a more contoured shape with the newspapers and magazines from the 16th and 17th century while the commercial advertisements were for books and medicines. One must keep in mind that the newspapers were not the newspapers that we know in the present days but rather they were in the shape of news-letters.
Branding has existed since the prehistoric era. From cave paintings and cattle branding to symbols used by humans, branding was different from what we know today. Today we define it as a process that takes part in creating a unique name and image for a certain product in a consumer’s vision, solely through marketing campaigns in order to establish a unique presence on the market that the product represents. “Advertising and communication agencies produce cultural texts that portray consumption by drawing on social practices and symbols extant in wider, non-consumption culture. For example, at the most simple level, a promotion that pictures people riding on a public bus cannot communicate anything unless viewers of the ad are familiar with the cultural practice of riding on a public bus. Riding on a bus is not merely an act: it is a cultural practice because it is subject to agreed rules that are never actually stated.”
What we can notice nowadays is that culture represents the basis of every advertisement that a company chooses to make. Advertisers must pay attention to the uses of gestures in general because they can lead to a failure if not used properly within one’s cultural frame of reference. This is can be the beginning of a downfall for a lot of powerful companies when they do not respect one’s cultural limits. From broadcasted to social media, we see and hear advertisements everywhere: on our phones, on the billboards from the center of the city, on our TV. Being exposed to all the products we tend to consume more and to buy more. Consumerism has its own part in the results of a good marketing campaign. It represents a function of cultures and it is strongly related to globalization, which has created the opportunity of purchasing goods by the consumers.
However is not always enough just to create the advertisement. A company must always take into account the country in which it chooses to broadcast it, its culture, its history and the people that live in that country. Signification must always occur in the context of behavior or gesture that offers the meaning required. Advertisers must be sensitive to the uses of gestures in general because they can lead to a failure if not used properly due to lack of thinking outside the planners’ cultural frame of reference.