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BUSA: Business & Marketing: Researching Advertising

This research guide is intended to help students in Marketing courses find research relevant to marketing trends and industries.

History of Advertising

Advertising has evolved during the last century, from print newspaper and magazine ads to roadside billboards, radio jingles, and television commercials. These fascinating websites show how advertising has captured the American mood during each generation, reflecting consumers' concerns and using persuasion to convince them to spend their money on a specific brand.

The Duke University Libraries Digital Repository provides access to an amazing variety of vintage advertisements, in the collections below.

  • Ad*Access -- This online archive contains more than 7,000 U.S. and Canadian print advertisements dated between 1911 and 1955, covering five product categories: beauty and hygiene, radio, television, transportation, and World War II propaganda.
  • AdViews -- This digital collection allows you to watch thousands of historic commercials created for clients, or acquired by, the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B) advertising agency from the 1950s to the 1980s. Featured brands include Crest toothpaste, Post cereals, Scope mouthwash, Hardee's fast food, Hasbro toys, Studebaker cars, Texaco gasoline, and Pampers disposable diapers.
  • Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions (ROAD) -- Search here to find examples of billboards, posters, neon signs, ads painted on walls and barns, and other outdoor advertising formats from the 20th century. Topics covered include radio stations, restaurants, soft drinks, liquor, cigarettes, cars, public service messages, and more.   

Coca-Cola at the Library of Congress -- Contains more than 1,100 online images of advertising, signage, vending machines, and other objects featuring Coca-Cola soft drinks, dated from 1890-present.

Philip Morris USA advertising archive -- This searchable collection of print advertising and signage features cigarette brands made by Philip Morris, including Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Parliament, Benson & Hedges, Chesterfield, Merit, L&M, and Basic.

Finding Ads in Print Magazines

To find examples of American advertising in print periodicals, look at these publications, which are located in the Library's Periodicals Tower.

  • Advertising Age
  • Advocate
  • Essence
  • Motor Trend
  • Psychology Today
  • Smithsonian
  • The Week

Finding International Advertisements

To find examples of advertisements designed for audiences outside the United States, visit these websites.

Ads of the World -- Click on the tab for "Collections" to see ads grouped by category, such as sporting events (Super Bowl, Women's World Cup), holidays (Chinese/Lunar New Year, Halloween, Mother's Day, Earth Day), specific people featured in ads (Obama, Trump), and other themes.  

Adweek magazine -- Click on the link labeled "Creativity" to see examples of ads and public service messages.

"Design Your Way" blog -- Look here to find articles about typography, fonts, layout, brand logos, user-centered design, and more. You can also view these collections of ads:

"This Is Not Advertising" blog -- Examples of ads can be searched by country using the "Categories" menu. The links below lead to ads grouped by subject.

It's easy to borrow books with LIBRARY to GO!

Good news!

Even though both NCC Libraries are open again, you can still borrow books and other materials remotely by using our Library to Go service. You can choose quick pickup on campus, or free delivery to your home.

Use Library to Go PLUS to request:

  • Access to materials that your instructor has put on electronic reserve in Blackboard;
  • Scanned pages from reference books like encyclopedias;
  • Scanned articles from print journals in the Library's Periodicals Tower.