How to Put Your Own Twist on Old-School Advertising in the Modern Age

The advent of digital media, made possible by ever-advancing technologies and mobile devices and the Internet, has not replaced traditional advertising. Instead, it has stressed the importance of strategic advertising. The reason is really rather simple: forty years ago, it was possible to build a wide audience. Now, it is better to build a focused one.

If you plan to update the old principles of advertising and bring them into the digital age, it is necessary to decide which parts you consider universal and which parts you plan to move forward. That decision rests entirely on your audience.



In case you were wondering what the 1980s equivalent of a meme was, it was the commercial jingle. Normally these were associated with phone numbers, as that was the key method by which customers could start a dialogue with a business. Anyone who has seen a carpet commercial from the 1970s or 1980s will recognize the gimmick.

While a jingle in the digital era might seem anachronistic, the principle is the same. If you can adapt a meme to fit your message, you might be able to capture some of that marketing muscle. Adweek explains that “rather than the jingle or the tagline, lines or repeatable phrases become GIFs and memes that people are sharing, multiplying the media budget for free.” And who doesn’t want free advertising?


Branded Merchandise

The Internet makes merchandise easy to manufacture and distribute, which means you have to bring your ‘A’ game if you plan to make any headway in sales. When it comes down to creating and designing memorable merchandise, Elevate recommends that the focus of your merchandise should be “actually adding value, which means that people will hold on to it for longer, use it personally, and therefore continually associate your brand with something positive instead of negative.”

Some of the most successful and popular brands in the world built their businesses entirely on branded apparel and merchandise. One need only look to the athletic shoe business for proof.



Financial service companies made untold millions in the 1970s and 1980s by distributing newsletters and subscription publications to their clientele. It seemed that every brokerage and financial service company, from investment banks to insurance firms, had some kind of exclusive publication available for a nominal fee.

Right now, the Internet is ushering in the silver age of the branded publication. According to Chron, “sending targeted messages to a select group of customers can increase your bottom line while building awareness and loyalty to your business.” If you want to be on the cutting edge of marketing now, you can definitely take a page from the money giants of the past and put together a list of customers. The results will likely surprise and impress you.


Marketing and advertising is ultimately a conversation between a business and their customers. It isn’t likely to stray too far afield from its roots, but that doesn’t mean a creative business can’t find a way to make it just a little more effective.

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