Advertising in India has created an incredible awareness among the people in the past decade growing in to big industry. It has grown along with the press and today it has found its way into the other two media – Radio and Television.

Advertising, which was an American concept originally, has found its place in a country like India, so much so that the number of commercials has doubled in the media.

Advertising in India grew with the Indian press. In the initial period, to advertise meant to inform. The early newspapers and magazines announced births, deaths, arrivals of ships from England, sale of household furniture etc.

In the beginning of the nineteenth century new products, discounts and special services got their place in advertisements. Thus, gradually advertising started gaining power. It increased with the growth of trade and commerce.


The leading newspapers like The Times of India and the statesman had their own advertising departments which prepared layouts for advertisements.

In early 20th century the advertising agencies such as Indian Advertising Agency and Calcutta Advertising Agency were started. During Second World War, press advertising was used extensively to raise funds for the war.

The Indian professionals also learnt how to motivate the masses through advertising. Between 1922 – 1939 many advertising agencies came up such as New India Publicity Co., Paradise advertising Agency of Calcutta, and National Advertising Agency and so on.

The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) was established in 1945, training an authority to represent the interests and problems of advertising profession. At the time of independence, advertising business was expanding.


It grew technically also with the introduction of multi-color printing, and improved printing machines. Commercial art also grew as a profession which boosted the advertising business. In 1951, the Indian society of Advertisers was formed and in May 1958, the society of Advertising Practitioners was formed.

During pre-independence era, Indian advertisements were mostly about clothes, travelling, eating and entertainment places, India, hotels, four-wheelers, tea, gramophones and tailoring shops for Britishers in India and the princely families.

In the post independence period, the focus of advertisements shifted from luxury goods to consumer goods bought mainly for time and labour saving purposes. In 1976, first commercial spot appeared on Television and in 1980, the first advertisement sponsors were allowed.

Advertising in India has urban image, i.e. the urban products are advertised by urban models in urban living styles.


Many factors contributed to the advertising industry’s growth and expansion in India. The sharp increase in the media options in all spheres made it easy to reach the audience. This offered new advertising opportunities of media planning.

Many companies were keen on encasing the innovations of the media and trying to be the first to catch the fascination and attention of the target audience and advertising agencies readily offered their skills.

With the policy of liberalization, the business culture improved all around. This led advertising agencies to raise their creative standards and improvements in functioning of the ad agencies.

Moreover, many specializations came up in advertising. Such as, financial advertising, direct marketing, social advertising etc. This resulted in the growth in number and size of the in-house agencies.


Mudra Communications was promoted by Reliance Industries, Shristi was set up by Lohia Machines, Ambience by Garden Silk Mills and Govan Advertising was parented by Golden Tobacco. Later, these agencies grew in to fully fledge professional agencies, servicing several outside clients besides the owner company.