21 Jan /15


It’s no understatement to say that advertising is literally all around us. Whether or not it actually influences what we buy or when, we interact with elements of advertising all throughout the day, regardless of whether it’s at home, during our daily commute, on the internet, or even during a sporting event. So where does all of this advertising come from? The tongue-in-cheek answer is today’s word of the day: adland. A centennial American colloquialism, adland is simply a representation of the overall advertising industry, much in the same way that the term Fleet Street is still synonymous with the British press.

While adland may not be a real place, the industry that it represents in the UK is real and expansive. Nationally, traditional advertising spending was valued at over £11 billion in 2013; however, when you add in digital advertising, the amount jumps to well over £17 billion. Beyond these currently available numbers, the projected forecast for 2014 and 2015 is an increase of 5-6%. While this increase may not seem terribly large, it seems as if adland is following us into the age of mobile communication and information: internet ad spending has grown by over 15% (from 2012), and ad spending solely on mobile devices has grown by 95%, with an additional growth of 74% expected for 2014.

Though being worth a lot of money, adland has always been somewhat suspect. In fact, the first known usage of the word comes from the American advertising publication Printer’s Ink, which, in 1915, remarks, “A curious place is adland.” Poking fun at the persuasive nature of the industry in 1959, Changing Times (which became Kiplinger’s) printed, “Adventures in Ad-land, or which cigaret should you smoke?”

For better or worse, as long as there is a product or idea to be sold, advertising will be with us, and adland will continue to be a vibrant place. If you disagree, maybe it’s just because you haven’t seen the latest TV commercial or pop-up ad on Facebook?