The forerunners to modern advertising, the ad agents came on the scene in the 1860’s and 1870’s. They first offered to physically take ads from the shops of busy tradesmen to the offices of newspaper publishers. Ad men provided a service that businesses found desirable. Two of the earliest agencies were N. W. Ayer in Philadelphia and J. Walter Thompson in New York. These agencies collected circulation figures of newspapers and magazines and based their commissions on readership.

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