CHAPTER 6Personal Influence: The Marketer’s Holy Grail


Since the dawn of marketing, companies have been chasing influence. However, for much of advertising’s history, that elusive characteristic was strictly associated with celebrity, not with citizens.

According to Thomas Mickey, an advertising and PR industry historian, the first paid celebrity endorsers were probably the stars of P. T. Barnum’s circus troupe in the nineteenth century. “Barnum would have his most popular clowns and entertainers go in advance to the next city,” he said. “They would be the faces on the posters and the newspaper ads, and it was quite effective. That was the first ...

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