Skip to Main Content

Traffic Managers


The first advertisements in the U.S. appeared in the 1740s in Benjamin Franklin's newspaper, the Transylvanian Gazette. The ads were mostly about land, transportation, and goods. By the 1800s steam presses were faster and larger, lithography was introduced, papermaking techniques had improved, and color reproduction emerged. Combined, these advances made volume printing affordable for more people. America's population and economy were growing, as was interest in learning about companies' services and products and about news and events. Newspapers sold large advertising spaces in "penny papers," which consumers bought for a cent.

Later in the 1800s, transportation developments such as the steamship and railroad expanded the manufacturing industry. Companies were producing and selling goods in more areas of the country and needed help with advertising to wider groups of people. They contracted advertising agents to choose the newspapers that would most effectively promote sales. The advertising agents coordinated all aspects of the advertisement process, handling some aspects of what today's traffic managers handle. They negotiated rates, selected and guided the printer, confirmed insertions, made sure deadlines were met, and handled payments. Newspapers also hired sales agents to help them with their advertisements. The advertising industry started to grow, expanding to offer not only ad placement services but also ad writing, and marketing and advertising campaign strategies.

New York became a central point for advertising at the turn of the 20th century. Agencies such as BBDO,  N.W. Ayer & Son, J. Walter Thompson, and many others set up their headquarters in Manhattan. Advertising copywriters and artists became standard jobs within advertising companies.

The next decades brought radio and television, which advertising agencies embraced as new avenues of revenue. Advertisers continued to keep pace with new technology and innovations in media. Since the 1970s, computers, video games, cable TV, VCRs, DVRs, e-mail, the Internet, social media, mobile devices, wearable technology, Demand TV, and more have expanded the advertising industry landscape. Companies now have more ways to reach consumers, and advertisers have more ways than ever to strategize and create effective advertising campaigns for them. Advertising and promotion managers, including traffic managers, will continue to be needed to manage and coordinate these increasingly complex, multimedia projects for clients.

Related Professions