Advertisements (ad) are seen as a kind of commercial behavior on the part of all businessmen, both past and present; its forms are highly diverse. Advertising uses various media (print, TV, internet, etc) to convey sounds, banners, words and images to promote products/services. It employs psychological motivation, such as the reputation of celebrities to influence the mindset of ordinary consumers. Its purpose is not simply to get the public to keep buying familiar products or to inform the public of new ones appearing in the market, but also to stimulate desire for the product or service.
The evolution of ads follows the times. The rise and fall of any dynasty will not hinder its development; to the contrary, many new methods are used and multiple presentations have often been seen. In particular, in the Song Dynasty, because of the separation of the ‘shops system’, the animated night market impacted the related development. For instance, the tea house, pavilion and gate could all be used as a new type of advertisement. The vivid methods of advertisement used were quite amazing.
Until the Ming Dynasty, the making of ads had not changed much. But due to the development around the southern areas of the Yangtze River, different types of commodities were booming. The social status of the merchandisers was raised. Their positive figures were described in novels and other genres of literature. Besides the advertisement description, many ad approaches were also tried, for example, low price, retail sale, favorable travel project, placement marketing, catalog and packing. There was a special phenomenon involving the competition of book sales. Based on the commercial benefits, bookshop owners utilized numerous ads inside dramas, commercial books (books for daily purposes) and especially in novels, for instance, the beautification of book covers, the effects of illustrations, the influence of celebrity, the portraits of book shop owners, the trademarks, and even the self-advertisement in wordings. Furthermore, the marketing strategies like book bands, album collections and independent bookstores could be found as well.
The research aims to explore the economic influence of merchandise during the Ming Dynasty, the variation of ad methods between the Song Dynasty and the Ming Dynasty and with the emphasis on the Ming Dynasty. It is hoped that the initial formulation and subsequent research on advertisement and marketing in the Ming Dynasty will be better understood.