Unlocking Ancient Knowledge: From 3,000 BC to Sticker it

We believe in the effectiveness of Sticker marketing.

Stickers are a low-cost, high-impact way to brand products, increase exposure and bring new customers. Find out all about how you can use custom stickers for your business here.

Big brands such as Apple have been giving away stickers with their orders for years. However, many businesses haven’t yet to unlocked this secret advertising weapon.

But, there should be no secret at all!

For centuries, companies have used stickers for advertising; how did they come about?

We want to offer a short history lesson on stickers and their connection to advertising. So let’s jump right in.

The Ancient Sticker

Exploring the history of stickers depends on their definition.

Let’s consider a sticker to be a printed piece of paper or plastic applied to surfaces using glue (adhesive).

We can jump back to about 5,000 years ago.

Historians trace the sticker back to Ancient Egypt. Archaeologists found pieces of papyrus, ancient paper made from the papyrus plant, stuck to mud walls using animal-based “glue” that held product information and prices for goods sold at markets. A marketing strategy from the very beginning.

Victorian Advertising

Fast-forward to nineteenth-century Victorian England, where new media and advertising were booming. The Victorian times were very much an age of consumption which promised a great opportunity for aspiring marketers.

Their tactics were visual advertising using boardmen and bill-stickers. Bill-stickers were men that applied posters using an adhesive over the top. These could get pretty territorial as posters could very quickly be covered up by rivals. While the glue is technically on the “wrong” side, this can easily be seen as the forerunner of stickering.

Similarly, stickers were used on the famous Victorian markets to display pricing information and make products stand out and catch the attention of potential customers. This is, of course, still a common tactic used by shopfronts today.

Victorian bill stickers at work in black and white

Victorian Advertising

Two men are usually credited with the invention of the sticker: Rowland Hill and R. Stanton Avery. Rowland Hill developed adhesive paper in 1839, which was mainly used for stamps. While his creation needed added adhesive, Avery produced the first self-adhesive labels in 1935.

Manufacturers and businesses almost exclusively utilized this discovery to market their products and display relevant information, again linking stickers and advertising inherently.

Today, stickers have become a necessity for precisely that: pricing labels, barcodes, and more recently, QR codes and social distancing graphics. All of these uses are useful; however, we often overlook the actual marketing power stickers possess.

At Sticker it, we revitalise stickers and want to help you tap into their potential by offering amazing effects that will elevate your brand.

Holographic labels on sheets in full color on honey jars

And with that, we are back in the now!

We hope this little historical excursion was proof enough that the sticker has been widely regarded as the “go to” advertising tool for centuries and is still being used today. Unlocking ancient knowledge is not something to be sniffed at!