Purpose - The aim of this paper is to examine the nature of newspaper advertisements for goods in Stockholm newspapers in the 18th century by studying what goods were advertised, how frequently they were advertised and what marketing strategies were used. The findings are discussed in relation to results from other countries and the institutional context.
Design/methodology/approach - The primary sources used are three Swedish papers published in Stockholm, one national, Inrikes tidningar, and two local. Stockholms Weckobladh and Dagligt Allehanda. In all, more than 1300 advertisements were examined. In addition, a number of secondary sources were used.
Findings - In contrast to most other countries, the guilds held a firm grip on Sweden's (and Stockholm's) business life throughout the 18th century, and enforced strict restrictions on market entry. Thereby, competition was reduced, the number of tradesmen was more or less constant and the need for marketing was low. The guilds also restricted advertising. This led to marketing strategies being underdeveloped in comparison to other countries, which affected Swedish marketing and Swedish advertisements all through the 19th century. Marketing was a viable option in 18th century Sweden, but only for those not restricted by guilds and societies.
Originality/value - There has been very little research on 18th century Swedish marketing. The paper also illustrates the need for including the institutional context when discussing historical marketing, which often has been neglected for this period in the international literature.
2016. Vol. 8, no 4, 484-506 p.