Since the very first food advertisement appeared in the sixteenth century – quickly following the invention of the printing press – advertising has had a huge influence on our food choices. Because the food industry represents such a large percentage of consumer spending, with shoppers making repeat purchases and developing loyalties to their favourite brands, food companies put big bucks into the promotion of their products – especially fast and convenience foods. A recent report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity estimates that in 2009, 189 fast food restaurants spent $4.2 billion on advertising across all media. Of course the ad world has evolved along with food production, and the campaigns you see today spread across multiple mediums, often featuring celebrity endorsements. Here’s a peek at how they did it in the good old days – and how some of today’s most popular brands got their start.