Although advertising has existed for a long time, explicit “branding” is a product of the late 1800s. Due to the prevalence of dangerous products and unregulated industries of the Industrial Revolution, brands were introduced to increase the reputation and value of a particular manufacturer. An identified brand often meant safety and quality. For example, Quaker Oats is among the oldest modern brands in continual use.
Lydia Pinkham was one of the true success stories of personality branding. Her family used her name and image to promote their patent medicine in the 1800s. The product was incredibly successful. Women wrote Lydia for advice; often the company would reply. Lydia herself was uninvolved; even after her death the company kept up appearances, continuing to answer letters addressed to her by consumers.