Open Big Data

a directory of open access datasets for social science research

The Economist Historical Advertisements – Master Dataset

This dataset contains metadata of 512.599 historical advertisements from all 8,840 issues of The Economist magazine, years 1843 to 2014. It is part of a series of datasets related to The Economist Historical Archive ( You will need this Master Dataset, if you want to work with any of the related datasets.

Keywords: Advertising, Marketing, Historic, The Economist


  1. Filename: Unique identifier of this advertisement
  2. URLs TheEconomistPageScans: comma separated list of URLs to JPG image files of scanned The Economist pages containing this ad. For multi page ads this can be multiple URLs.
  3. Date of Issue: Date of The Economist issue (Years-Month-Day)
  4. Bounding Box relative X1: Left-top coordinate of a rectangle identifying the ad on the page, relative to the pixel coordinates of the image from column 2 (“URLs …”). Multiply this value by the width of the image to get the absolute x coordinate. If the ad is a multi page ad, the images from column 2 have to be horizontally concatenated first.
  5. Bounding Box relative Y1: Left-top coordinate
  6. Bounding Box relative X2: Right-bottom coordinate
  7. Bounding Box relative Y2: Right-bottom coordinate
  8. Brand: Brand name of advertiser
  9. Brand is generic (e.g. ‘Notices’): If “True” then this ad doesn’t represent a single brand, but a category of ad-like content. Most common categories are “Notices”, “Appointments”, “Courses”.
  10. OCR GoogleVision: Advertisement text, based on text recognition using Google Vision API (2021) of the full ad image.
  11. Text Class GoogleVision: Based on the OCR text the ad was classified using GoogleVision API (2021). See full list of categories. This column contains a JSON string with a list of text classes and their class probabilities.


Kluge, S., Gehrmann, L., Stahl, F., Knäble, M., Nadj, M., Maedche, A.



Funding / Grants



Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International


FilenameURLs TheEconomistPageScansDate of IssueBounding Box relative X1Bounding Box relative Y1Bounding Box relative X2Bounding Box relative Y2BrandBrand is generic (e.g. ‘Notices’)OCR GoogleVisionText Class GoogleVision
2014-1220-0136_000_99.jpg InstituteFalse“Progress. Stability. Prosperity. Finance can help make them all a reality.”
Jasmine Yu CFA
Director, Sr. Portfolio
Management Team Leader
The global finance industry can be a powerful force for good. And you
can help shape it. Explore to learn more.
CFA Institute
© 2014 CFA Institute. CFA® and CFA Institute are registered
trademarks of CFA Institute in many countries around the world.
{“/Business & Industrial”: 0.699999988079071, “/Jobs & Education/Education”: 0.6800000071525574}

Advertising Information and Communication Technologies Over Time: An Analysis of Text and Visual Complexity

Leonie, Gehrmann and Kluge, Stefan and Bayerl, Andreas and Stahl, Florian and Knäble, Merlin and Maedche, Alexander, Advertising Information and Communication Technologies Over Time: An Analysis of Text and Visual Complexity (June 15, 2021). Available at SSRN:

Related Datasets

The Economist Historical Advertisements – Faces Dataset

The Economist Historical Advertisements – Objects Dataset

The Economist Historical Advertisements – Industry Subset “Banking”

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