early 15c., advertisen, "to take notice of" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French advertiss-, present-participle stem of advertir (earlier avertir) "make aware, call attention, remark; turn, turn to" (12c.), from Latin advertere "to direct one's attention to; give heed," literally "to turn toward," from ad "to, toward" (see ad-) + vertere "to turn" (see versus).
The transitive sense of "give notice to others, inform, warn; make clear or manifest" (mid-15c.) is by influence of advertisement; the specific commercial meaning "call attention to goods for sale, rewards, etc." emerged by late 18c. Compare advert (v.) "turn (someone's) attention to." Related: Advertised; advertising.
early 15c., "written statement calling attention to (something), public notice" (of anything, but often of a sale); from Old French avertissement (15c., later respelled pedantically as advertissement, a change rejected in French but accepted in English), from stem of avertir "to turn, direct, make aware" (see advertise). Meaning "public notice (usually paid) in a newspaper or other publication," the main modern sense, emerged 1580s and was fully developed by 18c.; later extended to Web sites.
Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises and by eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetick. Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement. I remember a washball that had a quality truly wonderful—it gave an exquisite edge to the razor! ... The trade of advertising is now so near to perfection that it is not easy to propose any improvement. [Johnson, "The Idler," Jan. 20, 1758]