This paper reviews the contributions of qualitative methods to the development of advertising as represented within the Journal of Advertising Research over the last 50 years. The authors present a systematic review of every Journal of Advertising Research paper, with each paper coded for the role and contribution of qualitative research methods to its findings. The authors then classify the papers into a 2x2 matrix. They find that qualitative research contributes to improve existing managerial practice, developing new techniques for improving consumer understanding, keeping up to date with developments in practice, and identifying new consumer segments. Looking forward, the authors identify potential research avenues and practices that may enhance the standing of qualitative advertising research.