Truth In Advertising
( Originally Published 1898 )
The truthful advertisement is the one that brings business, and most all advertising is truthful, just as most all men are truthful.
Occasionally one meets a man who lies. That sort of a man writes lying advertisements. They may pay temporarily, but no permanent success was ever built on a foundation of humbug. Most advertisers are honest. At least, they mean to be. Often each one of half a dozen dealers will insist that he has " the biggest and best stock in the city." Of course, they can't all be right, but that is merely a form of words. Really it doesn't mean much of anything, either to the writer or the reader, and so does no harm—except that_ it wastes valuable space in the paper.
The advertisement that pays best is the plain, honest, forceful talk, written just as if the writer was talking to the reader face to face—a statement of facts.
There is nothing in the world so interesting as facts, especially the facts of business. They should be written about entertainingly. People like to know how and where things are made. Not a technical description, but a hint here and there. For instance : " These goods were designed and woven in France, the cotton came from Alabama, and the silk from China. Twice across the Atlantic, once across Asia and Europe, and here is the finished fabric for seventy-five cents a yard."
It creates an interest that a mere bald statement never would get. Knowledge, thought and truthfulness will generally produce a good advertisement, and a good advertisement in a good paper will always bring good results. The selection of the medium is the first and most important point. The writing comes after. Even a bad ad in a good paper will bring some business. A good ad in a poor paper is sheer waste.