Advertising Excellence And Badness
( Originally Published 1898 )
In most newspapers there is a dead level of advertising excellence, or rather lack of excellence.
The advertisements are generally of about the same degree of badness.
Probably in every town there are two or three advertisers who secure distinct prominence for their announcements by giving them a little attention and infusing into them a little life and interest.
A man doesn't have to get his head very far above the sea of mediocrity to command wide attention.
Nine cases in ten, when a man says that advertising doesn't pay, he has arrived at this conclusion because he has expected the newspaper to do it all.
If he were to neglect his show window and his store front as he neglects his advertising space he would have still other complaints to make about business in general. If the window were never washed and the display of goods never changed, he would not expect many people to stop and lose themselves in an ecstacy of admiration; and yet he does seem to expect just this sort of thing for an old, moss covered advertisement.
There is nothing magical about advertising. It is one of the tools of trade, just as a chisel is a tool of carpentry. The man who handles the chisel properly can do many useful things with it. If he is careless and awkward he is likely to cut himself.
It's the same way with advertising.