Advertising - Great Mid Winter Sale
( Originally Published 1902 )
Along in the early or middle part of February comes " The Great Mid-Winter Sale." It is the last supreme effort to get rid of winter stocks, and is a sale that under some name or other is pushed yearly by almost every retail concern that advertises.
The shoe dealer, with accumulations of fall and winter styles of footwear-the clothier, with hundreds of heavy winter overcoats and suits on his tables—the hatter, with a surplus of present styles on hand-the dry-goods house, with many dollars' worth of winter goods on hand—all realize the necessity for quick transformation of the same into ready cash before the arrival and display of spring stocks.
The reasons for the sale are very obvious and should be made as obvious as is possible for the English language and printer's ink to make them. Give the great American public to understand, not only in your printed statements, but by the actual power of bed-rock prices, that "The Great Mid-Winter Sale " is the last final effort of each department in your store to rid itself of every item of fall and winter stocks—that the leftovers from the great sales of muslin underwear, linens, men's furnishings, etc., are now marked at prices which ought to make the bargain seeker's eye glisten with keen enjoyment.
The boot and shoe dealers harp on the daily arrivals of spring and summer stocks, and the necessity of closing out all winter assortment in order to make room for the new arrivals. Most shoe concerns satisfy themselves with a space of about sixty lines every other day. This space could be well utilized in a two-weeks' series of ads with such pointed talk and display that they would not fail to attract attention.
A shoe ad something after this style should produce excellent results in the way of increased sales:
Or, if the shoe concern wishes to do a little splurging, it may well take a double half-column three times a week, and under a suitable double-column heading run in a dozen items—with the first two illustrated. Here's an idea on such a heading:
" OUR GREAT MID-WINTER SHOE SALE,
which annually brings in train hundreds of splendid shoe values, is now on. Plenty of items now to select from—but at the present rate they cannot last long. Better come around today and select a pair of stylish and serviceable shoes from such values as are here."
It has been my experience in advertising for an exclusive boot and shoe house that the first idea is the best. Give one good value with every ad—show a cut of the shoe—give its description and price—have a catch line that catches—and speak generally of the bargains that "The Mid-Winter Sale" is creating in your stock, in small type at the bottom of the ad.
Run a border about these ads.
With a department store the several items idea is the best, for the reason that the shoe ad must appear in a general ad with other departments—all of which give a number of items. Still, for a change, the exclusive shoe house could come out once a week—say on Sunday—with a double half-column ad of a dozen items.
A retail clothier, anxious to dispose of several hundred heavy-weight winter suits and overcoats, ought to make them move rapidly with the shoe man's method—subject to slight variations. The clothier should speak of at least two items—they should be illustrated—and, if he is taking liberal spaces, he ought to mention at least three bargains in suits, the same in overcoats, and a couple more in trousers and asters.
One thing about such a sale that should not be overlooked, and that is, always give prominence to its name. Let every ad you prepare during the life of the sale say something about " The Great Mid-Winter Clothing Sale," either a main headline or as a sub-headline in the middle of your heading. This heading attempt will convey my idea more clearly
"OUR GREAT MID-WINTER CLOTHING SALE
is now in full swing. Prices have dropped with a dull thud in heavy-weight Suits, Overcoats, Ulsters and Trousers, as your investigation will speedily prove. Delay means disappointment in this case—as purchasers are very numerous at present—and if you delay you may miss the bargain you were looking for."
Or something like this
" KEEN PUBLIC APPRECIATION IS SHOWN
in response to our ads—and no wonder. We must —and will—have the room now occupied by Winter Stocks for the incoming Spring Goods—hence the remarkable buying opportunities offered by
OUR GREAT MID-WINTER CLOTHING SALE."
The same general idea that applies to shoe and clothing advertising may well be applied to the other retail lines that advertise extensively.
The department store can proceed with the same method it applied to " The Great January Mark-Down Sale," with, such variations as may occur to the advertising man in charge.
These variations would apply principally in the typographical arrangement and arguments. Assuming that the text of the department store ad is all that can be desired, I may here suggest a typographical arrangement which has the merits of neatness, simplicity and general pleasing effect.
Have all the departments boxed in with four rules—two light and two heavy rules. Have the light rules on left and top and the heavy on right and bottom. Arrange the boxes so the top row will be of an even measurement across the page try and have the next series of an equal depth, and if it is not possible to have every row of the same depth let the odd boxes fill up at the bottom of the page.
If the printer has not enough rules to go around, and if he prefers to use a border, let him use a light border about each box in place of the light and dark rules. Then run a heavy, fancy border about the name and heading, and a border about the whole page, and the result will be very pleasing from an artistic point of view.
In most instances the heading should run across entire top of page, but occasionally, for the sake of variety, it could be well made to occupy four columns across with a slighter depth than the across page heading Or the heading could fill up a double-column space running down about one-third of the page. In this case the border might be run about the heading, and the firm name appear at the top of each column.
In the meantime you ought to speak occasionally of your spring stocks-what beautiful organdies and muslins are being opened—how handsome and stylish your new spring capes appear, and similar conversations on the other lines, and as soon as " The Great Mid-Winter Sale " is over you can then begin to advertise spring stocks.