Advertising Assistance From Papers
( Originally Published 1902 )
Papers should give all the assistance possible to advertisers in the construction of their advertisements and in making profitable their advertising.
This idea is slowly, but surely, taking root. Many dailies, weeklies and monthlies have well organized departments which are ready to furnish ideas, ads, illustrations and set ups to advertisers.
One of the most successful newspapers—in the point of advertising patronage-today in America is the Washington Star. The enormous amount of advertising it carries is due in a large degree to the well-known STAR AD WRITING BUREAU. A few years ago this bureau sprang into existence and under able management developed Washington advertising to an unusually prosperous degree. What could be done in Washing-ton could be done in any other city. Advertisers are hungry for ideas—for ads—for assistance in their advertising drudgery. Some daily paper in New York will make a hit with a well equipped ad writing and ad illustrating bureau on its staff. Then Boston will wake up. Then a whole lot of cities and towns will fall into line and from this cause alone American advertising will receive a mighty impetus.
I remember how a few years ago while put in the Rocky Mountains for health purposes I went to a town not so many miles away from Denver. I was in town a day or two—moping around, a perfect stranger—when an idea struck me. I immediately. proceeded to put it in execution. I walked over to the office of the local paper and asked if I could see the business manager. I found that individual sitting in a chair and smoking a cigar.
" Well sir? " he said interrogatively.
" I want to see you about a plan I have for the development of advertising in this town and so increasing your advertising."
He looked at me with amazement, suspicion and disgust combined.
" Don't think you can do anything in this shop. What is your scheme—programme, coupon, want ad scheme or what is it?"
"It is nothing of the sort. There is no ` scheme' about it. It is a sensible and dignified way of increasing your advertising. It is to give such advertisers as you have assistance in the way of preparing their advertisements, helping them to get up and run sales and in general make their advertising more profitable. As their advertising will be more profitable your advertisers will increase it and your paper will reap the advantage. More advertisers can also be developed by a persistent and intelligent exposition of the good of advertising and a willingness to give them every help possible."
" Oh, you mean to become an advertising solicitor on my paper?" he asked.
"I do not mean to become a solicitor on your paper," I answered. " I am obliged to remain in this region for a few months and could put in my time more profitably to myself (and you) if we could make an arrangement whereby I could go to work on the above lines." I then told him of my advertisug experience and detailed my ideas very thoroughly and finally he said
" Come in to-morrow and I will let you know. I want to talk it over with the owner who is also the editor."
I dropped in next day and the manager opened up:
" Your scheme is not feasible. It can never be worked. If you write an ad for Jones his rival Smith will want to know about it. Everybody will know—or think they can know--what everybody else is doing."
If that bank across the way carries my account is that any reason why everybody who banks there should know the size of my account? Don't you suppose that banks are silent sometimes? Don't you suppose that your business developer can keep certain matters quiet?" I thought I gave him a great argument, but he answered:
"No, your scheme is not feasible. Good day."
This was over seven years ago. The plan I then advocated is in operation in that and several hundreds of other towns. I have personally advised the operation of this idea to scores of publishers and in my correspondence with many others have urged it. Here is the case in a nutshell: — -
Advertisers want ideas-help. They want to make their advertising profitable. The paper that will assist them in this will see its advertisers appreciative and its advertising columns grow by reason of this development of advertising.
Reading notices, when rightly written, are business bringers.
A clever puff can do a lot of good to a business and by the same token a malicious notice can do it a lot of harm. Advertisers generally feel that they are entitled to a number of reading notices in proportion to the patronage given and the papers usually grant them.
Retailers and all local advertisers should be well treated by the managers of local papers. Business doings possess news value. The new arrivals in spring silks at John Smith's store are subjects of interest to women. The new machinery installed in the Main Street Laundry is a subject often as much discussed by the town's business men as the speech of a spellbinder.
How often in looking over the "locals" in the paper 'do you run across something like this ?-
Latest styles in Spring millinery now at The Leader.
How much better would something like this be? —
Yesterday the Argus man, in his rounds, learned of the arrival of new shapes in Spring millinery at The Leader. Being a mere man he did not presume to look at and judge of these Hats, Bonnets and Toques with the same eyes and judgment exercised by the feminine patrons of the The Leader, but he is positive of one fact, viz: That there is a large and very attractive display of pretty headgear on view. The prices too are attractive for they are in harmony with the low price policy of this establishment.
Here is another instance of the reading notice rarely read:—Johnson the watch maker does repairing.
Which could be written sons to say something—after this order:
If there is anything the matter with your watch or clock, why not visit Johnson the watch maker? There is very little about a clock or watch that his repairers do not understand. Johnson will call and deliver free of charge. If you are in a hurry ring him up, telephone 279 West.
Occasional endorsements of reputable advertisers are not out of place by the best newspapers and the best newspapers from time to time fully extend such endorsements.
The headline is the first bid for business.
It is the eye-catcher—the attention-attractor—the life and essense of the ad.
If it is successful the advertisement is read.
If it is unsuccessful the time and money spent on the publicity is wasted.
Therefore advertisers should study headlines.
Among the highest paid men in metropoliton journalism are the headline constructors. They aim to present the news of the day at a glance in the display above the "stories." Their headlines are pithy, purposeful, striking, scintillating and sensible.
Every advertiser can well study their efforts. They are brilliant with dramatic effect. They play upon the reader's emotions. They are alliterative and read before realized. They never waste words. They go to the heart of the subject and go as straight as a bullet. They say something.
Commonplace advertising floods everywhere. It neither attracts nor repels the reader's eye. If the reader has time, or is particularly interested in the article advertised, he reads the advertisement—if not—it has not even a moment's significance to him.
Not so with the advertisement topped with an interesting caption. By sheer force of its advertising worth it wins attention. The duty of the headline there ends. It is the advertisement proper that holds the attention after being won.
The good headline possesses a distinct financial value. Its mercantile importance is proven by the increased business it influences as compared with the trade brought by the ordinary advertisement capped with the ordinary headline.