Advertising Spring Stocks
( Originally Published 1902 )
The new spring and summer styles are beginning to blossom in many show windows of the great metropolis, and plans for pushing the new arrivals are now in evidence.
The hotels are now filled with buyers from the West and South—hotel people say they never saw so many out-of-town merchants or their representatives a February before—and as a result the latest conceptions of American and European designers are scurrying West and South, to be exploited in the many ads of many houses.
There is a suggestion of the poetry of spring and the sunshine of summer about these goods that contrasts strongly with the present bleak February weather, and it is therefore wise to tinge dull, prosaic retail advertising with a little of this warmth of poetry.
For human nature is ever ready to respond to the suggestiveness of spring and sunshine, whether it appears in the humble effort of the aspiring amateur in spring poetry, or is more deftly spun into business literature by the clever advertising writer.
The masculine eye in glancing over a newspaper column lightens up at the advance spring announcements, speaking of the latest shapes in men's hats; and the feminine optic gleams with anticipation as it learns from the advertising columns that the latest effects in silks are the Navel Eccoisee, Illuminated Broche Grenadines and Bengaline Soyeaux.
In advance spring advertising the retailer has ample opportunities to inject information and novelty into his store news. He is no longer obliged to thrum the well-beaten note of bargains and bargain sales. He can give the livest, freshest sort of news in speaking of his new spring arrivals in the silks and dress goods—in ladies' capes and garments-in clothing and furnishings.
In general store or department store advertising it is well to take one or two departments at a time in speaking of their spring openings. Thus, Sunday's ad might contain an announcement of the initial exhibit of ladies' jackets, capes and garments. Tuesday's might speak of dress goods and silks, and later on in the week the announcement regarding spring millinery could be made.
In the course of a week or two all the principal departments could be thus given the prominence they deserve, in connection with the usual digest of special sales. Then a whole Sunday ad could be given to the entire new arrivals. Have the heading speak of spring styles—have every department speak only of the spring styles-and the whole ad thus given to spring styles would be a culminating general spring announcement to the series of spring ads previously given.
Clothiers and furnishers have ample opportunities to give their patrons the latest news in male wearables. This can be done in a variety of ways. One is by the regular newspaper advertising, which shows the proper idea in spring overcoats and neckwear. This is always illustrated with a cut, which is accompanied with a brief description of the garment and its price. Another way is to issue a handsome booklet, showing the new arrangements in spring and summer suits, overcoats, shoes, headwear and furnishings. Still another is to use posters showing two or more faultlessly dressed men promenading in Central Park or some other equally interesting place with the name of the concern attached to the poster. Still another method is to use circular announcements, which are sent by mail to possible customers. They are all good, although some are better than others. Advertising is like the Kentucky man's whiskey in most people's estimation.
The Kentucky man-the inevitable colonel, of course was once asked his opinion of whiskey—which was good and which was bad.
" Well, suh," he responded, "all whiskey is good, but some whiskies are better than other whiskies."
Just so with advertising. All advertising is good, because it is better than no advertising—but there are varying degrees of goodness in advertising. And one can use advertising to excess as he can whiskey.
I believe newspaper advertising to be the best for a retailer in advertising his spring stocks. Then comes booklet advertising. A well written, well illustrated booklet, judiciously distributed, can do a whole lot of good. The average man will keep it and occasionally glance in it for the proper pointers as to his wardrobe. After that comes poster advertising, which is good for houses that cater to the popular trade. A good poster is a work of art nowadays, and it detracts neither from the dignity or standing of the average clothing house to issue it. On the contrary—quite.
I cannot say I am lost in ecstacy over the possible benefit to be derived from circular or card advertising sent by mail. I have done quite a lot of it, however, for people who were attracted to it by its apparent cheapness, but it certainly has its drawbacks, especially in a large city. I know a friend of mine living up in Harlem, who almost every day in the year finds his letter-box-he lives in a flat—filled with all sorts of circulars and cards from dentists, grocers, real estate men, etc., stuffed in with his regular mail. He tells me he promptly throws them away, and often wishes he could give the senders of these communications a term in the penitentiary.
When the circular form of advertising was new it was good. Circularizing in small towns is more effective than in cities. Circulars antagonize my Harlem friend in a moment—they never win his trade—and he is only one of many others who are heartily disgusted with circular advertising.
Again Spring Advertising.
The winter stocks have had their fling—they have been advertised and re-advertised—they have impressed customers and with the assumption that they have well done their mercantile duty the next and natural thought is
Advertising the new spring stocks!
They are legion! There are new silks, suits, shoes, stockings and shirts—magnetic millinery and models from the modistes workrooms—dainty dresses, dress stuffs and laces—clothing conceits and haberdasher hints innumerable-in fact, spring novelties in everything for personal wear and frequently for household use.
In spring advertising please remember that while the public likes novelty it also appreciates information, if not given in too dry a form. In spring advertising information concerning the stocks, store and prices can be so run in the advertising that it relieves the mixture of facts, figures and prose poetry.