Advertising - Movements In May Merchandising
( Originally Published 1902 )
There were a couple of suggestions that reminded me one afternoon that spring had come. One was a trip across Madison Square Park, where I saw that philosopher, Citizen George Francis Train, sitting on a bench, surrounded by a lot of children —his thoughts presumably keeping time in " a sort of Runic Rhyme" to the twittering of birds in the bright green foliage. The park looked like an oasis in a desert of bricks, of streets, of cable cars and of people, and its bright verdure looked exceedingly restful. The other hint was while I was in a Broadway cigar store selecting a cigar, when I noticed a circular announcing the initial trips of the Coney Island steamers.
I came back to my office with the intention of making this talk appropriate to May advertising—so here goes
May is the month when householders are thinking of furnishing and refitting their-homes. They need a dozen pictures, a carpet, a rug, some chairs and several other things, and the wise house-furnishing dealer, by a series of well directed ads can catch a very nice portion of spring trade.
Mr. Furniture or Carpet Dealer, are you ready for this?
May is the month when the joyous golfer and cyclist invest in a suit, cap, or pair of shoes—to say nothing of a wheel and its sundries. Men and boys are looking about for summer suits and personal furnishings of every sort for vacation and summer resort purposes.
Mr. Clothier and Furnisher, are you ready for this?
May is the month when the tourist and even the common-place, every-day individual is looking for a trunk, bag, valise or some article for traveling purposes.
Mr. Trunk man, are you ready for this?
May is the month when many a suburbanite tries to tickle his little patch of earth with a hoe to bring him a wealth of flowers and vegetables. He needs a hose—a lawn mower—a rake and other things to help him cultivate that little patch of ground and the farmer with a large patch needs quite a number of tools to help him with his work.
Mr. Hardware Dealer, are you ready for this
May is the month when many a lady is seriously considering her summer suit and outer wearables. She needs a whole lot of " fixins" for her personal use, and she appreciates the ads that will help her in her selections.
Mr. Cloak Man and Dry Goods Dealer, are you ready for this?
In fact, May is a month that may well be improved by every retailer, as the bright, warm days suggest many needs that the wide awake dealer ought to further elucidate by a series of seasonable May ads.
May is a good month to do a little splurging in clothing and furnishings. Price cutting could be made in spring clothing, especially overcoats. Lots of men who have not invested in a spring overcoat could be now induced to by a cut of from fifteen to forty per cent. from regular prices. Light spring overcoats are handy for vacation purposes and the occasional cool evenings that we will yet see before autumn. Spring suits at a slight reduction will find favor for all summer wear. Then the multi-colored summer shirts and fashionable neckwear should be well advertised at present and in every line of men's, youths' and boys' furnishings, lively May movements can be occasioned by good advertising.
May is certainly the trunk dealers' month to advertise.
And the dealer in cameras and photographic supplies ought to take advantage of the month and bring his goods into news-paper publicity.
The papers are full of bicycle ads and the dealers in suits for bicycle and other sporting and outing purposes should put in their best efforts all through this month.
The shoe dealer should utilize his four and six-inch spaces with helpful suggestions on Oxfords and tans and the other sorts of summer footwear.
If the hardware man will take, say a four-inch single column space, right along through the month of May and the first two weeks of June, he can do his business a whole lot of good. The ads should appear daily, if possible—if not daily then every other day, or at least tri- weekly, and, if nothing bet-ter, right through the months of May and June in his weekly paper. Each hardware ad should speak of one, two or three specials—each of which should be illustrated ' with a clean outline cut. A small cut answers as well as a large one, provided it is clear and well drawn. I have always found, in my experience in advertising hardware departments, that cuts were very necessary.
Of course the department and dry goods stores will pound right along through May and early June with " alarming cuts in dress goods," and "marvelous reductions in ladies' outer garments," as well as special sales in which price cuts on the regular spring and summer goods are the themes to harp on.
A very good plan for the retailer desiring to " make the most of things" at present, is to closely study the ads of live houses in his lines in larger cities. For instance, the dry goods dealer in a central New York town could study the ads of Wanamaker, Siegel-Cooper, and The Adams Dry Goods Co., in New York—the trunk man in New Hampshire or some other state, should note what the leading trunk houses in New York are saying—the furniture and house-furnishing man in Illinois and Indiana may well study the present ads of Tobey or Mandel of Chicago, and so on. Every retailer can get a few points by studying the methods of the big fish in his line in larger cities.
But the best plan of all, after studying the ads and movements of the big metropolitan concerns, is for the retailer to consider his local conditions, and if he thinks metropolitan methods won't exactly fit in his own town, to evolve strong advertising methods of his own that will exactly suit his case. In most cases, however, he can get valuable pointers from the big fellows.