Making Up Largs Ads
( Originally Published 1902 )
Some advertising men are extremely fortunate in their idea of making up an ad—most not so fortunate.
To make up a large ad so that the effect will represent a harmonious combination of vigor and ease, of business and art, requires something more than the average conception of advertising.
Indeed, it requires considerable experience coupled with considerable native wit.
As the prime purpose of an ad is to sell goods, the first great point in making up an ad is to see that the principal departments and best items are represented.
While mentioning this do not forget that the general appearance of the ad should be striking—yet pleasing, and in nearly every case business is sacrificed to art and art to business.
So that there is---
A constant fight between art and business (each of which is very important), and only the ad man who knows his business strikes at the happy medium. Therefore the advertising man should have a thorough retail business knowledge combined with a business knowledge of artistic effects.
It is so much a matter of "adjusting ourselves to the conditions on hand " that remarks of this nature can only be general.
When there is a general heading, run it at the top of the ad right under the firm's name. When a principal department has a liberal heading place it at the top so that it obviates the use of a general heading.
When several departments occupy the same space, the make up of the ad is a matter of joy to the ad man. For all that has to be done is to place all of these equal spaces side by side and arrange the collection of smaller items below. The most important part of the ad is the top-the eye first rests upon it. If it is happily balanced, it puts in the shade any incongruities in the lower part of the ad.
The ad man would call this a " cinch." No clipping, no fitting—no sweating, no swearing.
Not so easy! The chances are that a few items had to be dropped from one or more departments in order to bring about an artistic result. Here's where art and business fights.
Not so fortunate as the two preceding instances considering the material at the ad man's disposal.
That's where the rub comes in:—Adjusting the amount of matter with the proper appearance of the ad. You could hardly drop out some items out of, say silks, without asking the silk man's consent or opinion. He will probably object to having his ad cut-so will the suit and cloak man—so will any live department head. Yet the general appearance of the ad must be considered, and it is in these instances where the advertising man's real business ability is tested. If he knows the advertising worth of the goods advertised and has a fair idea of the business bringing capabilities of the various departments he will find such knowledge of exceeding value. When he is diplomatic yet firm in his relations with the buyers so much more valuable is he to his concern.
Adjusting the ad constantly confronts the advertising man. At first it is a bugbear. Many a budding advertising genius it has killed. It has caused profanity and heart-burnings from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The only way out of the difficulty is to have a clear conception of the amount of space to be used—then to set up the items worth using in " galley form "—then to adjust them in a harmonious striking make-up with the cooperation of such buyers as may be affected by reductions or additions of matter.
Which matters—like most propositions-are clear in theory but not so clear in practice.