The Advertising Solicitor
( Originally Published 1902 )
This is a gentleman for whom I entertain so profound a consideration that never yet have I attempted an article upon the subject.
He is a subject so deep, broad, and many-sided that no pen could begin to do justice to him.
"There are some natures," says Dumas in speaking of D'Artagnan, "that resemble thunder and lightning." They are incapable of analysis, be their visit long or short, at any time or under any condition they leave an impress impossible to the conventional. Approachable and unapproachable, good advertising solicitors can approach anybody and talk upon any subject—rules and regulations have no barriers for them, as they fly over obstacles with the ease of a thoroughbred racer taking a four-barred gate—they are splendid socially and supreme in a business deal-they put themselves in instant touch with the mood of "the other party," whether it represents the deepest despair or happiest humor—in short they sympathize with every emotion for the reason probably that they have gone the psycho.. logical path to the limit.
Advertising solicitors are born, then developed by experience.
Successful advertising solicitors are rare—so rare that publications have been known to die when they lost the services of good men whom no expenditure of effort or money could replace.
First of all, the advertising solicitor studies his paper—its possibilities and present resources.
He shines when familiarizing himself with the idiosyncrasies of advertisers—when overcoming their prejudices-when driving to their innermost convictions arguments in favor of his paper—when knocking argument over with counter argument-when entertaining. and demonstrating his many qualities as a man and a good fellow.
He knows his paper inside, outside, topside, bottomside, right side, left side, round side, square and on the bias—he knows how partial Brown is to the upper right corner last page, and how Smith likes a position surrounded by reading matter opposite editorial page. He sees that Smith and Brown get what they want, and if there are any little luxuries in the way of special type, cuts or reading notices, you may be sure these gentlemen will get " all that is coming to them."
He has mastered the tricks of writing ads—in many cases he can give ideas to artists, and not unfrequently does he give the advertiser business pointers of great value.
But after all the advertising solicitor is governed by the same law that governs every person and business proposition the law of supply and demand.
If his medium is good, business naturally gravitates towards it, and his personality helps along the gravitation.
If his medium is poor, his abilities must be exerted to the utmost, and even then the results are anything but satisfactory.
The aurora of morn illuminated the Oriental horizon with a radiance that said, if anything: "This is the sun's busy day." Shafts of morning light struck in a chamber window—fourth floor front of a Columbus Avenue boarding-house—and tickled the nose of the sleeper.
Presently an alarm clock with a loud acclaim announced that it was seven thirty. The sleeper awoke, scratched his head, looked dubiously at the clock, then turned over on his side for another snooze. Fifteen minutes later there was a rat-tat-tat at the door and the servant girl shrilly announced that breakfast was growing cold.
The Hustler jumped out of bed. In his haste to dress he lost his collar button and broke his shoe lace. Hurriedly opening his trunk, he found another lace and button, but mussed his trunk up fearfully. In the excitement he tipped his ink bottle on the carpet—the landlady's pride-in rushing down stairs nearly annihilated a four-year-old toddler and a flight below stepped in a bucket of water which the scrub-lady considerately left there while on a tour of personal investigation.
The Hustler tackled the breakfast. The full bill of fare was fruit, oatmeal, mutton chops, wheat cakes and coffee, but the Hustler only found time to swallow a chop, a wheat cake and a cup of coffee. Then rushing up to the hall rack he seized his hat and overcoat and was soon at a rapid pace to the elevated station. Up the steps he went like a sprinter-turned a nickel into a ticket—dropped the ticket into the chopper then at the risk of his life caught a train. The guard swore, then slammed the gate. The Hustler hung on a strap and in a short while found himself at his place of business.
The Hustler was a Hustling Advertising Man. He swept into his office like a Kansas cyclone and so disturbed the equanimity of the new estimating clerk that she could accomplish nothing that morning. Copy came in, but the Hustler was too busy to give much attention to it. He got in a wordy war with the office boy on the location of the waste basket, then hustled over to an artist with an idea, but forgot the suggestion in his excess of energy before securing the artist's attention.
A man with a proposition sent in his card, but the Hustler was too busy to see him. A pleasant advertising solicitor on a cheap medium ignoring cards and office boys rushed in with out-stretched hand:
" Know you are awful busy, old man, so am I, but thought you could give us a quarter page for an anniversary issue."
Ah! here was a tribute to the Hustler's hustling qualities. He felt nattered and gave his visitor the ad.
A beautiful blonde programme siren with a voice that thrilled then engaged his attention. The Hustler pretended to be busy with important papers, etc., but he yielded to the hypnotic spell of his fair visitor and gave her a liberal ad.
The office boy rushed in with some proofs and two cards.
" Show them right in—don't waste time—I am in a hurry," exhorted the Hustler, and the two visitors entered.
One had a proposition which to absorb would at least take ten minutes. The other cane to arbitrate a dispute on bills. They were strangers to each other. The Hustler rattled over his proofs-pretended not to see the men—then looking up with a well-feigned surprise, said
"Ah—good morning, gentlemen—what is it—I am in a great hurry this morning-my desk you see is covered with proofs of my new ads."
The visitors, seeing the man so busy, took time by the forelock with a vengeance. Both began talking simultaneously and vociferously. The Hustler rattled the proofs, and appearing to read and listen, did neither.
Presently he broke in on the conversation by calling over to the office boy
"Thomas, I must go down to Park Row, as I have an important appointment there in ten minutes. You must excuse me, gentlemen, and call in on me some morning when I am not so busy."
Seizing his hat and coat he hustled out. In and out of newspaper offices rushed the Hustler. Up in composing rooms he appeared, rattling the compositors within an inch of their lives. In his eagerness to get to the sidewalk the Hustler could scarcely wait for the elevator and threatened to jump down the elevator shaft.
Once the sidewalk was reached he rushed along like mad. Two advertising men happened along and noting the frantic eagerness of the Hustler, said;
"Blobson is a wonderful worker-a great hustler."
" He may be a hustler, but his ads are d —d poor "
which showed that the last speaker was more of a thinker than just a hustler. Onward, bumping against people-treading on pet corns and gouty toes—rushed the Hustler. In an advertising agency went he, but so busy was the Hustler that no time could be given to anything. He had no time to sit down-he had no time to talk—he had no time to listen—he had no time to thinks and when after a hard day of hustling the Hustler hustled down his dinner, he found he had to hustle down town in order to see that hustling farce comedy, "The Hustler."
He hustled in the morning and he hustled at night,
When the Jollier sat down to the breakfast table he gazed admiringly at the waitress, then said
"Upon my word, Anastasia O'Brien, you are growing better looking every day. You look positively charming. How do you manage it?"
And Anastasia O'Brien, who was thirty-five if a day and as graceful as a cow, permitted a look of intense delight to lighten up her gnarled countenance while ambling off to the kitchen to procure the choicest article of fruit, the thickest piece of steak, the most delicious toast and the best cup of coffee for the agreeable Mr. Jollier. Plain John Smith, who was simply a gentleman that promptly paid his board, had to worry along with a steak rather tough and coffee indifferent.
Breakfast over the jollier leisurely sauntered over to the elevated. He winked at the news girl on the corner, exchanged a witticism with the policeman, smiled as he received his ticket from the ticket seller and complimented the ticket chopper upon the skillful manner with which he chopped tickets. Stepping aboard the downtown train the jollier was rather rudely jostled by somebody who appeared to be in a great hurry. Turning around two old friends met: The Jollier and the Hustler. The Hustler was in too much of a hurry to say anything, so ahead in the car bumped he, upsetting the equanimity of a stout gentle-man who was reading the Sun and hitting two young ladies together with a force that set their new Easter hats awry. Then the Hustler hung on a strap at the further end of the car.
As for the jollier, finding all seats engaged, he hung on a strap directly in front of a twelve year old boy. Gazing for some minutes at the youngster the jollier concluded his study of the boy by beamingly saying :
"Do you know, young man, that if I had your strong stout legs and excellent figure I would be inclined to stand up simply for the exercise given my lower limbs."
The boy stood up—he knew not why. The Jollier sat down and was soon lost in Cholly Knickerbocker's talk in the American. Arriving at his place of business the jollier speedily disposed of his morning mail and arranged for the day's duties.
The Jollier was business manager of a weak weekly that needed just such a man to keep it alive and he did keep it alive with such vigor that its fat advertising columns were the marvel of the advertising world.
The first advertiser approached by the jollier that morning 'was in no pleasant mood. Business was bad and he saw no results from advertising in The Derrick anyway. But the jollier only smiled :
" Mr. Thompson, you know in what deep respect I hold your judgment. To have built up the large business you enjoy is an evidence of no ordinary mind. Little trade setbacks will come from time to time but a man of your calibre will never permit them to discourage you. Increase your advertising in The Derrick from half a column to a double half column. But why use arguments with you? The ability you have displayed in matters of past grave import," etc.
The jollier jollied Mr. Thompson up and down the sweet nerve of flattery in a manner truly artistic, then came away with a double half column ad.
Sigemund Goldstein was dubious about taking any more space in The Derrick. He had spent nearly five hundred dollars in its columns but could not say he saw any results therefrom.
"Advertising is cumulative," opened up the Jollier. "Advertise to-day and you accomplish nothing—keep on advertising and a year from to-day you will be surprised at the number of orders you will receive" (and well Mr. Goldstein may be for he will receive none). "Ours is a high-class circulation— The Derrick swings high-ha, ha, good joke, Mr. Goldstein—and you know from the high-class nature of your business how difficult it is to make an impression upon the aristocracy of customers. Speaking about aristocracy, Mr. Goldstein, I wish to say that your daughter Rachel created a sensation at the Levy reception last week. You ought to see how everybody pressed to pay her attention," and so on followed a stream of guff about Goldstein's bewitching Rachel. The jollier came away with a six months' renewal of contract.
Terrence Gilihooly kept a Raines' Law Hotel, but that did not prevent him from running a cut of a building not unlike one of New York's leading hostelries in the advertising columns of The Derrick. His contract was about to expire and he determined not to renew it. So, Terrence informed the Jollier, but that gentleman, through a long familiarity with similar cases, knew how to handle this instance
"Ah—Mr. Gillhooly—this weather is indeed delightful. How is the Buck of Duckingham? as Richard the three times used to say. As chipper as ever? What'll you have? Let's brace up on a little of the real thing. Say-barkeep—a little Irish whisky.
Oh whisky, you are the devil,
"These fine ballads of dear old Ireland touch me to the quick (a little more of the same, please). Tom Moore knew how to put the words together. Ah—yes, indeed (a little more seltzer, please, and a couple of imported medium cigars). I want to tell you about a compliment I heard this morning about Gillhooly's hotel. In coming down to business on a Fifth Avenue stage coach, one aristocratic looking gentleman said to his equally swell friend ` I wonder what are the rates at Gillhooley's hotel?'
(The Jollier talks to Gillhooly a straight hour in which time he puts ten drinks into that individual and gets him to renew his six months' contract with a double space.)
Then the Jollier takes a cab over to Miss Gillmartin's-the little dressmaker. He always takes a cab when calling upon her, in order to " make an impression." He goes in ecstacies over one of her latest " creations," and comes away with a bunch of copy and a three months' contract.
After which the Jollier takes out Mr. Johnson-who is somewhat of an advertiser himself—to luncheon. Two hours later Mr. Johnson is delivered in a happy condition in his office, and the Jollier, before bidding him good-bye, pockets a half page ad with a promise of several more to follow.
Then the Jollier saunters forth for further victims. He fills up one with whisky and milk. To another he talks learn edly upon the influence of a college course in shaping a young man's business success. (This advertiser has a boy at college.) Then he calls upon Mr. Smith and takes him up to Shanley's in a cab. After an excellent dinner a small select party under the tutelage of the Jollier goes over to Weber & Fields and when morning again brings with it breakfast and Anastasia O'Brien, the latter lady does her best to make right the breakfast of the nicest man in town.