( Originally Published 1902 )
This caption is all right at. the first glance—yet not all right at the second look Advertising action is intended to mean action in advertising, not advertising action vs. advertising some form of activity such as bicycles, automobiles, surreys, etc.
But if the caption is not altogether all right, the preceding paragraph is, as it illustrates what this article wishes to emphasize:
Action in every form of advertising.
You will notice a thread running through the first paragraph from " this" to " etc." So should it be in every advertisement. Some advertisements are lifeless. They are as animated as a kid glove on a wooden hand. As a rule they fail to arouse attention. Even should they secure attention they fail to hold it, as they lack the logic, grace, wit, philosophy, style or character contained by the advertisement that arrests and holds attention.
Various great authorities—and they seem to be a unit on this point—say that an advertisement should say something about the goods and say something about the price.
True. But did you ever know a successful drummer who simply said to his prospective purchaser "Here are spring business suits at $7.50 apiece"—that and nothing more?
Not on your life! The successful drummer selling suits, or any old thing, knows a joke or two, an argument or two, a restaurant or two, a theatre or two, and a whole lot of other things that put the p. p. in a pleasant buying mood. It's a poor drummer that does not know how to weaken the barrier of reserve that every business man throws about himself at times, especially when the genial knights of the grip come around.
Back of all the cold business rules ever conceived is the great wall of human feeling. The advertiser must take this in consideration with every advertisement he writes. Action, go, spirit, dash, life—call it whatever name you will—must be in the advertisement penned to catch dollars. It is the quality to which human nature always responds. What made the most successful novels? Action! If you do not think so, read Dumas, Scott, Dickens, Kipling and other great masters.
What makes the most successful newspaper " stories?" Action! Which form of poetry to-day seems to be most popular? Ballads! And what do you find in ballads? Action—plenty of it!
What quality is most demanded of young men today in business? Action! If a young man has no go he soon goes.
Advertising is a reflex of the business world—the business world is full of action—it is a warfare for dollars and cents, and advertising, to accurately mirror business, should have plenty of action about it.
Action harmonizes with quick reasoning. A paragraph full of logic is full of action; for the strength of the logic is a cable that grips the mind at the first word to carry it along to the final.
Good illustrated advertising illustrates action. Look at the illustrations in the advertising of Pears' Soap, Ivory Soap, Sapolio, Ayer's or Hood's Sarsaparilla, etc., and you will notice go in every picture.
It is hard to swing action in an advertisement unless the writer is familiar with, and enthused over, his subject. It means work—plenty work!
Yet the reader demands action, and the advertiser should supply it.