( Originally Published 1902 )
A large world can be covered--the great outdoor world by three sheet, six sheet, nine sheet, and other size posters, as well as "snipe" sheets, lithograph and ordinary printed sheets, tin signs, wooden signs, and signs of every size and sort.
To the general advertiser outdoor advertising is particularly worthy of consideration. It will prove a great aid to magazine and newspaper advertising.
To the retail advertiser outdoor advertising plays a distinctively second part to newspaper advertising. Newspaper advertising gets right next to the heart of the retailer, for it gets right next his business by giving prompt and traceable returns. Not so with outdoor advertising.
Circumstances have much to do with cases. The retailer so located in a section of his town or city that he does not receive the full benefit of local newspaper advertising should deeply ponder over the advisability of doing some outdoor advertising in his vicinity.
When the retailer (or any other advertiser for that matter) starts to buy some outdoor advertising space, he will find that what he is asked to pay is by no means what he is obliged to pay. Prices fluctuate. I remember how I once secured a year's rental on the side of a house for a five dollar bill when I was asked fifty dollars. There are no fixed charges for such spaces. If the advertiser is a good business man he will get the space at a reasonable figure, if he is not, he stands an excellant chance of paying an exorbitant price.
In large cities these spaces are controlled by agencies, consequently there are fixed charges, but in small towns and rural districts the question of price frequently resolves itself as to whether the advertiser or owner of the property first yields.
Having settled upon the question of price, the next point is to get a painter or billposter with suitable paper, and here the eternal question of price again shows its head.
If the advertiser is a merchant in a small town, he will find that the best plan is to get some ready made posters from one of the large poster concerns in New York, Chicago, Boston, Cincinnati or Cleveland. At a small cost his name will be printed on a lot of twenty-five, fifty, a hundred or five hundred, and presently the good citizens of his town will learn that "John Smith is Showing New Styles in Hats."
If the advertiser is a merchant in a large city he will find that it pays to have a special poster design drawn to his order. After which a lithograph and printing establishment will print him as many as he wants, and the local billposting firm will post his spaces—all at a reasonable rate, too.
The general advertiser goes at the matter in a wholesale way. He usually has, a design drawn by a well-known artist—has several thousand or several hundred thousand struck off, then he makes arrangements with a national billposter to cover certain sections of the country. This is usually done in con-junction with newspaper and magazine advertising to popularize his goods and assist dealers in making sales.
Paper signs are supposed to last a week, or two weeks, or perhaps a month—according to the demands on the spaces they occupy. This is an important feature of the contract, and the advertiser usually investigates this point himself.
Painted signs, as a rule, have no such contract, for the original painted sign is supposed to last for years.
It is a pretty well accepted proposition among advertisers today that all outdoor advertising is but an aid to advertising with printer's ink. That it is a good aid is self evident.