Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1770-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA
Newspaper Page Text
spSSW EVENING LEDGER PHILADELPHIA, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 191.' a j i The Future of Advertising The Nineteenth, and Last, in a Series of Talks on Advertising It would be interesting and easy,but entirely futile, to make sweeping predictions about the future of advertising. Men hardly have the temerity to speculate upon the future of the law of gravity, or of the fourth dimension. The law upon which advertising rests is, no less than these, immutable, and its effect, for good or bad, is largely dependent upon the degree to which men understand it and the uses to which they turn their knowledge of it. 1 THE future of advertising is in separably interwoven with the whole future of commerce and industry. Any prophecy would have to take into account the probable development of our whole national life. But there are many tendencies, already observable, which seem to indicate impor tant progress, and which are likely to in fluence profoundly the business of the next few decades. ,. First and foremost, the ethical standard, which has been raised so notably during the past few years, is bound to go higher and higher. Probably no business or pro fession ever did so much in so short a time to wipe out the stigma of the inexpertness and charlatanism which characterized its early history. Today the honest and the expert are dominant. Tomorrow they ill be predominant. And it is a fairly sure prediction that in the not distant future advertising will offer far less foot hold to the incompetent and the faker than even lav or medicine or other far more strictly regulated professions. It must be so. For the advertising world is strongly interdependent. In some de gree the success of every advertising me dium affects the success of every other, because the success of all is founded upon the implicit confidence of the public. The more the people of any small community can trust the advertising in their local newspaper, for example, the more will they trust advertising in the national publica tions which they read. And vice versa. The outlook is very hopeful. Most easily observable are the efforts of the greatest national publications. These publications are selling advertising space for what it is worth, or less, at an established rate per line, which is never cut, never deviated from, based absolutely on a certain rate per thousand of circulation. They are ex cluding the untrustworthy, helping the trustworthy, investigating scientifically the merchandising conditions in many lines of industry, conscientiously declining to accept advertising which does not seem likely to succeed, and striving in every way to multiply the success of that which they do accept. Quite as significant, though less obvious, is the activity with which the hordes of petty advertising schemes are being lopped off. Business men in many cities, through their boards of trade, are in organized revolt against fake directories, worthless special editions, "programs" issued by misguided social organizations, and the "advertising" whose only purpose is to sugar-coat the pill of blackmail or to dis gorge a contribution for some doubtful "charity." Experience with some of these misuses has soured a great many sensible men on advertising in toto. Between the two extremes of big adver tising and little advertising lies a wide range through all of which is clearly evi dent a wholesome spirit of unrest. Newspapers are rebelling against the free reading-notice, bill-posting associa tions are pointing to a higher standard of art, printers are studying to make booklets and circular matter more effective, advei tising men are forming vigilance associa tions to prosecute frauds, legislatures are passing restrictive laws. All of these move ments mean progress, and rapid progress, toward the end that advertising shall be employed only -when it ought to be em ployed, and only in the strongest and most effective manner. This will mean the saving of millions of dollars now spent for so-called "adver tising." But there seems no likelihood that the aggregate of advertising expenditures will ever be less. It will be much more. For a proper increase of advertising through legitimate channels will be the result of the reduction of this waste in improper directions. In local newspaper advertis ing, in honest trade-paper publicity, and in correct national advertising, with their attendant follow-up, we may expect to see the totals mount and mount as present advertisers gain more strength and as new advertisers enter the field. The new advertisers, unquestionably, will represent many important commod ities which are not today extensively ad vertised. There are great groups of staples and necessities the distribution of which is in the hands of conservative, old-line firms who have not yet discerned that advertis ing is their most economical means of creating and holding demand from the consumer. This is particularly true of the enormous classification of textiles. Some commodities are, as a whole, await ing the development of speedier and cheapen transportation, or the working out of other economical methods of national distribu tion, before they can be heavily advertised in national periodicals. Perishable prod ucts, like certain fruits, dairy products and vegetables, obviously cannot be shipped longdistances. National advertising would create a demand covering a wider territory than could be reached, and too much of the advertising would therefore go to waste. . Heavy articles, like stoves, refrig erators, large pieces of furniture, brick, lumber, and other goods which carry high freight charges, still have a somewhat limited circle of economical distribution. A few manufacturers have already solved these problems, by such methods as estab lishing branch distributing points; more can solve them if they will seek expert advice, and eventually many of these articles will be strong advertising possi bilities. There are many products which will be more widely advertised when the con sumer has been a little better educated. Building materials, for example, are still a good deal of a mystery to the layman. Already varnish, roofing, cement, hard ware, wall-boards, some kinds of lumber, are being made known by name to the consumer. As the owners of houses and business buildings become better informed about the importance of knowing the re spective merits of the things that enter into construction, the manufacturers will respond. In this field, however, as in many others, the manufacturers themselves can successfully take the initiative in the education of the buying public. But significant above alt is the evidence that advertising in the future may be ot great general benefit in making the life of the nation more rational For advertising is the great leveler. Faults, crookedness, inefficiency it exposes. Merits, honesty, efficiency it brings to light It rules by the survival of the fittest THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY, INDEPENDENCE SQUARE, PHILADELPHIA ipj 1 M.