1. The objectives of advertising
There is a common mistake among all advertisers. They always think about the things they want the prospects to know, whereas they should think about the things that the prospects want to hear, read and know about the products. In most cases, something that advertisers want the prospects to know is completely different from what the prospects want to know. Therefore, when the prospects can not find the things that attracts their attentions, they simply ignore the ad.
This introspective tendency, from which the error issues, is commonly known as the “manufacturer’s viewpoint.” It underlies all such outlandish advertisements as feature the factory or “puff” the proprietor. It is traceable in most advertisements containing an element of no interest to the prospect. One should not confound this “purring” copy with institutional advertising, designed to sell the customer a new and favourable impression of the advertiser and often overcoming a prejudice or removing grounds for antagonism. Sometimes it creates a reputation. Sometimes it explains a policy, seeking to establish a friendly reception.
Advertising is designed to sell goods at a profit. It is justified in our economic system as the most inexpensive means of informing the millions of consumers as to what the selling world has to offer. It has been demonstrated to be cheaper and far more effective than any other means of enabling the millions of consumers to investigate what the advertisers have to sell. It follows that advertising is wasteful if it fails to convey some desired information to the consumer. The accepted procedure is to forecast sales, to budget distribution, and to harmonize production therewith. In business discussions the procedure is expressed in terms of market research and the study of consumers’ wants.
The objective in advertising is to tell the consumer what he desires to know about his wants and how the advertiser can satisfy them. Such an under taking must be commensurate, of course, with a prudent expenditure of the company’s funds. The mutual relation of advertising and selling is pungently summed up in the following statements:
- Selling starts the product toward the consumer.
- Advertising starts the consumer toward the product.
- They meet at the point of sale.
2. Continuity in advertising
The advisability of continuity in advertising is debatable. Advertisers who solicit orders directly by coupon advertisements can demonstrate that continuity is accompanied by diminishing returns. They find it necessary to discontinue media for a time. On the other hand, a department store that breaks continuity may suffer an immediate loss of sales, and a renewal of the campaign may not meet with a fresh response. It has been demonstrated in the case of national advertisers that breaking continuity is sometimes irreparable. Breaks in continuity seem to use up advertising appropriations just as unduly as the stopping and starting of a locomotive uses up steam. A natural deduction is that those who find continuity wasteful should avoid it, whereas those who find continuity economical should cling to it. A study of the actual returns is needed for each type of business.
To the community at large, advertising is so much a part of everyday life that to discontinue it would be dangerous. Some businesses, such as the department stores, are absolutely dependent upon advertising. Others, like United States Steel, seem never to have needed to advertise. But the vast majority of business organizations can profit by advertising, and can profit to an extent commensurate with the quality of their advertising. Advertising quality varies in close accord with the care taken in plan- fling it.
In the business world, there is no more pathetic show of ignorance than the statement, “W tried advertising, but it did not pay.” Here is ipso facto evidence of inadequate planning. If advertising could not have paid, planning would have disclosed the fact, and would have prevented a wasteful expenditure.
3. Planning the advertising campaign
An advertising campaign may be defined as a series of connected advertising operations. It is most important that the steps of a campaign be taken up in propel’ sequence. Logically, the first step is to determine whether it will be economical to advertise, that is, whether it is cheaper to inform prospects by paid public messages than by private messages. The rather complicated processes of investigation, known generally as advertising research, uncover new information, pertinent not only to the question of advertising, hut also to the questions of selling, marketing, distribution, and even of production. Thus, in practice, advertising research encroaches on market analysis.
Advertising channels must be considered in relation to distribution channels. Customers are of four general classes: ultimate consumers, retailers, wholesalers, and producers. They can be reached through direct advertising, as by mail, or through indirect advertising, as by periodicals, publications, radio, signs, etc. In indirect advertising, all four classes of customers may be reached, to a certain extent, by advertisements addressed to any one group.
The attempt to differentiate advertising according to the type of customer to whom its message is directed gives rise to a number of classifications. Those that are most frequently cited by advertising men are the following:
- National advertising
This designates any advertising that is not limited to a particular geographic section.
- Mail-order advertising
This type attempts the entire selling job, bidding for orders by mail. It may be either local or national in scope.
- Industrial advertising
This is advertising of one producer to another, as of a porcelain manufacturer to a maker of electrical machinery.
- Technical advertising
This is similar to the industrial type, but is directed to technical men as individuals.
- Trade advertising
This advertising is directed to wholesalers, jobbers, retailers, or other agents of distribution.
- Dealer advertising
This is advertising by the manufacturer to the consumer on behalf of the distributors, such as advertising of gasoline by an oil company to facilitate sales for gasoline stations.
- Retail advertising
This is advertising by retailers, or dealers, to consumers.
- Direct by mail advertising
This is any advertising distributed by mail addressed to a specific firm or individual.
4. The choice of advertising media
The consideration of advertising channels, and of their relation to distribution channels, leads us to the matter of advertising media. The principal media are:
- Periodical publications of general circulation
– Trade and industrial journals and other publications
– Posters, boardings, wall-paintings, etc.
– Electric signs: flashers
– Car cards
– Point-of-sale: store, window, or counter cards
- Radio broadcasting
- Stunts: skywriting, skycasting, movie slides, etc.
- Direct: by mail, by product package, house-to-house, hand-to-hand, etc.
– Letters, folders, booklets, etc.
– House organs
– Novelties, etc.
With the many channels of distribution available and a large assortment of media, it is evident that there is no lack of means of reaching customers through advertising. The variety of terms used to designate these various classes of advertising is further increased by terms arising from copy styles, such as, “reason-why advertising,” “luxury advertising,” etc. It is apparent that the possibilities of terminology in advertising are extensive, but, by recognizing the sources of such terms as channels, media, and copy styles, the reader will avoid any confusion as to their meanings.
Of the many factors entering into the selection of a specific medium, the most important are geographic distribution, volume of circulation, cost, buying power of readers, and reader interest. A final consideration in planning the advertising campaign is that of the advertising appropriation, and its apportionment to different classes of media and to the items of expenditure for copy such as art work, lay out, text, mechanical production, etc.
The foregoing sequence of planning does not imply that every detail of research must be worked out before any detail of copy is considered. Many processes of the campaign plan progress concurrently. In memorizing a poem, it is not efficient to memorize each successive line before the next is read. One should read the whole poem, over and over, but al ways in the same logical sequence. So, in planning a campaign, the logical sequence is from consumer to producer, not from producer to consumer. In practice, the appropriation may be the first thing determined, but only because there is some past experience, based on the results of preliminary steps, for predicting closely what appropriation the campaign will warrant.
5. Immediate and ultimate objectives in advertising
If the fundamental objective of all advertising campaigns is the same, namely, to inform the consumer of his needs and how the advertiser can satisfy them, what causes individual campaigns to differ one from the other? The answer lies in the existence of minor advertising objectives, or “purposes,” based on the psychological factors set tip by human motives. Such motives are scrambled; fundamentally, one eats to sustain life; but that is not the real reason for eating bonbons.
At a directors’ meeting, consequently, there may be absolutely no reference to the ultimate objective of a proposed advertising campaign. The immediate or special purposes will probably magnetize all attention. If the fundamentals are understood and assumed, well and good. If not, the campaign may be warped by sonic manifestation of “manufacturer’s viewpoint.”
Thus, this almost philosophical distinction between ultimate and immediate advertising objectives, so hard to delineate sharply, has a tremendously practical significance. To be unaware of it is to be without perspective, and to risk making fundamental errors. While we shall be concerned, in our further discussion, almost exclusively with immediate advertising objectives, the reader should not lose sight of the fundamental purpose of satisfying the customer’s needs.
6. Purposes served by advertising campaigns
Most people are familiar with the introduction of the automatic refrigerator, gas and electric, for household use. This is a good example of a campaign intended to influence public opinion in favor of a new product for everyday and general use. Once the idea of automatic refrigeration was sold to the public, the sponsors and manufacturers of automatic refrigerators devoted their advertising to selling particular kinds or makes.
A national distributor of meat products conceived the idea of packing entire cooked chickens and hams, all ready to serve, in sealed tin containers, and selling the idea to the housewife through advertising. This advertiser’s campaign was directed to educating the public in new buying habits. Its success is a tribute to the power of advertising, rightly used.
The Life Extension Institute, an organization sponsored by many of the country’s leading men, advertises extensively and successfully to sell the idea of prolonging one’s span of life by means of periodical physical examinations. They have nothing but an idea to sell, but it is a big one, and the services of the Institute are sold to the public exclusively through the printed word.
Everyone is familiar with the use of advertising by the national government to attract enlistments in the army and navy. During the World War, advertising was largely relied upon to stimulate our patriotism and to sell us securities. Churches, colleges. hospitals, charitable institutions, all call upon advertising to spread knowledge of their activities and their needs.
The use of oil for domestic fuel, as a substitute for coal, has been increasing steadily during the past decade. Before public acceptance could be counted upon, advertising had to be generously used. To day, the publications reaching those sections where the question of fuel is of importance are widely used to sell the fuel oil idea to the householder. The makers of the many types of oil burners each present the virtues of their product through advertising. Advertising has helped to put oil on a basis of equality with coal, and, as a result, the mine owners and distributors of coal have also called upon advertising to retain their market and to offset the inroads of the newer form of fuel. In the one case, we have had advertising to influence new and wider uses of a common, everyday thing; in the other case, advertising has been called upon to defend and retain a position that once was impregnable.
While the purpose of advertising is usually plain, it sometimes happens that advertising campaigns will have a different objective than the one they apparently seek. A campaign ostensibly directed to consumers may be solely to influence dealers. The manufacturers put their trade-marks and products before the public and create a demand for their wares. The dealer, believing that the consumer will be sold on the merits of the articles and will ask for them by name at his store, orders the goods so that he may be ready for the demands of his customers.
Some campaigns are intended to influence the employees of the advertiser. Salesmen sell with greater enthusiasm and have a greater pride in the concern that they represent, when they are backed up by advertising.
7. Advertising to correct abuses
In special cases, advertising has been used to sell goods at a definite loss to the advertiser. In this case, although the merchandise featured was sold at a loss, the advertiser sought to establish some compensating benefit in the customer’s mind. He wished; first, to discredit an abusive practice—the selling of merchandise below cost. And he wished to convince his customers that his store was as honest in its dealings as it was frank in this statement of costs and policies.
8. Influencing public sentiment
Public service corporations are liberal users of newspaper space to increase the patronage of their products or services. Coming under this head are electric light and gas companies, who advertise extensively to keep the people of the communities that they serve informed of their activities and to suggest wider use of their products. Such advertising also serves as a creator of greater goodwill toward the corporations.
Traction companies use educational posters in their cars and on the stations of their lines. Sometimes the text of these signs is propaganda to offset dissatisfaction with the service or to build a backfire against hostile politicians. The Interborough Rapid Transit Corporation of New York has been using such a poster in its cars for years, called the Subway Sum. It has been devoted, during the past few years, to selling the public the advantages of riding on the elevated lines owned by that company. The congestion in the subway is notorious; the elevated lines are not congested; hence the propaganda.
Everyone is familiar with the use of newspaper space and billboards during political campaigns to present the claims and virtues of candidates for office. With the development of the radio and its almost universal use, political campaigns are enlivened by frequent addresses by men running for office. By means of the radio, the political speaker reaches literally millions of people at one time, with the added advantage that it is practically a personal- contact message. The radio, likewise, has become an instrument of great influence in spreading govern mental propaganda. During the Naval Disarmament Conference, there were frequent broadcasts from London to the world at large, with the idea of telling the people the progress and prospects of the conference.
9. Campaigns to influence customs and habits
Beginning a number of years ago, the manufacturers of cigarettes instituted a series of intense, aggressive advertising campaigns. The use of cigarettes increased enormously. For a long time, the cigar manufacturers apparently were content to sit back and do nothing, but it finally dawned on them that the cigarette was cutting very seriously into the cigar business. Advertising was the logical answer to the question of what to do to hold the existing smokers of cigars, and to educate and influence new smokers to the advantage of the cigar. Another interesting aspect of the prolonged cigarette advertising campaigns was the effect of this advertising on the candy business. One of the largest cigarette companies advertised its cigarette as the thing to reach far, instead of a sweet, if one wanted to reduce one’s waistline. This advertising led to many complications, and the candy makers, in turn, launched advertising campaigns to refute the implied claims of the cigarette advertising. Subsequently, the National Confectioners’ Association reported that for the calendar year, 2011, the consumption of candy per person was a pound higher than during 2010.
10. Campaigns for direct orders
A large part of advertising is intended to produce direct orders or immediate sales. Most of this advertising will be found in the local newspapers, where the appeal to buy appears over the name and address of the advertiser, as in retail advertising. In the city dailies, space is used for the direct appeal by department stores, retail stores, chain stores, and various types of specialty shops. In some newspapers will be found many advertisements of manufacturers who do not sell direct to the consumer, but who are so well represented by local distributors that they advertise to stimulate sale in the locality covered by the newspaper. Many advertisers who have no retail outlets in certain sections sell there direct by mail. Their advertisements frequently close with a statement like:
“If your dealer cannot supply you with (so and so), send us (price), and we will mail it direct to you.”
Perhaps the best examples of national mail-order advertising will be found in the announcements of the large mail-order companies, from whom one may buy anything from a packet of pins to a house. A large part of mail-order advertising is in the book field, in which single volumes and complete sets are sold direct b mail. In this particular field are the various book-of-the-month clubs, through which subscribers receive each month the best book of that month as judged by a jury of prominent literary authorities.
Many campaigns are aimed ostensibly at the consumer, when, in reality, the dealer as well as the consumer is the advertiser’s objective. The advertising of Socony gasoline is a good example of this. The Socony line and trade-mark are advertised so generally, in some parts of the country, that the majority of garages and service stations have been compelled to stock Socony to meet the demands of their customers.
For many years one of New York’s largest department stores refused to handle trade-marked articles, preferring to place its own labels on products in many departments. Continued demand for nationally advertised, trade-marked products forced them to let down the bars, until today the trade marked articles far outnumber the private brands of the store.
11. Campaigns to divert or anticipate demand
It frequently happens that the sales of some article, once in vogue, languish because of vigorous competition or of a change in popular fancy. For instance, it was generally thought that the perfection of the automobile and its quantity manufacture, at reasonable prices, sounded the death knell of the bicycle. For a long time, bicycle manufacturers found very little demand for their product. An intensive advertising campaign revived interest in bicycling. While the results of this campaign are not so apparent in the large cities, bicycle sales throughout the country have experienced a new life.
Main-manufacturers are becoming increasingly alive to the desirability of cultivating markets in the making. They realize that the boys and girls of today are the men and women of a few years from now; that they will be the heads of families, and will do the buying of the thousand and one things that enter into life. They are, therefore, now cultivating the market to which they will appeal several years from now, by making these younger people acquainted with the names and trade-marks of their products.
12. Meeting competitors’ campaigns
The astute advertiser always knows what his competitors are doing in advertising, but recognizes the danger of imitating them. An advertiser who imitates his competitor’s advertising is trifling with a boomerang. He helps the competitor more often than himself. People are quick to perceive imitation in advertising, whether it be in the illustration, the text, or both.
Many eases are on record where, with two competing products of almost parallel merit, one competitor got the jump on the other by unearthing a new talking point or a new use for the product. Of course, after his advertisement had appeared, it would have been sheer folly for his competitor to make a similar claim. In advertising, as in football, the strong attack is likely to be one of the best defenses It is a mistake to conclude that, because the competitor covers certain points in his advertisements, these are the most profitable ones to use. Finding new uses or new talking points for one’s own product is the most effective way to meet any competitor.
13. Campaigns to pave the way for salesmen
A certain line of silk hosiery is sold exclusively by house-to-house canvass. The manufacturers promote a national advertising campaign, in which they out line the merits of the hosiery, and stress its features of style, comfort, durability, and economy. The reader is told how the hosiery is sold and asked to be on the lookout for a salesman. This is an excel lent introduction, paving the way for the salesman’s call. The manufacturers of vacuum cleaners, like wise, recognize the value in their advertising of preparing the way for the salesman.
The Fuller Brush Company goes even farther. They illustrate the salesman’s call, in their advertisements, show a reproduction of the salesman’s identification badge, and go to great lengths to make the housewife understand how helpful a Fuller sales man can be in advising her about the selection of brushes. Furthermore, showing the coherence of the whole campaign. the salesman will often call and introduce himself the day before he intends to bring his wares. Thus the housewife has not only an introduction through advertising, hut she has met the salesman before he brings a single brush to her door. There is all the difference in the world between a salesman making a “cold” call, and one armed with a letter of introduction.
14. Campaigns to promote new uses for a product
The more uses a manufacturer can discover for his product, the wider his market. Perhaps the most brilliant example of this truth that has appeared within recent years is that of yeast. For years, its consumption was limited to bakers and to housewives who baked bread. Then came the discovery that yeast possessed distinct qualities of a medicinal value. The market was immediately enlarged from the restricted field of bakers and bread makers to the millions of individuals who could be appealed to from the angle of better health. Physicians’ endorsements lent authority to the claims made by the manufacturers. New channels for retail sales were opened. Yeast cakes, which once were on sale only in grocery and delicatessen stores, are now sold at drug stores, soda fountains, lunchrooms, etc. The manufacturers overcame the objection to the unpalatability of yeast by advertising, showing how it could be taken pleasantly in beverages. A new habit was created by this campaign and sales were multiplied. Thou sands of packages of other food products are sold to day, because the manufacturers advertise new uses for them, by giving recipes and showing tempting illustrations of dishes in their advertisements.
Three-in-One Oil came upon the market at about the zenith of the bicycle craze. It was introduced primarily as a bicycle-lubricating oil and as a preventive of rust. With the threatened passing of the bicycle, the manufacturers sought new fields for their product. The housewife was told to use Three- in-One Oil on her sewing machine, and on her dust mop and vacuum cleaner. It was advertised as a window and furniture polish. The sportsman was told to use it on his guns and fishing tackle. New uses were discovered from time to time, until today every bottle that is sold is wrapped in a little paper that specifies seventy-nine uses for Three-in-One.
Listerine, an antiseptic, originally offered as a gargle and mouth wash, for years was advertised to a restricted market. Then came a campaign commend- big Listerine for unpleasant breath. New vitality was given the campaign when a clever advertising man discovered a single medical word for unpleasant breath, halitosis. Up to that time few knew this word. If you would test the power of this campaign, try to find someone who does not know it now.
Were Listerine advertised today as in former years, its sale would be limited to those suffering from throat infections. Today, it is used not only as a gargle to cure an occasional sore throat, but as a matter of daily habit to prevent sore throat, as an antiseptic and healing agent for cuts and scratches, as a breath purifier, as a deodorant for perspiration, and as a treatment for dandruff.
it is probably well to introduce gradually the new uses of a product. If too much is claimed at first, people will rightfully be skeptical. They will class the product with the old medicine man’s panaceas, good for all the ailments of man and beast, and will hesitate to buy it.
15. Hidden purposes
Advertising campaigns often veil a purpose other than appears on the surface of the advertising. For example, a manufacturing business was for sale—factory, stock, and goodwill A prospective buyer’s offer was $700,000 short of the asking price. The owners of the factory launched a big advertising campaign for their products merely to influence the prospective purchaser by showing him how progressive the business was.
The plan was successful and the sale was consummated.
A campaign advertising a single product is frequently put on to open the market for other products manufactured by the same advertiser. For example, one company advertises embroidery patterns to sell silks. Some time ago, a large electric light and power company, in the East, ran full-page advertisements offering an electric iron much below the regular re tail price. If the company lost any money on the irons that they sold, they more than made up the deficit by the increased use of power on the part of the consumers who bought the irons. A large baking company offered electric toasters at cost. Their business was not selling toasters, but selling bread. They knew that more bread would be sold to every home that was equipped with a toaster.
The Eastman Kodak Company knows that every Kodak sold means a potential buyer for an indefinite amount of film. Makers of flashlights, safety razors, and dozens of other advertisers make their big profits, not on the sales of the containers, but on the refills.
A well-conceived advertising campaign is a valuable asset. A manufacturer seeking accommodation from his banker is, of course, asked to submit a financial report of his business. If he can show money being wisely expended for advertising, it often in creases his prestige with the banker, The banker looks upon the advertising campaign as an auxiliary sales force. He feels that he is dealing with a progressive concern. It is not uncommon for hankers to make concessions, and to extend the borrowing capacity of a customer, when they know that the money borrowed is to be competently invested in an advertising campaign.