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Title: The Clock that Had no Hands - And Nineteen Other Essays About Advertising
Author: Kaufman, Herbert, 1878-1947
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  [ Transcriber's Note:
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    listed at the end of this file.

                           The Clock that Had
                                no Hands

                       And Nineteen Other Essays
                           About Advertising

                            Herbert Kaufman

                                New York
                        George H. Doran Company

                            COPYRIGHT, 1908
                         BY THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

                            COPYRIGHT, 1912
                        GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY




  The Clock that Had no Hands                         1

  The Cannon that Modernized Japan                    7

  The Tailor who Paid too Much                       13

  The Man who Retreats before His Defeat             19

  The Dollar that Can't be Spent                     25

  The Pass of Thermopylae                            31

  The Perambulating Showcase                         37

  How Alexander Untied the Knot                      43

  If It Fits You, Wear this Cap                      49

  You Must Irrigate Your Neighborhood                55

  Cato's Follow-up System                            61

  How to Write Retail Advertising Copy               67

  The Difference between Amusing and Convincing      75

  Some Don'ts when You Do Advertise                  79

  The Doctor whose Patients Hang On                  85

  The Horse that Drew the Load                       91

  The Cellar Hole and the Sewer Hole                 97

  The Neighborhood of Your Advertising              103

  The Mistake of the Big Steak                      109

  The Omelette Soufflé                              113

The Clock that Had no Hands

Newspaper advertising is to business, what hands are to a clock. It is a
direct and _certain_ means of letting the public know _what you are
doing_. In these days of intense and vigilant commercial contest, a
dealer who does not advertise is like _a clock that has no hands_. He
has no way of recording his movements. He can no more expect a twentieth
century success with nineteenth century methods, than he can wear the
same sized shoes as a _man_, which fitted him in his _boyhood_.

His father and mother were content with neighborhood shops and bobtail
cars; nothing better could be had in their day. They were accustomed to
_seek_ the merchant instead of being sought _by_ him. They dealt "around
the corner" in one-story shops which depended upon the _immediate
friends_ of the dealer for support. So long as the city was made up of
such neighborhood units, each with a full outfit of butchers, bakers,
clothiers, jewelers, furniture dealers and shoemakers, it was possible
for the proprietors of these little establishments to exist and make a

But as population increased, transit facilities spread, sections became
specialized, block after block was entirely devoted to stores, and mile
after mile became solely occupied by homes.

The purchaser and the storekeeper _grew farther and farther apart_. It
was _necessary_ for the merchant to find a _substitute_ for his direct
personality, which _no longer served_ to draw customers to his door. _He
had to have a bond between the commercial center and the home center._
Rapid transit eliminated distance but advertising was necessary to
inform people _where_ he was located and _what he had to sell_. It was a
natural outgrowth of changed conditions--the beginning of _a new era_ in
trade which no longer relied upon personal acquaintance for success.

Something more wonderful than the fabled philosopher's stone came into
being, and the beginnings of _fortunes which would pass the hundred
million mark and place tradesmen's daughters_ upon _Oriental thrones_
grew from this new force. Within fifty years it has become as vital to
industry as _steam_ to _commerce_.

Advertising is _not_ a _luxury_ nor a _debatable policy_. _It has proven
its case._ Its record is traced in the skylines of cities where a
hundred towering buildings stand as a lesson of reproach to the men who
had the _opportunity_ but _not_ the _foresight_, and furnish a constant
inspiration to the _young merchant_ at the _threshold_ of his career.

The Cannon that Modernized Japan

Business is no longer a man to man contact, in which the seller and the
buyer establish a _personal_ bond, any more than battle is a
hand-to-hand grapple wherein bone and muscle and sinew decide the
outcome. _Trade_ as well as _war_ has changed aspect--_both are now
fought at long range_.

Just as a present day army of heroes would have no opportunity to
display the _individual_ valor of its members, just so a merchant who
counts upon his direct acquaintanceship for success, is a relic of the
past--_a business dodo_.

Japan changed her policy of exclusion to foreigners, after a fleet of
warships battered down the Satsuma fortifications. The Samurai, who had
hitherto considered their blades and bows efficient, discovered that
one cannon was mightier than all the swords in creation--_if they could
not get near enough to use them_. Japan profited by the lesson. She did
not wait until _further_ ramparts were pounded to pieces but was
satisfied with her _one_ experience and proceeded to modernize her

The merchant who doesn't advertise is pretty much in the same position
as that in which Japan stood when her eyes were opened to the fact that
_times had changed_. The long range publicity of a competitor will as
surely destroy his business as the cannon of the foreigners crumbled the
walls of Satsuma. Unless you take the lesson to heart, unless you
_realize_ the importance of advertising, not only as a means of
_extending_ your business but for _defending_ it as well, you must be
prepared to face the consequences of a folly as great as that of a
duelist who expects to survive in a contest in which his _adversary_
bears a _sword twice the length of his own_.

Don't think that it's _too late_ to begin because there are so many
stores which have had the advantage of years of cumulative advertising.
The city is growing. It will grow even more next year. It needs
_increased trading facilities_ just as it's hungry for new

_But it will never again support neighborhood stores._ Newspaper
advertising has reduced the value of being _locally prominent_, and five
cent street car fares have cut out the advantage of being "_around the
corner_." A store five miles away, can reach out through the columns of
the daily newspaper and draw your next door neighbor to its aisles,
while you sit by and see the people on your own block enticed away,
without your being able to retaliate or secure _new_ customers to take
their place.

It is not a question of your ability to _stand the cost_ of advertising
but of being able to _survive without it_. The thing you have to
consider is not only an _extension_ of your business but of holding
_what you already have_.

Advertising is an _investment_, the cost of which is in the same
proportion to its _returns_ as _seeds_ are to the _harvest_. And it is
just as preposterous for you to consider publicity as an expense, as it
would be for a farmer to hesitate over purchasing a _fertilizer_, if he
discovered that he could _profitably increase_ his crops by _employing_

The Tailor who Paid too Much

I was buying a cigar last week when a man dropped into the shop and
after making a purchase told the proprietor that he had started a
clothes shop around the corner and quoted him prices, with the assurance
of best garments and terms.

After he left the cigar man turned to me and said:

"Enterprising fellow, that, he'll get along."

"But he _won't_," I replied, "and, furthermore, I'll wager you that he
hasn't the sort of clothes shop that will _enable_ him to."

"What made you think that?" queried the man behind the counter.

"His theories are wrong," I explained; "he's relying upon word of mouth
publicity to build up his business and he can't _interview enough
individuals_ to compete with a merchant, who has sense enough to say the
_same_ things he told you, to a _hundred thousand_ men, while he is
telling it to _one_. Besides, his method of advertising is _too
expensive_. Suppose he sees a _hundred_ persons every day. First of all,
he is robbing his business of its necessary direction and besides, he is
spending too much to reach every man he solicits."

"I don't quite follow you."

"Well, as the proprietor of a clothes shop his own time is so valuable
that I am very conservative in my estimate when I put the cost of his
soliciting at five cents a head.

"Now, if he were _really_ able and clever he would discover that he can
talk to hundreds of thousands of people at a tenth of a cent per
individual. There is not a newspaper in town the advertising rate of
which is $1.00 per thousand circulation, for a space big enough in which
to _display what he said to you_."

"I never looked at it _that_ way," said the cigar man.

It's only "_the man who hasn't looked at it that way_," who hesitates
for an instant over the advisability and profitableness of newspaper

Newspaper advertising is the cheapest channel of communication ever
established by man. A thousand letters with one-cent stamps, will easily
cost fifteen dollars and not one envelope in ten will be opened because
_the very postage_ is an invitation to the wastebasket.

If there were anything _cheaper_ rest assured that the greatest
merchants in America would not spend individual sums ranging up to _half
a million dollars a year and over_, upon this form of attracting

The Man who Retreats before His Defeat

Advertising _isn't_ magic. There is no element of the black art about
it. In its best and highest form it is _plain_ talk, _sane_
talk--_selling_ talk. Its results are in proportion to the _merit_ of
the subject advertised and the _ability_ with which the advertising is

There are two great obstacles to advertising profit, and both of them
arise from ignorance of the _real_ functions and workings of publicity.

The first is to advertise _promises_ which will not be
_fulfilled_,--because all that advertising can do when it _accomplishes
most_, is to influence the reader to _investigate_ your claims.

_If you promise the earth and deliver the moon, advertising will not pay

If you bring men and women to your store on _pretense_ and fail to _make
good_, advertising will have _harmed_ you, because it has only drawn
attention to the fact that you are to be _avoided_.

It is as _unjust_ to charge advertising with _failure_ under these
conditions, as it would be for your _neighbor_ to rob a bank and make
you responsible for _his_ misdeed. In brief, _advertised_ dishonesty is
_even more profitless_ than _unexploited_ deception.

The other great error in advertising is to expect more _out_ of
advertising than there is _in_ it.

_Advertising is seed which a merchant plants in the confidence of the
community._ He must allow time for it to _grow_. Every successful
advertiser has to be _patient_. The time that it takes to arrive at
results rests entirely with the ability and determination devoted to the
work. But you cannot turn back when you have traveled half way and
declare that the _path_ is wrong.

You can't advertise for a _week_, and because your store isn't crowded,
say it hasn't _paid_ you. It takes a certain period to attract the
attention of readers. Everybody doesn't see what you print the _first_
time it appears. More will notice your copy the _second day_, _a great
many more_ at the end of a month.

You cannot expect to win the confidence of the community to the same
degree that other men have obtained it, without taking pretty much the
same length of time that _they_ did. But you _can_ cut short the period
between your introduction to your reader and his introduction to your
_counters_, by spending _more_ effort in preparing your _copy_ and
displaying a greater amount of convincingness.

You mustn't act like the little girl who sowed a garden and came out the
_next day_ expecting to find it in _full bloom_. Her father had to
explain to her that plants require _roots_ and that, although she could
not _see_ what was going on, _the seeds were doing their most important
work just before the flowers showed above ground_.

So _advertising is_ doing its most _important_ work before the big
results eventuate, and to abandon the money which has been invested just
before results arrive, is not only foolish but childish. _It would be
just as logical for a farmer to desert his fields because he cannot
harvest his corn a week after he planted it._

Advertising does not require _faith_--merely _common sense_. If it is
begun in doubt and relinquished before normal results can be
_reasonably_ looked for, the fault does not lie with the newspaper nor
with publicity--the blame is solely on the head of the coward who
_retreated before he was defeated_.

The Dollar that Can't be Spent

Every dollar spent in advertising is not only a _seed_ dollar which
_produces a profit_ for the merchant, but is actually _retained_ by him
even _after he has paid it to the publisher_.

Advertising creates _a good will_ equal to the cost of the publicity.

Advertising _really costs nothing_. While it _uses_ funds it does not
_use them up_. It helps the founder of a business to grow rich and then
_keeps_ his business alive after his death.

_It eliminates the personal equation._ It perpetuates confidence _in the
store_ and makes it possible for a merchant _to withdraw_ from
_business_ without having the _profits_ of the business _withdrawn_ from
_him_. It changes a _name_ to an _institution_--an institution which
will _survive_ its builder.

It is really an _insurance policy_ which costs nothing--_pays_ a premium
each year instead of _calling for_ one and renders it possible to change
the entire personnel of a business without disturbing its prosperity.

Advertising renders the _business_ stronger than the _man_--independent
of his presence. It permanentizes systems of merchandising, the track of
which is left for others to follow.

A business which is _not_ advertised _must_ rely upon the _personality_
of its proprietor, and personality in business is a decreasing factor.
The public _does not want to know the man_ who owns the store--it isn't
interested in _him_ but in his goods. When an unadvertised business is
sold it is only worth as much as its _stock of goods and its fixtures_.
There is no good will to be paid for--_it does not exist_--it has _not_
been _created_. The name over the door _means nothing_ except to the
limited stream of people from the immediate neighborhood, any of whom
could tell you _more_ about some store ten miles away which has
regularly delivered its shop news to their breakfast table.

It is as _shortsighted_ for a man to build a business which _dies with
his death_ or ceases with his inaction, as it _is unfair_ for him not to
provide for the _continuance of its income to his family_.

The Pass of Thermopylae

Xerxes once led a million soldiers out of Persia in an effort to capture
Greece, but his invasion failed utterly, because a Spartan captain had
entrenched a hundred men in a narrow mountain pass, which controlled the
road into Lacedaemon. _The man who was first on the ground had the

Advertising is full of opportunities for men who are _first_ on the

There are hundreds of advertising passes waiting for some one to occupy
them. The first man who realizes that his line will be helped by
publicity, has a _tremendous opportunity_. He can gain an advantage over
his competitors that they can never possess. Those who _follow_ him must
spend more money to _equal_ his returns. They must not only _invest as
much_, _to get as much_, but they must as well, spend an extra sum to
_counteract_ the influence that he has _already established_ in the

Whatever men sell, whether it is actual merchandise or brain vibrations,
can be _more easily_ sold with the aid of advertising. Not one half of
the businesses which _should_ be exploited are appearing in the
newspapers. _Trade grows as reputation grows and advertising spreads

If you are engaged in a line which is waiting for an advertising
pioneer, realize what a wonderful chance you have of being the first of
your kind to appeal directly to the public. You stand a better chance of
leadership than those who have handicapped their strength, by permitting
you to _get on the ground_ before they could outstrip you. You gain a
prestige that those who _follow_ you, must spend more money to

If your particular line is _similar_ to some other trade or business
which has _already_ been introduced to the reading public, it's up to
you to start in _right now_ and join your competitors in contesting for
the attention of the community. The longer you _delay_ the more you
_decrease_ your chances of _surviving_. Every man who outstrips you is
another _opponent_, who must be met and grappled with, for _the right of

The Perambulating Showcase

The newspaper is a _huge_ shop window, carried about the city and
delivered daily into hundreds of thousands of homes, to be examined at
the leisure of the reader. This shop window is unlike the actual plate
glass showcase only in _one_ respect--it makes display of _descriptions_
instead of _articles_.

You have often been impressed by the difference between the decorations
of two window-trimmers, each of whom employed the same materials for his
work. The one drew your attention and held it by the grace and
cleverness and art manifested in his display. The other realized so
little of the possibilities in the materials placed at his disposal,
that unless some one called your attention to his mediocrities you
would have gone on unconscious of their existence.

An advertiser must know that he gets his results in accordance with the
_skill_ exercised in preparing his verbal displays. He must make people
_stop_ and pause. _His copy has to stand out._

He must not only make a show of things that are attractive to the eye
but are attractive to the people's needs, as well.

The window-trimmer must not make the mistake of thinking that the
showiest stocks are the most salable. The advertiser must not make the
mistake of thinking that the showiest words are the most clinching.

Windows are too few in number to be used with indiscretion. The good
merchant puts those goods back of his plate glass which nine people out
of ten will want, once they have seen them.

The good advertiser tells about goods which nine readers out of ten will
buy, if they can be convinced.

Newspaper space itself is only the window, just as the showcase is but a
frame for merchandise pictures. A window on a crowded street, in the
best neighborhood, where prosperous persons pass continually, is more
desirable, than one in a cheap, sparsely settled neighborhood. An
advertisement in a newspaper with the most readers and the most
_prosperous_ ones, possesses a great advantage over the same copy, in a
medium circulating among persons who possess less means. It would be
foolish for a shop to build its windows in an alley-way--and just as
much so to put its advertising into newspapers which are distributed
among "alley-dwellers."

How Alexander Untied the Knot

Alexander the Great was being shown the Gordian Knot. "It can't be
untied," they told him; "every man who tried to do so, failed."

But Alexander was not discouraged because the _rest_ had flunked. He
simply realized that he would have to go at it in a _different_ way. And
instead of wasting time with his _fingers_, he drew his sword and
_slashed_ it apart.

Every day a great business general is shown some knot which has proven
too much for his competitors, and he succeeds, because he finds a way to
_cut_ it. The fumbler has no show so long as there is a brother merchant
who doesn't waste time trying to accomplish the impossible--who takes
lessons from the _failures_ about him and avoids the methods which were
their downfall.

The knottiest problems in trade are:

  1--The problem of location.

  2--The problem of getting the crowds.

  3--The problem of keeping the crowds.

  4--The problem of minimizing fixed expenses.

  5--The problem of creating a valuable good will.

None of these knots is going to be untied by fumbling fingers. They are
too complicated. They're all inextricably involved--so twisted and
entangled that they can't be solved singly--like the Gordian knot _they
must be cut through at one stroke_. And you can't cut the knot with
anything but advertising--because:

  1--A store that is constantly before the people makes its own

  2--Crowds can be brought from anywhere by daily advertising.

  3--Customers can always be held by inducements.

  4--Fixed expenses can only be reduced by increasing the volume of sales.

  5--Good will can only be created through publicity.

Advertising is breeding new giants every year and making them more
powerful every hour. Publicity is the sustaining food of a _powerful_
store and the only strengthening nourishment for a _weak_ one. The
retailer who delays his entry into advertising must pay the penalty of
his procrastination by facing more giant competitors as each month of
opportunity slips by.

Personal ability as a close purchaser and as a clever seller, doesn't
count for a hang, so long as other men are equally well posted and wear
the sword of publicity to boot. They are able to tie your business into
constantly closer knots, while you cannot retaliate, because there is no
knot which their advertising cannot cut for them.

Yesterday you lost a customer--today they took one--tomorrow they'll get
another. You cannot cope with their competition because you haven't the
weapon with which to oppose it. You can't untie your Gordian knot
because it can't be _untied_--you've got to _cut_ it.

You must become an advertiser or you must pay the penalty of

You not only require the newspaper to fight for a more _hopeful
tomorrow_, but to keep _today's_ situation from becoming _hopeless_.

If It Fits You, Wear this Cap

Advertising isn't a crucible with which lazy, bigoted and incapable
merchants can turn incompetency into success--but one into which brains
and tenacity and courage _can_ be poured and changed into dollars. It is
only a short cut across the fields--_not_ a moving platform. You can't
"get there" without "going some."

It's a game in which the _worker_--not the _shirker_--gets rich.

By its measurement every man stands for what he _is_ and for what he
_does_, _not_ for what he _was_ and what he _did_.

Every day in the advertising world is _another_ day and has to be taken
care of with the same energy as its _yesterday_.

The quitter _can't survive_ where the _plugger_ has the ghost of a

Advertising doesn't take the place of business talent or business
management. It simply tells what a business _is_ and _how_ it is
managed. The snob whose father _created_ and who is content to live on
what was _handed_ to him, can't stand up against the man who knows he
_must build for himself_.

What makes _you_ think that _you_ are entitled to prosper as well as a
competitor who _works twice as hard_ for his prosperity?

Why should as many people deal at _your_ store, as patronize a shop that
makes an endeavor to _get_ their trade and shows them that it is _worth
while_ to come to its doors?

Why should a newspaper send as many customers to _you_, in _half_ the
time it took to fill an establishment which advertised _twice_ as long
and _paid twice as much_ for its publicity?

This is the day when the _best_ man wins--after he _proves_ that he _is_
the best man--when the _best_ store wins, when it has shown that it _is_
the best store--when the best _goods_ win, after they've been
_demonstrated to be_ the best goods.

If you want the _plum_ you can't get it by lying under the _tree_ with
your mouth open waiting for it to drop--too many other men are willing
to climb out on the limb and risk their necks in their eagerness to get
it away from you.

It is a _man's_ game--this advertising--just hanging on and tugging and
straining all the time to _get_ and _keep_ ahead. It is the finite
expression of the law of Competition, which sits in blind-folded justice
over the markets of the world.

You Must Irrigate Your Neighborhood

Half a century ago there were ten million acres of land, within a
thousand miles of Chicago, upon which not even a blade of grass would
grow. Today upon these very deserts are wonderful orchards and
tremendous wheatfields. _The soil itself was full of possibilities. What
the land needed was water._ In time there came farmers who knew that
they could not expect the streams _to come to them_, and so they dug
ditches and _led the water to their properties_ from the surrounding
rivers and lakes; they tilled the earth with their _brains_ as well as
their _plows_--they became rich through _irrigation_.

Advertising has made thousands of men rich, just because they recognized
the possibilities of utilizing the newspapers to bring streams of
buyers into neighborhoods that could be made busy locations by
irrigation--_by drawing people from other sections_.

The successful retailer is the man who keeps the stream of purchasers
coming his way. It isn't the _spot itself_ that makes the _store_
pay--it's the _man_ who makes the _spot_ pay. Centers of trade are not
selected by the public--they are created by the force which _controls_
the public--the newspapers.

New neighborhoods for business are being constantly built up by men who
have located themselves in streets which they have changed from deserted
by-ways into teeming, jostling thoroughfares, through advertising

The storekeeper who whines that his neighborhood holds him back is
squinting at the truth--_he is hurting the neighborhood_.

If it lacks streams of buyers, he can easily enough secure them by
reaching out through the columns of the daily and inducing people from
_other_ sections to come to him. Every time he influences a customer of
a competitor he is not only irrigating his _own_ field but is diverting
the streams upon which a _non-advertising_ merchant depends for
existence. Men and women who live next door to a shop that does not
plead for their custom will eventually be drawn to an establishment
_miles_ away because they have been made to believe in some advantage to
be gained thereby.

The circulation of _every_ daily is nothing less than a _reservoir_ of
buyers, from which shoppers stream in the direction that promises the
_most value_ for the _least money_.

The magic development of the desert lands, has its parallel in
merchandising of men who consider the newspaper an irrigating power
which can make _two_ customers grow where _one_ grew before.

Cato's Follow-up System

If a man lambasted you on the eye and walked away and waited a week
before he repeated the performance, he wouldn't hurt you very badly.
Between attacks you would have an opportunity to recover from the effect
of the first blow.

But if he smashed you and _kept mauling_, each impact of his fist would
find you less able to stand the hammering, and a half-dozen jabs would
probably _knock you down_.

Now advertising is, after all, a matter of _hitting the eye of the
public_. If you allow too great an interval to elapse between insertions
of copy the effect of the first advertisement will have worn _away_ by
the time you hit again. You may continue your scattered talks over a
stretch of years, but you will not derive the same benefit that would
result from a greater concentration. In other words, by appearing in
print _every_ day, you are able to get the benefit of the impression
created _the day before_, and as each piece of copy makes its
appearance, the result of your publicity on the reader's mind is more
pronounced--you mustn't stop short of a _knock-down impression_.

_Persistence is_ the foundation of advertising success. Regularity of
insertion is _just as important_ as clever phrasing. The man who _hangs
on_ is the man who _wins out_. Cato the Elder is an example to every
merchant who _uses_ the newspapers and should be an inspiration to every
storekeeper who does _not_. For twenty years he arose daily in the Roman
senate and cried out for the destruction of Carthage. In the beginning
he found his conferees very unresponsive. But he _kept on_ every day,
month after month and year after year, sinking into the minds of all the
necessity of destroying Carthage, until he set all the senate thinking
upon the subject and _in the end_ Rome sent an army across the
Mediterranean and ended the reign of the Hannibals and Hamilcars over
northern Africa. _The persistent utterances of a single man did it._

The history of every mercantile success is _parallel_. The advertiser
who does not let a day slip by without having his say, is bound to be
heard and have his influence felt. Every insertion of copy brings
stronger returns, because it has the benefit of what has been said
_before_, until the public's attention is like an eye that has been so
repeatedly struck, that the _least touch_ of suggestion will feel like a

How to Write Retail Advertising Copy

A skilled layer of mosaics works with small fragments of stone--they fit
into more places than the _larger_ chunks.

The skilled advertiser works with small words--they fit into _more_
minds than _big_ phrases.

The simpler the language the greater certainty that it will be
understood by the _least intelligent reader_.

The construction engineer plans his road-bed where there is a _minimum
of grade_--he works along the lines of _least resistance_.

The advertisement which runs into mountainous style is badly
surveyed--_all minds are not built for high grade thinking_.

Advertising must be simple. When it is tricked out with the jewelry and
silks of literary expression, it looks as much out of place as _a ball
dress at the breakfast table_!

The buying public is only interested in _facts_. People read
advertisements to find out _what you have to sell_.

The advertiser who can fire the _most facts_ in the shortest time gets
the _most returns_. Blank cartridges _make noise but they do not
hit_--blank talk, however clever, is only wasted space.

You force your salesmen to keep to solid facts--you don't allow _them_
to sell muslin with quotations from Omar or trousers with excerpts from
Marie Corelli. You must not tolerate in your _printed selling talk_
anything that you are not willing to countenance in _personal

Cut out clever phrases if they are inserted to the sacrifice of clear
explanations--_write copy as you talk_. Only be more brief. Publicity is
costlier than conversation--ranging in price downward from $10 a line;
talk is not cheap but the most expensive commodity in the world.

Sketch in your ad to the stenographer. Then you will be so busy "_saying
it_" that you will not have time to bother about the gewgaws of
writing. Afterwards take the typewritten manuscript and cut out every
word and every line that can be erased without omitting an important
detail. What _remains_ in the _end_ is all that _really counted_ in the

Cultivate brevity and simplicity. "Savon Français" may _look_ smarter,
but more people will _understand_ "French Soap." Sir Isaac Newton's
explanation of gravitation covers _six pages_ but the schoolboy's terse
and homely "What goes up must come down" clinches the whole thing in
_six words_.

_Indefinite talk wastes_ space. It is not 100% productive. The copy that
omits prices sacrifices half its pulling power--it has a tendency to
bring _lookers_ instead of _buyers_. It often creates false impressions.
Some people are bound to conceive the idea that the goods are _higher
priced_ than in _reality_--others, by the same token, are just as likely
to infer that the prices are _lower_ and go away thinking that you have
exaggerated your statements.

The reader must be _searched out_ by the copy. Big space is cheapest
because it _doesn't waste a single eye_. Publicity must be on the
_offensive_. There are far too many advertisers who keep their lights on
top _of_ their bushel--the average citizen _hasn't time_ to overturn
your bushel.

Small space is expensive. Like a _one-flake snowstorm_, there is not
enough of it to lay.

Space is a _comparative matter_ after all. It is not a case of _how
much_ is used as _how it is used_. The passengers on the limited express
may realize that Jones has tacked a twelve-inch shingle on every post
and fence for a stretch of five miles, but they are _going too fast_ to
make out what the shingles say, yet the two feet letters of Brown's big
bulletin board on top of the hill leap at them before they have a chance
to dodge it. And at that it doesn't cost nearly so much as the _sum
total_ of Jones' dinky display.

Just so advertisements attractively displayed every day or every other
day for a year in one big newspaper, will find the eye of _all_
readers, no matter how rapidly they may be "going" through the
advertising pages and produce more results than a _dozen_ piking pieces
of copy scattered through _half a dozen_ dailies.

The Difference between Amusing and Convincing

An advertiser must realize that there is a vast difference between
_amusing_ people and _convincing_ them. It does not pay to be "smart" at
the line rate of the average first class daily. I suppose that I could
draw the attention of everybody on the street by painting half of my
face red and donning a suit of motley. I might have a sincere purpose in
wishing _to attract_ the crowd, but I would be deluding myself if I
mistook the nature of their attention.

The new advertiser is especially prone to misjudge between amusing and
convincing copy. A humorous picture _may_ catch the eyes of _every_
reader, but it won't pay as well as an illustration of _some piece of
merchandise_ which will strike the eye of every _buyer_. Merchants
secure varying results from the same advertising space. The publisher
delivers to each _the same quality of readers_, but the advertiser who
plants _flippancy_ in the minds of the community won't attain the
benefit that is secured by the merchant who imprints _clinching_
arguments there.

Always remember that the advertising sections of newspapers are no
different than farming lands. And it is as preposterous to hold the
publisher responsible for the outcome of unintelligent copy as it would
be unjust to blame the soil for bad seed and poor culture. _Every
advertiser gets exactly the same number of readers from a publisher and
the same readers_--after that it's up to him--the results fluctuate in
accordance with the intelligence and the pulling power of the _copy_
which is inserted.

Some Don'ts when You Do Advertise

    The _price_ of the gun never hits the _bull's eye_.
    And the _bang_ seldom rattles the bells.
    It's the _hand on the trigger_ that cuts the _real_ figger.
    The _aim's_ what amounts--_that's_ what makes _record_ counts--
    Are _you_ hitting or just _wasting_ shells?

_Don't_ forget that the man who writes your copy is the man who aims
your policy.

When you stop to reflect what your _space_ costs and that the wrong talk
is just _noise_--_bang_ without _biff_--you must see the necessity and
_sanity_ of putting the _right man behind the gun_.

_Don't_ tolerate an ambition on your ad-man's part to indulge in a
lurking desire to be a literary light.

People read his advertising to discover what your buyers have just
brought from the market and what you are asking for "O. N. T." They buy
the _newspaper_ for information and recreation and are satisfied with
the degree of poetry and persiflage dished up in its _reading_ columns.

_Don't exaggerate._ Poetic licenses are not valid in business prose. The
American people _don't_ want to be humbugged and the merchant who
figures upon too many fools, finds _himself_ looking into a mirror,
usually about a half hour after the sheriff has come to look over the

_Don't imitate._ Advertising is a _special measure_ garment. Businesses
are not built in _ready-made_ sizes. Copy which fits somebody else's
selling plans, won't fit your store without sagging at the chest or
riding up at the collar. Duplicated _argument_ and duplicated _results_
are not twins. Your policy of publicity must be _specially_ measured
from your policy of merchandising.

_Don't put your advertising in charge of an amateur._ Let somebody else
stand the expense of his educational blunders. Remember you are making a
plea before the bar of public confidence. Your ad-writer is an advocate.
_Like a bad lawyer, he can lose a good case by not making the most of
the facts at hand._

_Don't get the "sales" habit._ "Sales" are stimulants. When held too
often their effect is _weakening_. The merchant who continually yells
"_bargain_" is like the old hen who was always crying "fox." When the
real article did come along, none of her chicks _believed it_.

_Don't use fine print._ Make it easy for the reader to find out about
your business. There are ten million pairs of eyeglasses worn in
America, and every owner of them buys something.

_And Don't start unless you mean to stick._ The patron saint of the
successful advertiser _hates a quitter_.

The Doctor whose Patients Hang On

Out in China _all_ things are _not_ topsy turvy. _Physicians are paid
for keeping people well_ and when their patients fall ill, their weekly
remittances are stopped. The Chinese judge a medical man not by the
number of years _he_ lives, but by the length of time his patrons

An advertising medium must be judged in the same way. The fact that it
has _age_ to its credit isn't so important as the _age of its
advertising patronage_. Whenever a daily continues to display the store
talk of the same establishment year after year, it's a pretty sure sign
that the merchant has _made money_ out of that newspaper, because no
publication can continue to be a losing investment to its customers over
a stretch of time, without the fact being discovered. And when a
newspaper is not only able to boast of an honor roll of stores that have
continued to appear in its pages for a stretch of decades, but at the
same time demonstrates that it carries _more_ business than its
competitors, it has _proven its superiority_ as plainly as a mountain
peak which rises above its fellows.

The combination of _stability and progress_ is the strongest virtue that
a newspaper can possess. _Only the fit survive_--reputation is a
_difficult_ thing to _get_ and a harder thing to _hold_--it takes
_merit_ to _earn_ it and _character_ to _maintain_ it. There is a vast
difference between _fame_ and _notoriety_, and just as much difference
between a _famous newspaper_ and a _notorious one_.

Just as a manufacturer is always eager to install his choicest stocks in
a store which has earned the respect of the community, just so a
retailer should be anxious to insert his name in a newspaper which has
_earned the respect of its readers_. The manufacturer feels that he will
receive a square deal from a store which has age to its credit. He can
expect as much from a newspaper which is a credit to its age!

The newspaper which outlives the rest does so because it was _best
fitted to_--it had to _earn_ the confidence of its readers--and _keep
it_. It had to be a _better_ newspaper than any other and _better_
newspapers go to the homes of _better_ buyers. Every bit of its
circulation has the element of _quality and staying power_. And it is
the _respectable_, _home-loving_ element of every community--not the
touts and the gamblers--toward which the merchant must look for his
business _vertebrae_--he cannot find buyers unless he uses the
_newspaper_ that enters their homes. And when _he does_ enter their
homes he must not confuse the sheet that comes in the back gate with the
newspaper that is delivered at the front door.

The Horse that Drew the Load

A moving van came rolling down the street the other day with a big
spirited Percheron in the center and two wretched nags on either side.
The Percheron was _doing all the work_, and it seemed that he would have
got along far better in single harness, than he managed with his
inferior mates _retarding_ his speed.

The advertiser who selects a group of newspapers usually harnesses two
_lame_ propositions to every _pulling_ newspaper on his list, and just
as the van driver probably dealt out an _equal_ portion of feed to each
of his animals, just so many a merchant is paying practically the same
rate to a _weak_ daily, that he is allowing the _sturdy profitable

Unfortunately the accepted custom of inserting the _same_ advertisement
in _every_ paper acts to the distinct disadvantage of the _meritorious_
medium. The advertiser charges the sum total of his _expense_ against
the sum total of his _returns_, and thereby does _himself and the best
puller an injustice_, by crediting the less productive sheets with
results that they have _not_ earned.

It's the _pulling power_ of the newspaper as well as the horse that
proves its value, and if advertisers were as level headed as they should
be, they would take the trouble to put every daily in which they
advertise _on trial_ for at least a month and advertise a different
department or article in each, carefully tabulating the returns. If this
were done, fifty per cent of the advertising now carried in weaker
newspapers would be withdrawn and the patronage of the stronger sheets
would _advance_ in that proportion.

_There are newspapers in many a city that are, single handed, able to
build up businesses._ Their circulation is solid muscle and sinew--_all
pull_. It isn't the number of copies _printed_ but the number of copies
that reach the hands of buyers--it isn't the number of _readers_ but the
number of readers with _money_ to spend--it isn't the _bulk_ of a
circulation but the amount of the circulation which is _available_ to
the advertiser--it isn't _fat_ but _brawn_--that tell in the long run.

There are certain earmarks that indicate these strengths and weaknesses.
They are as plain to the observing eye as the signs of the woods are
significant to the trapper. The _news_ columns tell you what you can
expect out of the _advertising_ columns. A newspaper _always finds_ the
class of readers to which it is _edited_. When its mental tone is _low_
and its moral tone is _careless_ depend upon it--_the readers match the

No gun can hit a target _outside_ of its range. No newspaper can aim its
policy in _one_ direction and score in _another_. No advertiser can find
a different class of men and women than the publisher has found for
himself. He is judged by the company he keeps. _If he lies down with
dogs he will arise with fleas._

The Cellar Hole and the Sewer Hole

A coal cart stopped before an office building in Washington and the
driver dismounted, removed the cover from a manhole, ran out his chute,
and proceeded to empty the load. An old negro strolled over and stood
watching him. Suddenly the black man glanced down and immediately burst
into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, which continued for several
minutes. The cart driver looked at him in amusement. "Say, Uncle," he
asked, "do you always laugh when you see coal going into a cellar?" The
negro sputtered around for a few moments and then holding his hands to
his aching sides managed to say, "_No, sah, but I jest busts when I sees
it goin' down a sewer._"

The advertiser who displays lack of judgment in selecting the newspapers
which carry his copy often confuses the _sewer_ and the _cellar_.

All the money that is put _into_ newspapers isn't taken _out_ again, by
any means. The fact that all dailies possess a certain physical
likeness, doesn't necessarily signify a similarity in character, and
it's _character_ in a newspaper that brings returns. The editor who
conducts a journalistic sewer, finds a _different_ class of readers than
the publisher who respects himself enough to respect his readers.

What goes into a newspaper largely determines the class of homes into
which the newspaper goes. An irresponsible, scandal-mongering,
muck-raking sheet is certainly not supported by the buying classes of
people. It _may be_ perused by thousands of readers, but such readers
are seldom purchasers of advertised goods.

It's the clean-cut, steady, normal-minded citizens who form the bone and
sinew and muscle of the community. It's the sane, self-respecting,
_dependable_ newspaper that enters their homes and it's the _home_ sale
that indicates the strength of an advertising medium.

No clean-minded father of a family wishes to have his wife and children
brought in contact with the most maudlin and banal phases of life. He
defends them from the sensational editor and the unpleasant advertiser.
He subscribes to _a newspaper which he does not fear to leave about the

Therefore, the respectable newspaper can always be counted upon to
produce more sales than one which may even own a larger _circulation_
but whose distribution is in ten editions among unprofitable citizens.

You can no more expect to sell goods to people who _haven't money_, than
you can hope _to pluck oysters from rose-bushes_.

It isn't the number of readers _reached_, but the number of readers
whose _purses_ can be reached, that constitutes the value of
circulation. It's one thing to arouse _their attention_, but it's a far
different thing to get _their money_. _The mind may be willing, but the
pocketbook may be weak._

If you had the choice of a thousand acres of desert land or a hundred
acres of oasis, you'd select the fertile spot, realizing that the larger
tract had less value because it would be less productive.

The advertiser who really understands how he is spending his money,
takes care that he is not pouring his money into _deserts and sewers_.

The Neighborhood of Your Advertising

Circulation is a commodity which must be bought with the same common
sense used in selecting potatoes, cloth and real estate. _It can be
measured and weighed_--it is _merchandise_ with a _provable_ value. It
varies just as much as the grocer's green stuff, the tailor's fabrics
and the lots of the real estate man.

Your cook refuses to accept green and rotten tomatoes at the price of
perfect ones. She does not calculate the number of vegetables that are
_delivered_ to her, but those that she _can use_. When your wife selects
a piece of cloth she first makes sure that it will serve the purpose she
has in view. When you buy a piece of property you consider _the
neighborhood_ as well as the _ground_. Just so when you buy
_advertising_ you must find out how much of the circulation you _can
use_. You must judge the _neighborhoods_ where your copy will be read,
with the same thoughtfulness that you devoted to selecting the spot
where your goods are sold.

A dealer in precious stones would be foolish to open up in a tenement
district, and equally short-sighted, to tell about his jewelry in a
newspaper largely distributed there. Out of ten thousand men and women
who might _see_ what he had to say not ten of them could _afford to buy
his goods_. These ten thousand readers would be mass without muscle. He
could make them _willing_ to do business with him, but _their incomes
wouldn't let them become customers_.

One of the greatest mistakes in publicity is _to drop your lines where
the fish can't take your bait_.

Circulation is, as you see, a very interesting subject, but very few
people know anything about it. It would surprise you to know that this
ignorance often extends to the business offices of newspapers. I have
known publishers to continually mistake the _class of_ their readers
and have met hundreds of them who had the most fantastic ideas upon the
figures of their circulation.

While I would not be so harsh as to accuse them of anything more than
being _mistaken_, none the less their tendency to infect _others_ with
this misinformation renders it extremely advisable for _you to_ become a
member of the Missouri society--and "_be shown_."

Don't rely solely on circulation statements. You don't understand the
tricks in their making. Make the newspaper which carries your
advertisement show you the list of its advertisers. A newspaper which
prints the most advertising, month after month, year after year, is
always the best medium. This is equally true in New York, Chicago,
Philadelphia, Kenosha and Walla Walla.

The Mistake of the Big Steak

Watch out for _waste_ in circulation. Find out _where_ your story is
going to be _read_. Don't pay for planting the seed of publicity in a
spot where you are not going to _harvest_ the results.

The manufacturer of soap who has his goods on sale from Oskaloosa to
Timbuctoo doesn't care _how widely_ a newspaper circulation is
scattered. Whoever reads about his product is near to _some_ store or
other where it is sold--but you have just _one_ store.

Buying advertising circulation is very much like ordering a steak--if
the waiter brings you a porter-house twice as big as your _digestion_
can handle, you've paid twice as much as the steak was worth to _you_,
even if it _is_ worth the price to the restaurant man.

You derive your profit not from the circulation that your
_advertisement_ gets, but from circulation _that gets people to buy_.

If two newspapers offer you their columns and one shows a distribution
almost entirely within the city and in towns that rely upon your city
for buying facilities, your business can digest all of its influence. If
the other has _as much circulation_, but only _one third_ of it is in
_local territory_, mere bulk cannot establish its value to _you_--_it's
another case of the big steak_--you pay for more than you can digest.
That part of its influence which is concentrated where men and women
can't get your _goods_ after you get their _attention_, is _sheer

By dividing the number of copies he prints into his line rate, a
publisher may fallaciously demonstrate to you that his space is sold as
low as that of his stronger competitors, but if half his circulation is
too _far away to bring buyers_, his real _rate_ is double what it seems.
He is like the butcher who weighs in all the bone and sinew and fat and
charges you as much for the _waste_ as he does for the _meat_.

The Omelette Soufflé

There is a vast distinction between distribution for the sake of
increasing the _circulation figures_ and distribution for the sake of
increasing the number of _advertising responses_.

There is a difference between a circulation which strikes the _same_
reader several times in the _same_ day and the circulation which does
_not_ repeat the individual. There is a difference between circulation
which is concentrated into an area from which every reader can be
expected to come to your establishment, if you can _interest_ him, and a
circulation that spreads over half a dozen states and shows its greatest
volume in territory so far from your establishment that you can't get a
buyer out of ten thousand readers.

You've got to weigh and measure all these things when you weigh and
measure circulation figures. It isn't the number of copies _printed_,
but the number of copies _sold_--not the number of papers _distributed_,
but the number of papers distributed in _responsive_ territory--not the
number of readers _reached_, but the number of readers who have the
price to _buy_ what you want to _sell_--that determine the value of
circulation to _you_.

You can take a single egg and whip it into an omelette soufflé which
_seems_ to be a _whole plateful_, but the extra bulk is just _hot air_
and _sugar_--the change in form has not increased the amount of egg
_substance_ and it's the _substance_ in circulation, just as it is the
_nutrition_ in the egg, that _counts_.

[ Transcriber's Note:

  The following is a list of corrections made to the original. The first
  line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

  pronounced--you musn't stop short of a _knock-down impression_.
  pronounced--you mustn't stop short of a _knock-down impression_.

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