The Perambulating Showcase

October 01, 2011  |   Advertising and Marketing   |     |   0 Comment

Another classic short story about advertising from The Clock that Had no Hands And Nineteen Other Essays About Advertising By Herbert Kaufman

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.”

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