Advertising Art



Chapter Nine:    

Art in Advertising

     Pictures in advertising are very expensive.  Not in cost of 
good art work alone, but in the cost of space.  From one-third to 
one-half of an advertising campaign is often staked on the power of 
the pictures.
     Anything expensive must be effective, else it involves much 
waste.  So art in advertising is a study of paramount importance.
     Pictures should not be used merely because they are 
interesting.  Or to attract attention.  Or to decorate an ad.  We 
have covered these points elsewhere.  Ads are not written to 
interest, please or amuse.  You are not writing to please the hoi- 
polloi.  You are writing on a serious subject - the subject of 
money-spending.  And you address a restricted minority.
     Use pictures only to attract those who may profit you.  Use 
them only when they form a better selling argument than the same 
amount of space set in type.
     Mail order advertisers, as we have said, have pictures down to 
a science.  Some use large pictures, some small, some omit pictures 
entirely.  A noticeable fact is that none of them uses expensive 
art work.  Be sure that all these things are done
 for reasons made apparent by results.
     Any other advertiser should apply the same principles.  Or, if 
none exist to apply to his line, he should work out his own by 
tests.  It is certainly unwise to spend large sums on a dubious 
     Pictures in many lines form a major factor.  Omitting the 
lines where the article itself should be pictured.  In some lines, 
like Arrow Collars and most in clothing advertising, pictures have 
proved most convincing.  Not only in picturing the collar or the 
clothes, but in picturing men whom others envy, in surroundings 
which others covet.  The pictures subtly suggest that these 
articles of apparel will aid men to those desired positions.
     So with correspondence schools.  Theirs is traced 
advertising.  Picturing men in high positions of taking upward 
steps forms a very convincing argument.
     So with beauty articles.  Picturing beautiful women, admired 
and attractive, is a supreme inducement.  But there is a great 
advantage in including a fascinated man.  Women desire beauty 
largely because of men.  Then show them using their beauty,
as women do use it, to gain maximum effect.
     Advertising pictures should not be eccentric.  Don't treat 
your subject lightly.  Don't lessen respect for yourself or your 
article by any attempt at frivolity.  People do not patronize a 
clown.  There are two things about which men should not joke.  One 
is business, one is home.

     An eccentric picture may do you serious damage.  One may gain 
attention by wearing a fool's cap.  But he would ruin his selling 
     Then a picture which is eccentric or unique takes attention 
from your subject.  You cannot afford to do that.  Your main appeal 
lies in headline.  Over-shadow that and you kill it.  Don't, to 
gain general and useless attention, sacrifice the attention that 
you want.
     Don't be like a salesman who wears conspicuous clothes.  The 
small percentage he appeals to are not usually good buyers.  The 
great majority of the sane and thrifty heartily despite him.  Be 
normal in everything you do when you are seeking confidence and 
     Generalities cannot be applied to art.  There are seeming 
exceptions to most statements.  Each line must be studied by itself.
     But the picture must help sell the goods.  It should help more 
than anything else could do in like space, else use that something 
     Many pictures tell a story better than type can do.  In 
advertising of Puffed Grains the picture of the grains were found 
to be most effective.  They awake curiosity.  No figure drawing in 
that case compare in results with these grains.
     Other pictures form a total loss.  We have cited cases of that 
kind.  The only way to know, as is with most other questions, is by 
compared results.
     There are disputed questions in art work which we will cite 
without expressing opinions.  They seem to be answered both ways, 
according to the line which is advertised.
     Does it pay better to use fine art work or ordinary? Some 
advertisers pay up to $2,000 per drawing.  They figure that the 
space is expensive.  The art cost is small in comparison.  So they 
consider the best worth its cost.
     Others argue that few people have art education.  They bring 
out their ideas, and bring them out well, at a fraction of the 
cost.  Mail order advertisers are generally in this class.
     The question is one of small moment.  Certainly good art pays 
as well as mediocre.  And the cost of preparing ads is very small 
compared with the cost of insertion.
     Should every ad have a new picture? Or may a picture be 
repeated? Both viewpoints have many supporters.  The probability is 
that repetition is an economy.  We are after new customers always.  
It is not probable that they remember a picture we have used 
before.  If they do, repetition does not detract.
     Do color pictures pay better than black and white? Not 
generally, according to the evidence we have gathered to date.  Yet 
there are exceptions.  Certain food dishes look far better in 
colors.  Tests on lines like oranges, desserts, etc.  show t hat 
color pays.  Color comes close to placing the products an actual 
     But color used to amuse or to gain attention is like anything 
else that we use for that purpose.  It may attract many times as 
many people, yet not secure a hearing from as many whom we want.
     The general rule applies.  Do nothing to merely interest, 
amuse, or attract.  That is not your province.  Do only that which 
wins the people you are after in the cheapest possible way.
     But these are minor questions.  They are mere economies, not 
largely affecting the results of a campaign.
     Some things you do may cut all your results in two.  Other 
things can be done which multiply those results.  Minor costs are 
insignificant when compared with basic principles.  One man may do 
business in a shed, another in a palace.  That is immaterial.  The 
great question is, one's power to get the maximum results.
Return to Book Intro and Chapter Index:  Scientific Advertising
Continue to the next Chapter: Advertising Cost



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