Advertising Information



Chapter Eleven


	An ad-writer, to have a chance at success, must gain full 
information on his subject.   The library of an ad agency should 
have books on every line that calls for research.  A painstaking 
advertising man will often read for weeks on some problem
which comes up.
     Perhaps in many volumes he will find few facts to use.  But 
some one fact may be the keynote of success.
     This writer has just completed an enormous amount of reading, 
medical and otherwise, on coffee.  This to advertise a coffee 
without caffeine.  One scientific article out of a thousand perused 
gave the keynote for that campaign.  It was the fact that caffeine 
stimulation comes two hours after drinking.  So the immediate 
bracing effects which people seek from coffee do not come from the 
caffeine.  Removing caffeine does not remove the kick.  It does not 
modify coffee's delights, for caffeine is tasteless and odorless.
     Caffeine-less coffee has been advertised for years.  People 
regarded it like near-beer.  Only through weeks of reading did we 
find a way to put it another light.
     To advertise a tooth paste this writer has also read many 
volumes of scientific matter dry as dust.  But in the middle of one 
volume he found the idea which has helped make millions for that 
tooth paste maker.  And has made this campaign one of the 
sensations of advertising.
     Genius is the art of taking pains.  The advertising man who 
spares the midnight oil will never get very far.
     Before advertising a food product, 130 men were employed for 
weeks to interview all classes of consumers.
     On another line, letters we sent to 12,000 physicians.  
Questionnaires are often mailed to tens of thousands of men and 
women to get the viewpoint of consumers.
     A $25,000-a-year man, before advertising outfits for acetylene 
gas, spent weeks in going from farm to farm.  Another man did that 
on a tractor.
     Before advertising a shaving cream, one thousand men were 
asked to state what they most desired in a shaving soap.
     Called on to advertise pork and beans, a canvass was made of 
some thousand of homes.  Theretofore all pork and bean advertising 
has been based on "Buy my brand."  That canvass showed that only 4 
per cent of the people used any canned pork and beans.  Ninety-six 
per cent baked their beans at home.  The problem was not to sell a 
particular brand.  Any such attempt appealed to only four per 
cent.  The right appeal was to win the people away from home-baked 
beans.  The advertising, which without knowledge must have failed, 
proved a great success.
     A canvas is made, not only of homes, but of dealers.  
Competition is measured up.
     Every advertiser of a similar product is written for his 
literature and claims.  Thus we start with exact information on all 
that are rivals are doing.

     Clipping bureaus are patronized, so that everything printed on 
our subject comes to the man who writes ads.
     Every comment that comes from consumers or dealers goes to 
this man's desk.
     It is often necessary in a line to learn the total 
expenditure.  We must learn what a user spends a year, else we 
shall not know if users are worth the cost of getting.
     We must learn the total consumption, else we may overspend.
     We must learn the percentage of readers to whom our product 
appeals.  We must often gather this data on classes.  The 
percentage may differ on farms and in cities.  The cost of 
advertising largely depends on the percentage of waste circulation.
     Thus an advertising campaign is usually preceded by a very 
large volume of data.  Even an experimental campaign, for effective 
experiments cost a great deal of work and time.
     Often chemists are employed to prove or disprove doubtful 
claims.  An advertiser, in all good faith, makes an impressive 
assertion.  If it is true, it will form a big factor in 
advertising.  If untrue, it may prove a boomerang.  And it may bar 
o ur ads from good mediums.  It is remarkable how often a maker 
proves wrong on assertions he has made for years.
     Impressive claims are made far more impressive by making them 
exact.  So many experiments are made to get the actual figures.  
For instance, a certain drink is known to have a large food value.  
That simple assertion is not very convincing.  So we send the drink 
to the laboratory and find that its food value is 425 calories per 
pint.  One pint is equal to six eggs in calories of nutriment.  
That claim makes a great impression.
     In every line involving scientific details a censor is 
appointed.  The ad-writer, however well informed, may draw wrong 
inferences from facts.  So an authority passes on every 
     The uninformed would be staggered to know the amount of work 
involved in a single ad.  Weeks of work sometimes.  The ad seems so 
simple, and it must be simple to appeal to simple people.  But back 
of that ad may lie reams of data, volumes of information, months 
of research.
     So this is no lazy man's field.
Return to Book Intro and Chapter Index:  Scientific Advertising
Continue to the next Chapter: Advertising Strategy


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