Advertising Story



Chapter Eight

Tell Your Full Story

     Whatever claim you use to gain attention, the advertisement 
should tell a story reasonably complete.  If you watch returns, you 
will find that certain claims appeal far more that others.  But in 
usual lines a number of claims appeal to a large percentage.  Then 
present those claims in every ad for their effect on that percentage.
     Some advertisers, for sake of brevity, present one claim at a 
time.  Or they write a serial ad, continued in another issue.  
There is no greater folly.  Those serials almost never connect.
     When you once get a person's attention, then is the time to 
accomplish all ever hope with him.  Bring all your good arguments 
to bear.  Cover every phase of your subject.  One fact appeals to 
some, one to another.  Omit any one and a certain percentage will 
lose the fact which might convince.
     People are not apt to read successive advertisements on any 
single line.  No more that you read a news item twice, or a story.  
In one reading of an advertisement one decides for or against a 
proposition.  And that operates against a second reading.  So 
present to the reader, when once you get him, every important claim 
you have.
     The best advertisers do that.  They learn their appealing 
claims by tests - by comparing results from various headlines.  
Gradually they accumulate a list a claims important enough to use.  
All those claims appear in every ad thereafter.
     The advertisements seem monotonous to the men who read them 
all.  A complete story is always the same.  But one must consider 
that the average reader is only once a reader, probably.  And what 
you fail to tell him in that ad is something he may never know.
     Some advertisers go so far as to never change their ads.  
Single mail order ads often run year after year without diminishing 
returns.  So with some general ads.  They are perfected ads, 
embodying in the best way known all that one has to say.  
Advertiser do not expect a second reading.  Their constant returns 
come from getting new readers.
     In every ad consider only new customers.  People using your 
product are not going to read your ads.  They have already read and 
decided.  You might advertise month after month to present users 
that the product they use is poison, and they would never know it.  
So never waste one line of your space to say something to present 
to users, unless you can say it in your headlines.  Bear in mind 
always that you can address an unconverted prospect.  
     Any reader of your ad is interested, else he would not be a 
reader.  You are dealing with someone willing to listen.  Then do 
your level best.  That reader, if you lose him now, may never again 
be a reader.
     You are like a salesman in a busy man's office.  He may have 
tried again and again to get entree.  He may never be admitted 
again.  This is his one chance to get action, and he must employ it 
to the full.

     This brings up the question of brevity.  The most common 
expression you hear about advertising is that people will not read 
much.  Yet a vast amount of the best-paying advertising shows that 
people do read much.  Then they write for a book, perhaps - for 
added information.
     There is fixed rule on this subject of brevity.  One sentence 
may tell a complete story on a line like chewing gum.  It may on an 
article like Cream of Wheat.  But, whether long or short, an 
advertising story should be reasonably complete.  
     A certain man desired a personal car.  He cared little about 
the price.  He wanted a car to take pride in, else he felt he would 
never drive it.  But, being a good business man, he wanted value 
for his money.
     His inclination was towards a Rolls-Royce.  He also considered 
a Pierce-Arrow, a Locomobile and others.  But these famous cars 
offered  no information.  Their advertisements were very short.  
Evidently the makers considered it undignified to argue 
comparative merits.
     The Marmon, on the contrary, told a complete story.  He read 
columns and books about it.  So he bought a Marmon, and was never 
sorry.  But he afterwards learned facts about another car at nearly 
three times the price which would have sold him the car had he 
known them.
     What folly it is to cry a name in a line like that, plus a few 
brief generalities.  A car may be a lifetime investment.  It 
involves an important expenditure.  A man interested enough to buy 
a car will read a volume about it if the volume is interesting.
     So with everything.  You may be simply trying to change a 
woman from one breakfast food to another, or one tooth paste, or 
one soap.  She is wedded to what she is using.  Perhaps she has 
used it for years.
     You have a hard proposition.  If you do not believe it, go to 
her in person and try to make the change.  Not to merely buy a 
first package to please you, but to adopt your brand.  A man who 
once does that at a woman's door won't argue for brief 
advertisements.  He will never again say, "A sentence will do," or 
a name claim or a boast.
     Nor will the man who traces his results.  Note that brief ads 
are never keyed.  Note that every traced ad tells a complete story, 
though it takes columns to tell.
     Never be guided in any way by ads which are untraced.  Never 
do anything because some uninformed advertiser considers that 
something right.  Never be led in new paths by the blind.  Apply to 
your advertising ordinary common sense.  Take the opinion of 
nobody, whom knows nothing about his returns.
Return to Book Intro and Chapter Index:  Scientific Advertising
Continue to the next Chapter: Advertising Art


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