Evening public ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]) 1914-1942, September 15, 1914, Sports Extra, Page 6, Image 6

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evening EBDaBB phi:
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The Future of Advertising
The Nineteenth, and Last, in a Series of Talks on Advertising
Itwould be interesting and easy, but entirely futile, to make sweeping predictions
about the future of advertising. Men hardly have the temerity to speculate
upon the future df the law of gravity, or of the fourth dimension. The
law upon which advertising rests is, no less than these, immutable, and its
effect, for good or bad, is largely dependent upon the degree to which
men understand it and the uses to which they turn their knowledge of it
THE future of advertising is in
separably interwoven with the
whole future of commerce and
industry. Any prophecy would
have to take into account the probable
development of our whole national life.
But there are many tendencies, already
observable, which seem to indicate impor
tant progress, and which are likely to in
fluence profoundly the business of the next
few decades.
First and foremost, the ethical standard,
which has been raised so notably during
the past few years, is bound to go higher
and higher. Probably no business or pro
fession ever did so much in so short a time
to wipe out the stigma of the inexpertness
and charlatanism which characterized its
early history. Today the honest and the
expert are dominant. Tomorrow they
will be predominant. And it is a fairly
"sure prediction that in the not distant
future advertising will offer far less foot
hold to the incompetent and the faker than
even law or medicine or other far more
strictly regulated professions.
It must be so. For the advertising world
is strongly interdependent. In some de
gree the success of every advertising me
dium affects the success of every other,
because the success of all is founded upon
the implicit confidence of the public. The
more the people of any small community
can trust the advertising in their local
newspaper, for example, the more will they
trust advertising in the national publica
tions which they read. And vice versa.
The outlook is very hopeful. Most easily
observable are the efforts of the greatest
national publications. These publications
are selling advertising space for what it is
worth, or less, at an established rate per
line, which is never cut, never deviated
from, based absolutely on a certain rate
per thousand of circulation. They are ex
cluding the untrustworthy, helping the
trustworthy, investigating scientifically
the merchandising conditions in many
lines of industry, conscientiously declining
to accept advertising which does not seem
likely to succeed, and striving in every
way to multiply the success of that which
they do accept.
Quite as significant, though less obvious,
is the activity with which the hordes of
petty advertising schemes are being lopped
off. Business men in many cities, through
their boards of trade, are in organized
revolt against fake directories, worthless
special editions, "programs" issued by
misguided social organizations, and the
"advertising" whose only purpose is to
sugar-coat the pill of blackmail or to dis
gorge a contribution for some doubtful
"charity." Experience with some of these
misuses has soured a great many sensible
men on advertising in toto.
Between the two extremes of big adver
tising and little advertising lies a wide
range through all of which is clearly evi
dent a wholesome spirit of unrest.
Newspapers are rebelling against the
free reading-notice, bill-posting associa
tions are pointing to a higher standard of
art, printers are studying to make bookie' -and
circular matter more effective, adver
tising men are forming vigilance associa
tions to prosecute frauds, legislatures are
passing restrictive laws. All of these move
ments mean progress, and rapid progress,
toward the end that advertising shall be
employed only when it ought to be em
ployed, and only in the strongest and most
effective manner.
This will mean the saving of millions
of dollars now spent for so-called "adver
tising." But there seems no likelihood that the
aggregate of advertising expenditures will
ever be less. It will be much more. For
a proper increase of advertising through
legitimate channels will be the result of
the reduction of this waste in improper
directions. In local newspaper advertis
ing, in honest trade-paper publicity, and
in correct national advertising, with their
attendant follow-up, we may expect to see
the totals mount and mount as present
advertisers gain more strength and as new
advertisers enter the field.
The new advertisers, unquestionably,
will represent many important commod
ities which are not today extensively ad
vertised. There are great groups of staples and
necessities the distribution of which is in
the hands of conservative, old-line firms
who have not yet discerned that advertis-
ing is their most economical means of
creating and holding demand from the
consumer. This is particularly true of the
enormous classification of textiles.
Some commodities are, as a whole, await
ing the development of speedier and cheaper
transportation, or the working out of other J
economical methods of national distribu
tion, before they can be heavily advertised
in national periodicals. Perishable prod
ucts, like certain fruits, dairy products
and vegetables, obviously cannot be shipped
longdistances. National advertising would E
create a demand covering a wider territory
than could be reached, and too much of
the advertising would therefore go to
waste. Heavy articles, like stoves, refrig
erators, large pieces of furniture, brick,
lumber, and other goods which carry high
freight charges, still have a somewhat 1
limited circle of economical distribution.
A few manufacturers have already solved
these problems, by such methods as estab
lishing branch distributing points; more
can solve them if they will seek expert
advice, and eventually many of these
articles will be strong advertising possi
bilities. There are many products which will be
more widely advertised when the con
sumer has been a little better educated.
Building materials, for example, are still a
good deal of a mystery to the layman,
Already varnish, roofing, cement, hard'
ware, wall-boards, some kinds of lumber,
are being made known by name to the
consumer. As the owners of houses and
business buildings become better informed
about the importance of knowing the re
spective merits of the things that enter
into construction, the manufacturers will
respond. In this field, however, as in many
others, the manufacturers themselves can
successfullv take the initiative in the
education of the buying public.
But significant above all is the evidence
that advertising in the future may be qI
great general benefit in making the life ol
the nation more rational.
For advertising is the great leveled
Faults, crookedness, inefficiency it exposes.
Merits, honesty, efficiency it brings to
It rules by the survival of the fittest.