"For ten years it has been Elmer Wheeler's profession to find out for his clients what words, spoken across the counter, will sell merchandise. It is shrewd psychology applied to a neglected link in the chain of business...":
"Don't ask if, ask which. Don't ever give the customer the choice between something and nothing."
Wheeler knows he alone is not the gate keeper of successful sales pitches - he recalled seeing a blindman with a sign reading, "It's spring, and I am blind".
If advertising is defined as the craft of convincing people they want something that they actually don't care for, then World War II proved to have been the perfect challenge to the ad men of the 1940s. The wordsmith who penned this article regarding home front advertising chortled loudly when he saw the manner in which the bloodiest brawl in history was being marketed to the American consumers.
"Advertising has gone to war... and the advertising profession not only knows what we are fighting for; it knows down to the last uplift bra, what we want when we come home...It is the copywriters of advertising who nurse the carefully guarded secret that this war is, in reality, a luxury cruise."
Articles about the importance of fashion models in 1940s advertising can be read here.
"To grammarians, a verb is the strongest part of speech, but not to radio advertisers. In a survey of 15 national radio programs, the entertainment weekly VARIETY has found that adjectives receive the most voice emphasis and the most repetition. On one program, 28 adjectives were spoken in 15 minutes."
Click here to read about how the mass-marketing techniques of the W.W. I era was used to promote KKK membership...
"American advertising struck pay dirt when it discovered the super salesgirls whose irresistible allure will sell anything from a bar of soap to a seagoing yacht...Always there was the secret whisper of sex. For women it was, 'Be lovely, be loved, don't grow old, be exciting'... For men it was, 'Be successful, make everyone know that your successful, how can you get women if your not successful?'"
It was said to be the lowest form of advertising - when ad copy on TV or radio productions was disguised as theatrical content. It was widespread and it was called clouting.
The Selling of the President is about the role of television in the Republican efforts to elect Richard Nixon president in the 1968 election. Written over forty years ago by Joe McGinnis, the book was an instant classic as it addressed the matter of "packaging a candidate" for a political contest in the same manner products are promoted for the marketplace:
"McGinnis concludes that 'On television, it matters less that [the candidate] does not have ideas. His personality is what the viewers want to share...'"