The Attic: Visions of Women in 1920s Magazine Advertising
Articles About Advertising from the Advertiser's Viewpoint

From In Behalf of Advertising: A Series of Essays Published in National Periodicals From 1919 to 1928, 1929, N.W. Ayer& Son, Philadelphia

(as it appears in the book)

The essays printed in this book have appeared as advertisements in The Saturday Evening Post, The Literary Digest and other publications during the years from 19 19 to 1928. Their purpose has been not only to advertise N. W. Ayer & Son, over whose signature they have been published, but to increase the public understanding of advertising and enhance its value as a business tool.

It was our belief in the beginning that advertising conceived and carried out in this spirit would be valuable to the advertising business as a whole and would justify its expense to us.

After more than ten years of continuous advertising, with an expenditure of nearly two million dollars, we know this to be true.

The advertisements printed here are a representative collection. They appear, not in the sequence in which they were published, but grouped according to the character of subject matter. All were written by members of our own copy force and in their original form were arranged and illustrated by N. W. Ayer & Son artists. This publication in book from is in response to many requests from business firms, schools, libraries and individuals for a collection of the advertisements.


From page 3-6

Every day the presses pour forth the printed pages. Motor trucks wait to receive them. Newsboys cry them on bustling street corners. News-stands sell them to a multitude. By train and mail-man and carrier they reach the firesides of city and country.

These pages are vital to the thought and action of the nation. The city without newspapers is a city paralyzed, hesitating in its trade, given over to rumor and uncertain in its social life. The nation without newspapers or magazines would be a nation in the dark. It would be easily stampeded. It would suspect its neighbors because it would be ignorant of them. To have confidence in the very mechanism of life, men must know what other men are doing. The printed page tells them.

On the printed page is felt the pulse of life in many lands. One day an earthquake sweeps a distant nation. On the next relief is promised through these pages. At home two men desire political office. The election of one of them seems certain, yet the printed page has power to deflect the people's favor.

Here also men expect to find detailed and accurate descriptions of the merchandise they would purchase. By the printed page they are enabled to gauge the desirability of articles and to form their buying preferences. Here are determined the equipments of workshops and the decorative schemes for living-rooms, the make of the family's car and the contents of its market basket. Here are heralded the fashions of dress that are to hold sway this winter and next spring.

Twenty-five million American families buy twenty-nine million newspapers every day, not to mention the periodicals they receive by the week and the month. Out of magazines and newspapers they glean the ideas that are to rule their daily lives. They read the printed page with confidence. Its advertising carries conviction!

From pages 48-51

G. P. A.

Businesses may have their treasurers, their comptrollers, even their boards of directors who watch expenditures. By careful perusal of charts and graphs, by weighty conferences, they determine how annual income is to be spent.

But homes have their wives who do the same work in 25 million independent businesses, the households of America. Without elaborate research, without the counsel and the conferences of big business, these executives spend annually 40 billion dollars. They spend it amazingly well, too, though they are not specialized purchasing agents any more than they are specialized cooks, or interior decorators, or educators, or furnace tenders.

Their decisions are governed by the welfare of their families. "Is this breakfast food better for my children to eat? Will this davenport and these curtains, this lamp and this piano, make my home a pleasanter place to be? . . . Will this school give my daughter what I know she needs? . . . Would another kind of heating equipment make our home more comfortable, more healthful next winter?" These are samples of the questions they ask.

Always they visualize the ideal, these wives and mothers, before they consider economies. But they watch for economies as few business men do. By aptitude and training they are excellent shoppers. The competition for their attention, the courting of their favor, is tremendous. The way to their hearts and their purses is not easy, but it is clear. These general purchasing agents are readers of advertising, consistent, critical readers of advertising. It has been estimated that they buy more than eighty per cent of all advertised merchandise.

Addressing the women of America on the printed page is an art, but an art that can be applied with almost the exactitude of a science. Already it has meant the growth and continued success of many concerns who manufacture products useful in the business of making a home and rearing a family.

From page 23-25

Day after day, wherever there is human habitation, whenever there is the need to buy, a nation's shopping list is made. On it is written every commodity made or used by man. And on this list, again and again, are written the names of certain manufacturers and the names of certain brands.

They are the names and brands of manufacturers who have established direct communication with users of their products by the power of the printed page. In the homes of the people, these makers have told the truth about the things they make. They have described them with detail and accuracy, explaining their uses. They have planted knowledge, established confidence, created preference.

Through advertising they have lightened the burden of selling that lies on the shoulders of the merchant. To the reputation of the retailer they have added the confidence that reposes in a well-known trade-mark. They have assumed full responsibility for the character and measure of their merchandise.

By raising the standards of production, by implanting desire and cultivating it into ready consumer acceptance, they have reduced retail sales resistance and multiplied the dealer's turnover. Through advertising they have made profitable the territories that were weak. Through advertising they have created markets. These manufacturers do not struggle for distribution. They command it.

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