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FOR SELLING AD COPY —
bean innea le os page eight) What are some typical emotional appeals?
Perhaps the best appeal in showmanship is to the desire to have fun, to be gay, to laugh. It is a characteristic of Americans that they will go to almost unheard of extremes to have a good time. Our newspapers abound with comic strips, and humorous feature writers; several humor magazines enjoy national circulation, and every high school and college has its magazine modeled after Life of Judge. You can’t over-estimate this desire on the part of the general public. By all means, play up to it at every opportunity.
The Sexual Urge
Even stronger and more universal that the one mentioned above, is the sexual urge. It is present in everybody except young children and old folks. It is the cause for half the activity in life — personal adornment, love, courtship, marriage, choice of certain occupations, and lots more too numerous to mention. It need not be base, neither need it be vulgar. The mild even noble reaction inspired by a Nancy Carroll, a Betty Bronson or a Mary Brian is as truly sexual as the more vigorous desires aroused by certain other stars.
Anything which smacks too strongly of sex, is, and rightfully so, taboo. The finer aspects of sex, however, far outweigh the baser. Sweetness, charm, piquancy, beauty, are all sexual charac
teristics. So are courage, dash, strength, tenderness, kindness, handsomeness, and weakness.
They are characteristics which appeal to men and to women, though in varying degree. What also appeals is the semblance of wickedness—profligacy, unlawful action, unconventionalism.,
The greatest care must be exercised not to use these appeals lest, without our realizing
_ it, we attempt to cash in on the flair for forbidden fruit. We must never forget that the majority of our patrons are women. When we attempt to sell something that is repugnant or offensive, something that custom, environment and training have decreed as being in poor taste, we are only preparing trouble for ourselves in decreased box-office returns and in threats of censorship.
Besides the foregoing, we can employ appeals to fear, anger, comfort, cleanliness, beauty, adventure, social longings, and a
host of others that will crop into the mind of every advertiser from
time to time.
Choice of Words |
We are now ready to take up another detail of the utmost im
portance in the preparation of an
advertisement—the choice of words that carry our message. That is what we mean by copy in the narrow sense.
In Publix Opinion for January 3rd, 1930, there appeared a brief resumé of fifty-three ways of writing an ad. Every style from the chatty, gossipy kind to the bald announcement was listed. A good many of those listed might be used to bring variety and spice into advertising messages which are strangely stereotyped in spite of the punch which stirring illustrations and copy are supposed to give. No attempt will be made to recommend any of the fifty-three methods because each has its value. But run over the list every now and then and refresh your memory.
Let us take a minute to consider the all copy ad. It is sur‘prising how effective they can be, and how rarely they are used. In
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In order to facilitate communication with the Candy Sales Department, it is advised that the offices of M. Schosberg, head of the department, are now located in Suite 801, Paramount Building, New York.
Inquiries regarding the installation dates of the Automatic Candy Vending Machines should be sent to the above address.
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one issue of a New York paper, a simple all copy ad signed by the director of a large theatre dominated an amusement page on which were larger ads, ads set in heavier type, and ads with illustrations. The copy was as follows:
I have just seen and heard a picture that is going to be a sensation.
“MEN WITHOUT WOMEN” is the name—and it has given me one of the really big thrills of my film lifetime.
John Ford, .whose “Four Sons” won Pi ctopiy Magazine’s Gold Medal as the best picture of 1928, directed this all talking William Fox Movietone drama.
James K. McGuiness and Didley Nichols, two New York newspaper men are responsible for the unusual story and realistic dialogue.
I wish I could convey to you the strength, the grip, the mighty power and stirring human appeal of this remarkable production. It is indescribably great, profoundly moving —an experience you will long re. member.
We are proud to present this wonderful screen achievement beginning tomorrow.
Note the lack of superlative exaggeration in this ad but note also how you get the superlative feeling when you read it. It would have been easy to say the ‘“‘greatest picture of the year’ as has been said so often before. Instead, the ad is content to say ‘a picture that is going to be a sensation.”’
Another Version ?
On the same day there appeared in one of the tabloids another ad for the same picture couched in language better suited for this type of reader. Here is the copy —there were no illustrations.
A word to be used with discretion —a word you will use with enthu siasm when you see the movietone melodrama “MEN WITHOUT WOMEN.”
Drama—stark—realistic—vivid . . emotions in the raw—love, hate, fear, madness....a story unusual, amazing—uritien by James K. McGuiness, a New York newspaperman... Dialog—bristling, pungent—written by Dudley Nichols, another talent taken from Park Row....Direction —masterly i in its perfection, by John Ford, winner of the Photoplay Gold Medal....Men Without Women. . sweating, hairy-chested men.. swag: gering, bantering, fighting men.... come to life in a picture you will long remember—
Accompanied by one of the distinctive stage shows for which this theatre has become internationally famous.
Study this copy carefully. It is fast moving, alive, full of snap and ginger. It makes use of uncommon adjectives — ‘‘sweating, hairychested men, swaggering, bantering, fighting men.” It uses superlatives judiciously—‘‘Great, a word to be used with discretion’”’—“‘a picture you will long remember.” This ad is not signed. It was evidently felt that the direct indorsement would not mean aS much to the readers of the tabloid as it would to the readers of class papers.
Remember, do not use an illustration unless it helps the purpose you have in mind. ‘Then choose
PUBLIX OPINION, WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2lst, 1930
FOR THOSE WHO SMOKE
For a man’s picture, there’s no place like a cigar store in which to
Note below the window card for which Les Kaufman of Balaban and Katz is responsible.
How about some of these down
Now Playing at Balaban & Katz
T HB UA
_ STATE ST. near WASHINGTON
the only harmful element in smoking
and SMOKE ALL YOU WISH”
(ON SALE HERE
the proper one. Each picture takes up valuable space!
Ad Head |
As a rule, an ad starts with a headline. A good headline does at least two things. It attracts attention to the ad, and it leads the reader to the text which follows the headline. Sometimes a startling statement, sometimes a question the answer to which
might be found in the succeeding
text, sometimes an uncompleted statement followed by a dash or two—each of these may prove helpful on occasion. For stimulating interest a question pertinent to the reader is of the utmost value.
After the headline comes the text. In most copy, there is a woeful contrast between the two. The headline has punch, vitality— the text often falls flat. If possible, copy should start, like a good program, with vigor, stick to a high level, and end with a climax. Because most motion picture copy is brief such a scheme should be followed with ease.
In this business, it is not a case of convincing people that they ought to go to the movies, but rather that they ought to go to your theatre today instead of to a rival’s. Hence, the practice in some general advertising, of trying to spur the reader to indefinite action is taboo.
The ad must tell the reader just what your program is, the playdates, location of theatre and methods of transportation if necessary, prices, and sometimes the coming attraction. The theatre name is not mentioned in the preceding list— it is too obvious. The theatre cut should stamp the advertisement and readers should gradually begin by habit, to look for it.
There is one other matter that deserves some consideration. The world is going “modern’’ in its decorative schemes, architecture and advertising. In a progressive society, such movements are
bound to find followers whether they are deserving or not. To formulate a policy in regard to modernism for an entire circuit is a foolish thing, but here are certain things to remember about it.
Modernism in advertising means, if anything, simplicity. Simplicity in layout, in type faces, in ideas expressed, in words used.
Art studios abound with garish ““masterpieces,’’ incomprehensible, violently jarring in color, reckless in design. That, no doubt, is modern but not in the commercial sense. Modernism in posters, bill boards, newspaper and magazine advertisements, and lobby panels merely attempts to convey a selling message directly, forcibly, and with an economy of means. That is why vivid, contrasting colors are used, that is why some modern type is but a simplified form of the old Gothic, that is why unusual designs and illustrations are used.
Anything that is freaky for the sake of being different is ‘not modernism. Anyone _ attempting to introduce such an element into his work is only copying a form without understanding the basic motives that prompted it in the first place.
Watch activities immediately about you. If stores, newspapers, and house builders go modern in your neighborhood, and if the public shows a preference for it, you may be missing out by not taking advantage of it. But do not introduce something that the majority of your patrons can neither understand nor appreciate. In all cases be governed by the results which your efforts bring. But do not be afraid to experiment.
MEDAL DISPLAY HELD
A display of medals from many countries, collected by the publicity: staff of the New York Paramount in connection with the showing of ‘‘Seven Days Leave,” proved so interesting to patrons that it was moved from the lobby to the mezzanine as a semi-permanent display, at the conclusion of the engagement of the picture.
STUDIO ON EVE
OF GREATEST PRODUCTION
Paramount Studio is on the eve of turning out some of the greatest product of the season, according to a wire sent from Hollywood by Jesse L. Lasky, Vice President in charge of Production, to President Sam Katz of Publix.
“* ‘Light of Western Stars’ looks
like an absolute knock-out,’ de
clared Mr. Lasky. “It honestly surpasses ‘The Virginian’ in entertainment value and I do not hesitate to state it is the greatest
Western outdoor picture thus far
produced from every point of view.
‘Safety In Women,’ (a tentative title) with Buddy Rogers, is a charming musical comedy and
should put Rogers over as the >
greatest young romantic juvenile musical comedy star on the screen. This picture has everything and it should far out-draw ‘Sweetie’ as pure entertainment.”’
Commenting upon the United Artist picture, ‘“‘Putting on the Ritz,’ starring Harry Richman, Mr. Lasky said: “In my opinion it will be a great box-office success. It is wonderful entertainment with laughs and tears alternating. Irving Berlin’s numbers are sensationally good. This picture has all the elements of a real money-maker.”’
For Opening Of ‘Vagabond King’
A novel manner of interesting prospective patrons in ‘“The Vagabond King,’ was conceived by Charles Branham, Florida district
|manager, who was ably assisted
in effecting the idea by Wally Allen, publicity director.
Two thousand stamped post cards, addressed to Division Director J. J. Friedl in Georgia, were distributed to patrons of the Tampa and Victory theatres. The cards read as follows: ‘‘Understand that 25 key cities will be awarded first showings of Paramount’s greatest production, ‘The Vagabond King,’ with Dennis King, entirely in natural color. Please include Tampa as one of these cities because I am sure the public here will appreciate the honor of hearing and seeing this attraction first.’’
The name and address of the correspondent was also forwarded, which incidentally, served as a basis of compiling a mailing list. A few days after the cards were sent, stories appeared in Tampa newspapers, telling of the selection of that city as one of the 25 to be awarded first showing of the picture.
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Almost instantaneous response by everybody in Publix greeted the article in Publix Opinion in which William M. Saal summarized the _ situation concerning shorts. Mr. Saal not only summarized but also offered a number of very definite suggestions to remedy it.
‘“T was pleased beyond measure,’’ said Mr. Saal, ‘‘at the immediate and wholehearted support evidenced by cooperation and activity on the part of bookers, advertising men and managers, both district and local. A number of these showmen tell me that they have the subject on their daily reminder calendars, for constant attention.”
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