Page images
PDF
EPUB

pay for their own houses in the comparatively pure air of the West-end.

We confess we do not put much faith in the value of the promised edict of the Board of Trade. The want of system in our railway communications cannot now be mended by the hurried consultations of a few officials. To attempt a consolidation of the different lines, such as shall give a free intercommunication between all parts of this vast metropolis, on any symmetrical plan, considering the want of symmetry that already exists in the exterior lines themselves, would be like attempting to mend a Gothic building by piecing it together with Greek work. All that we can now do is to gather up the ends of the different threads of communication in the best way we can, leaving that way to the ultimate judgment of the shareholding public.

ADVERTISING.

It is high time that the art of Advertising should form an important element of education at our commercial academies. Of what consequence is it to a youth who is destined to become an energetic member of the clothing profession, or a pushing grocer, or a cutting baker, that he should load his mind with items of Roman history, or rack his memory with that promiscuous number of questions and answers Miss Mangnall has left behind her to the misery of schoolboys ?

The first duty of a tradesman is to puff his goods, and the boy that is to be brought up to trade should be carefully inducted into the art and mystery of doing this in the most skilful and original manner. Mr. William Smith, acting-manager of the Adelphi, should be elected the first professor of this art, for he has just published a little work in which he very clearly sets forth that the chief use of all created things is to serve as an eligible medium for advertising. He would stick a poster on the moon if he could reach it, whilst nothing is too small in his eyes

as an advertising agent. Let us quote from his pen a familiar example :

The trays used for taking in grogs, or the stouts, could be turned into an advertising medium by having a centre and several divisions, like the spokes of a wheel, and enclosed in a circular margin. The rim, the centre, and every one of the several divisions could contain an advertisement either painted on or prepared with rice paper, and the same, paid by the advertiser, would leave a good profit over the expense of the tray manufactured in Birmingham.

Mr. Smith, like Napoleon, is too great a genius to be in the slightest degree influenced by the inconvenience his schemes cause to others ; nay, he even calculates upon that inconvenience and trouble as one element of success. For instance, during the run of the “ Dead Heart” at the Adelphi, he caused 10,000,000 adhesive labels to be worked off, shaped in the form of a heart, and inscribed with the name of the play, and these he instructed his agents to stick on every object, animate or inanimate, they came across. A gentleman returning from a dinner party, for instance, is found by his wife to have one of these labels pasted on his best dress-coat and three inside his hat, whereupon the lady indignantly protests against the impertinence, and adds, “It took me full an hour to wash it off.”

A genius less far-seeing than the author of “How to Advertise” would have felt some compunctions of conscience on the receipt of such an epistle. Not so Mr. Smith : on the contrary, he chuckles at her indignation, and adds, with the air of a man conscious of having done a clever thing, “ The lady little thought what publicity she was giving to the piece by communicating with her friends on the subject.” Surely the force of advertising impudence could no further go. Mr. Smith is great upon pictorial advertisements : he would have all tradesmen shape their trade-cards according to the form of the article they sell. The butcher should have his card of the shape of a leg of mutton; the poulterer should put into your hands a well-drawn turkey, inscribed with his name and address; Mr. Moses, instead of throwing away showers of books into cabs and omnibuses coming from the railway, should have cards made in the shape of a paletôt. No doubt this advice is sound, as we all know how indestructible an article is a card, and how it turns up from time to time in our drawers. But it is not enough to have a card clearly printed : it should have a loop of riband to hang it to a nail. Mr. Smith, who knows how much success depends upon trifling details, is very great upon the loop of silk.

But to leave Mr. Smith and his devices, we may survey for a moment, with wonder, the power of the advertisement viewed in its multifarious modes of application. There is Mr. Holloway, for example, who, by the mere force of money and Lord Aldborough's leg, has managed to scatter his salve-pots and his pills broadcast over the face of the earth. Many legs have been made famous,—that of Miss Kilmansege, of Madame Vestris, of Lord Anglesey ; but what does the world know of them compared with the afflicted member of this noble lord, which is paraded before the eyes of the four quarters of the globe, at an annual expense of £40,000 in advertisements? We hope the question is not an impertinent one, but we really should like to know from Professor Holloway what annuity he has settled upon that noble lord for the never-dying liberties taken with his sorely afflicted extremity ? Any man, with an expenditure of £40,000, and a British nobleman's leg as stock in trade, is pretty sure to go in and win; there is no ingenuity required, no flash of genius needed, to insure success. We feel no particular interest when the end is obtained by the dead weight of gold. Advertising, considered as one of the fine arts, on the other hand, opens up a fine field to the mind. In this line of art the mere dull iteration of an advertiser gives place to fancy, curiosity, wonder, sometimes a sense of incongruity as to time and place, which irresistibly impresses the mind. Miss Martineau, when in Egypt, saw “Warren's Jet Blacking” written in large white letters a yard high at the base of one of the Pyramids. What person who saw this simple announcement ever forgot it? The person who had the wit to ask, “Who's Eliza ?” on every wall both in and out of town, calculated justly upon the amount of curiosity it would create, especially as the query was repeated from week to week; and Dickens did not think it beneath him to profit by the hint when he posted the walls last Christmas with “Somebody's Luggage.” We were struck very much the other day by seeing on the walls in whitewash the question, “Who's Griffiths ? ” followed by the exclamation, “Thieves ! Thieves ! — Fire ! Fire ! ” a clever method of advertising a Patent Safe.

« PreviousContinue »