This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Perhaps in no other country is the press so liberally patronized by seedsmen, florists and nurserymen as in the United States. In their advertising seasons, which cover most of the months of the year, we can rarely pick up a periodical that does not contain some of their advertisements; and journals of established reputation contain column after column of such "Ads," the cost of which must be high in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Every business man must fully appreciate the value of advertising, and in this age when in every department of life's work-shop progress is making such gigantic strides, when that which is " best ' to-day is surpassed to-morrow, it is absolutely necessary to use "printers' ink" freely. But it is only "judicious advertising" that pays. The advertisement must be neat, attractive, well worded, and, above all, it must have an honest face. "Free," "Given Away," etc., do not refer to valuable articles, and will not prove a " bonanza " to an advertiser who is doing a legitimate business and expects to continue it for years to come. In order that advertising shall pay, it is necessary that the advertiser's standing or integrity shall be as high in the opinion of the reader as any of his competitors, and this reputation he must maintain untarnished.
The constant reader of any publication will have more confidence in the publisher than he will in the man who occasionally or even frequently uses the columns of the journal as an advertiser; hence I believe if a publisher and an advertiser offer for sale the same article in the advertising columns, the orders from the readers of that paper will almost invariably be sent to the publisher and not to the legitimate advertiser. In such cases the advertising pays the publisher who has used the article advertised as a bait to catch subscribers and whose space occupied by such advertisement has cost him nothing, as it would have to be filled with some kind of matter before it was printed; and it does not pay the legitimate advertiser who pays hard cash to the tune of from 50 cents to $2.00 a line for each insertion of his advertisement, which is eclipsed by the standing of (in such cases) his competitor, the publisher. I have been induced to write this article from the receipt of a journal which solicited an "ad" to place before its 60,000 readers. We granted its request, forwarded an electro of the advertisement, and have just received a copy of the paper containing the advertisement.
It ought to pay; it would pay and pay well, but on the next page, facing our small "ad," is the publisher's advertisement of three solid columns, fifty different collections of greenhouse plants and bulbs. The space of this advertisement would cost at published rates $210.00 for one insertion. We have not fainted, but shall not be compelled to increase our working force in order to fill the orders derived from that "ad" of ours. This is not an isolated case. Seeds, bulbs and plants are offered as premiums by many publications, and yet, we in the trade patronize the publishers even though they take our business from us. We are aware there is another side to this story, but we have not time. to anticipate the arguments and refute them now; we are writing of an injustice done and being done to our brethren in the business as well as ourselves; and as the Gardeners' Monthly is, or should be, read by all of you, we place the article (if the Editor will permit) in its columns for your consideration, with the hope that it may raise some movement whereby the evil may be eradicated or the columns of such publications be left "severely alone " by all our advertisers.
New Brighton, Pa.
[We admit this as we often do others, because we love to give the most liberal interpretation to free discussion. But advertising is wholly a matter for individual calculation as to profit and loss, and the last lines of our correspondent's communication really cover all that can be said about it. An advertiser should let an advertising medium severely alone if he feels that the odds are against his getting any benefit from it.- Ed. G. M. ]