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The Advertising Value of the Motor Vehicle,

22nd March 1917, Page 12
22nd March 1917
Page 12
Page 14
Page 12, 22nd March 1917 — The Advertising Value of the Motor Vehicle,
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Various Methods by which the Body of a Commercial Motorvan can be Used as an Advertising Medium.

The advertising value of a motor vehicle to a wholesale or retail business has naturally considerably declined since the general adoption of motor vehicles by businesses of any size. The time has gone by when passers-byconsidered a motor vehicle as the sign of overwhelming efficiency and affluence, and stared at the machine as though it were an antediluvian beast let loose. Most men, the sueeeas of whose business hinges, to a great extent, on a successful transport system, have recognized long ago that the motor vehicle is indispensable, being far mom efficient and cheaper than the horsevehicle.

Everything Should Advertise Product.

Yet it is the duty of a business man to see that everything connected with his business shows somehow or other that he leads the way amongst his competitors, in other words, everything connected with him should advertise his name and product, from the office boy to the wrapping of the product itself.

Necessary to Create a Stare.

A motor vehicle is seen by everyone. It is a free space in the atmosphere with no advertising rates attached to it, and as such it should be itihzed. Formerly, the vehicle itself was an advertisement, being outstanding amongst astonished herses and gaping crowd ; now it is necessary to create a stare and remark by the originality, suitability and distinction of good " copy." A car or vehicle of an original design always attracts notice. Two or three of similar design, not necessarily peculiar, but neat, convey an idea of prosperity to the most casual passer-by. Bold lettering on a body can be seen and read by everyone; the more original and individual the statement, the more attractive it is to the careless reader. Yet the chief point to remember is that the advertising value of a motor vehicle should never be placed before its efficiency. For example, a body should never be designed with a view to its peculiarity. of visible form, and consequent disregard of the interior arrangements. .A sacrifice of this kind should never be made as the whole value of a motor vehicle lies in its all-round suitability for its work.

The Freak Type of Body.

Peculiarity of outward form has been attempted on several occasions, and is, of course, excellent for arresting the attention of nearly


everyone who sees it. Our illustrations show a body shaped as a portion of tire, for the vehicle of a tire manufacturer, and one in the form of a sharpened pencil for pencil manufacturers. Yet although in these cases the result may be excellent, the generality of businesses would be adapt the design of their vehicle body to. resemble that of the product being sold. It is not likely that we shall see biscuits, gas stoves, dyeing machines, or such things careering about the streets disguised as motor vehicles; although in the cases mentioned., the result is good, and the idea might be further developed. But what most concerns the general user of motor vehicles

is the fact that the body of the machine can easily be used as a field for announcements.

The First Advertising Requisite.

The first requisite is that the name of the owner appears in bold, easily-readable type, in harmony alike . with the shape, size and colour of the body. Whether the address should also appear on the side of the body depends on the status of the owner ; a big firm, whbse name is a household word, naturally has no need to advertise its address. A well-known name standing by itself is by its mere simplicity a cunning advertisement. It says : "Everybody knows all about rue; that's enough!" The comparatively unknown man should, however, give his address, as to give an unknown name without the address, is not only uselessbut annoying.

When Elegancy is Permissible.

Fancy types should certainly not be used, if their fanciness tends to destroy their legibility; also, such types are not suitable for certain trades. What may be called the feminine trades, that is, trades where a certain amount of prettiness and taste is expected, should, of course, consider the beauty of their body design. There is a certain big florist in New York who employs quite an ornamental body, the design being floral, and the bodY sides of glass, the floor of the vehicle being placed as near as possible to. the ground, so as to permit the carriage of tall plants, and decorative palms and shrubs. There is a certain fresh .ness and coolnessabout the

• 'vehicle highly suggestive of flowers, . while the colouring throughout is green to harmonize with the load. B'ig milliners and lady's-wear stores can effectually mtroduce a touch of tasteful colour in their vehicles ; even a motor vehicle can appear chic.

• What Colour ?

With regard to colour, delicate colours should be avoided because they dirty so soon. • There is, however, a great value in distinctive colour. A Post Office vehicle can be distinguish-ed amongst a • thousand in' its brilliant red. In the horse-vehicle age, coloured van bodies were very largely used: We can recollect innumerable stripe arrangements, brilliant red and canary yellow, powder blue, emerald green.A dark rich red, with gold. lettering, is a striking,

harmonious arrangement, or a chocolate brown. White bodies have a tendency to get grubby, and used by a laundry, say, would be suggestive (although, we might add, a white body kept exceptionally clean would be the very thing). Litt14 points like this have their importance. What would one think, tor instance, of a milliner employing a vehicle whose body is glaringly out of taste? Yet a layilliantlycoloured stripe arrangement on the lower part of the body is quite in taste for a grocer, whose shop windows a-re usually a meclley of colour, and suggestive of the miscellaneous richness of his goods. With a laundry, cleanliness is the essential point ; with a furniture remover, ,capacity, big lettering ; with a newspaper, swiftness, suggested by sweeping lines. A nosed vehicle of the torpedo shape, dashing about a town, is eminently suggestive of up-to-lateness, a kind of spirit of here, there, and everywhere. The fire-wagon is flaming red, the florist car verdant green, the funeral hearse sombre black, the prison van dinginess itself.

What Beside Name and Address?

There is another most important point, namely, what to put in addition. to the,name and address. The side of a van should never be crowded with lettering ; it is the fault of the man who blurts out his whole life in one breath, and remains for the future absolutely uninteresting. " Whiteleys " or" Harrods" or Liptons " is enough for vehicles in the Service of such wellknown firms. Perhaps in the case of the latter " Tea" might be added as a constant associate of the name. But when a product is known, and the maker unknown, then the name of the product must hold the premier position. "Bovril," " Mazawattee Tea," "Waterman Pens," " Lifebuoy Soap," "The Daily' Telegraph "—these are the important facts, the names of the makers are absolutely of no advertising value.

Naming a Special Line.

Another point is that when a business, such as a retail gi.ocery, for example, is not very well known by name, and is a dealer in innumerable, products, not only one thing, it is essential that the fact that he is a grocer should be apparent at. first glance. "John Smith" and " Grocer " apart are of no value ; the two joined together forma whole which gives a fact. This may he further developed if the grocer in question has a special line of which he is proud, and for which he desires to be famed, such as "Home-Made Jams," "Formosa, Tea," "Indian Chutney," and so on ; a,nd such additions may *even assume a.pric-rity of place and

TKO size, because they indicate themselves the nature of the business. A person whose curiosity is aroused by "Prime Ham "needs to know the name and address of the seller, but has no need to learn the fact that the seller is a, grocer— that is self-evident. Such advertising of specialities is usually influenced by the season ; accordingly, many users of motor vehicles have adopted the habit of using a panel of the body as a. species of notice-board, upon which different announcements may be affixed without trouble. The newspapers were pioneers in this direction, their vehicles having the usual news posters attached to the sides. Other businesses let out such panels as advertising space, but this subject will be dealt with in a future article.

• Announcements on Back of Vehicle.

Any announcement on the side of a vehicle should certainly be re

peated on the back, as more often than not, any printed matter on the side may not be quickly enough read by the passer-by. It serves to attract his attention, causing him to turn after the vehicle, but if the advertisement is not repeated in the back panelling, he is faced by a blank when he turns to see that which attracted him, and there i5 no advertising v i alue n such a ease. This refers, of course, to panelled bodies. Open bodies have no means of direct advertising, exeept by placing boards on the sides.

Pictorial Design.

Pictorial reproductions on bodies are of value, in the same way as are posters. They naturally lend an air of brightness to the vehicle. An heraldic sign, a coat-of-arms, medals gained at industrial exhibitions are often reproduced, and give a. smart finishing touch, but it should be seen that the rest of the

body design and general appearance of the vehicle should correspond in " aristocracy" of bearing; otherwise, it is merely laughable.

Telephone Number Given.

Telephone numbers and telegraphic address are often seen on bodies, but they are not of much real use, as such things are not easily remembered, and people do not look for them on the body of a van when they really need them.

Two Points to Remember.

Let us repeat once more : two points should always be remembered when considering the advertising value of a motor vehicle. Firstly, such a Consideration should be secondary. The motor vehicle is first of all a means of transport, and the arrangement of the interior of the vehicle should be the first consideration. The interior should never be sacrificed to the exterior.. Secondly, distinction, not peculiarity, of design. and announcement is the best advertisement.

Appearance and Character of Driver.

Another point of advertising value is the appearance and character of the driver. He should always be in a uniform for any kind of retail house-to-house delivery, and there should be some discrimination shown in choosing him, as a. man with a surly nature is a bugbear to customers. A smile in the right place is perhaps the most important asset in salesmanship. It might best be remarked that Britishers have a good reputation in this connection ; compared with Continental, American or Oriental salesmen, they are, in the opinion of one who has had wide experience, as fine gold is to baser metal.


Organisations: Post Office
Locations: New York

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