Why Read the Advertising Pages?

Earlier this year, while preparing the 20th Century historical perspective article published in our February issue, I had the privilege of reviewing many past issues of bothIndustrial HeatingandFuels and Furnaces, the forerunner ofIndustrial Heating. Much of the information used to prepare that article came from advertisements that appeared in volumes ofIHandF&Fdating from 1924 to 1990.
Of specific note was an editorial that appeared in the 1924 volume (Vol. 2) ofFuels and Furnaces. I thought it worthy of repeating at some point in the future and now, as we prepare our Media Kit for the upcoming year, is as good a time as any. To those of you who still ponder the value of advertising, let me remind you that advertising will not only bring immediate recognition to your company, but will do so for many years to come.

"Among the readers of technical papers there are still a few who fail to appreciate the value of the advertising pages. Upon opening a magazine they glance first of all at the illustrations in the text, then at the head-lines of the articles and finally read a few of the shorter items. The paper is then laid away, and the longer articles are read later, at a more convenient time. The advertising pages, if looked at, are regarded with indifference and considered a necessary evil because it is generally acknowledged that any publication receives its support primarily from this source and that without them there would be no technical magazine.
"Readers of this class, as a rule, are young and inexperienced. Men of mature experience and of influence realize that in order to keep abreast of the very latest developments they must not only read the editorial content of their journal thoroughly, but must do likewise with regard to the advertising pages. Strange as it may seem to the inexperienced reader, it is nevertheless true that the advertising pages carry valuable information on equipment that may solve his most troublesome problem. The stating of a few facts will prove the correctness of this assertion. Technical progress in fuels and furnaces is rapid, and the first authoritative statement about new developments is almost invariably found in advertisements. Long before the engineer of a concern is ready to read a paper on a new furnace or heat treating device, the publicity manager runs an advertisement about it. Furthermore, the advertisements carry announcements and give much valuable information in regard to installations in which the advertised equipment is working out satisfactorily. Details that may appear too trivial to be made the subject of a separate article, are often mentioned in advertisements, and indicate the trend of development.
"As soon as a man arrives at a position of responsibility, he realizes that by reading the advertising pages conscientiously he is informed of the latest progress. No firm is entirely self-contained. Even the largest firm must buy equipment in order to go forward, and the advertising pages are the show-window through which the sagacious manager, superintendent, engineer, or foreman sees the new tool that will help him in his work.
"Most advertisers appreciate the fact that the advertising pages are a show-window for their wares, and give considerable thought to the preparation of advertisements so that each issue presents a different fact or illustrates a different application of their equipment, usually shown in such concise manner that it requires only a few minutes to ascertain its nature.
"The policy adopted by some advertisers of inserting one advertisement and repeating it indefinitely has doubtless had a tendency to make readers view with scorn the suggestion of studying ads. However, this easy-going method can be afforded only by a few concerns who are known throughout the nation and who have practically no competition. But even most of these concerns are adopting a policy of changing their copy monthly, and today those who are willing to be instructed will find a wealth of information in the advertising pages.
"In practically all of the larger companies of the present day, the advertising is handled by an expert in the manufacturer's own organization or by advertising specialists in an advertising agency, whose entire energies are devoted to the preparation of educational copy for the mutual benefit of reader and manufacturer.
"The reader owes it to himself to peruse carefully the advertising pages as well as the editorial pages because they have been designed and written for his benefit and in his best interests."

I couldn't agree more.

Keith Patrick