Selling Themselves

Selling Themselves: The Emergence of Canadian Advertising

Russell Johnston
Copyright Date: 2001
DOI: 10.3138/9781442679733
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442679733
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  • Book Info
    Selling Themselves
    Book Description:

    From its origins in the Victorian era as a marginal and somewhat shady enterprise, the advertising trade in Canada changed radically after the turn of the century ? rising quickly to a position of influence and respectability.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7973-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-17)

    Sam Slick pulled his cart up before the shop where Zeb Allen waited, leaning in the doorway. Slick was a pedlar from Connecticut, a specialist in clocks. Allen was a Bluenose, a Nova Scotian shopkeeper in the dry-goods line. In Slickʹs eyes, he was also a ʹrael genuine skinflint.ʹ They got to talking.

    Slick ventured that after a yearʹs travels throughout the province he would soon be done and out of the clock line. Zeb laughed: ʹMost time ... for by all accounts the clocks warnʹt worth havinʹ, and most infarnal dear too; folks begin to get their eyes open.ʹ...

  5. Chapter 1 Newspapers, Advertising, and the Rise of the Agency, 1850–1900
    (pp. 18-51)

    James Poole was probably a typical mid-nineteenth-century Canadian publisher. In 1860, in the rural countryside of eastern Ontario, Poole owned and operated the Carleton PlaceHerald, a four-page weekly paper upholding the Liberal cause. It carried his reports of local people and events, stories from around the world brought in by telegraph, and – on every single page – advertisements. He had a good variety of ads. Local people with produce to sell, personal ads, out-of-town financial houses offering investments and insurance, and railways and steamship operators running their monthly schedules all found a spot in his pages. Far more...

  6. Chapter 2 Toronto Adworkers
    (pp. 52-78)

    At eighteen years of age, John C. Kirkwood was obsessed with his career. He didnʹt have one, but he desperately wanted one. The specific job was unimportant, but his goals were very precise. Maddeningly, they also seemed irreconcilable: genteel respectability on the one hand and fabulous wealth on the other. He yearned for a middle way. Kirkwood resigned himself to a career in teaching and imagined that this would bring him respectability and, at the least, a secure income. However, even these modest hopes were dashed when he was struck down by a severe illness just four weeks into his...

  7. Chapter 3 A Professional Ideal
    (pp. 79-100)

    Traffic stopped. Crowds gathered five deep on the sidewalk and spilled out into the streets as the exuberant sound of the pipes grew nearer. It was April 1915, and a city at war ground to a halt as a ʹmonster pageant paradeʹ wound its way through the streets of Toronto. Thirty floats and wagons, decorated to the nines with bunting and flowers, were led by the 48th Highlanders Pipe and Drum Regiment. Scattered throughout the procession, a patriotic corps of diligent Boy Scouts unfurled banners boosting the merits of the Queen City. An even greater spectacle could be found at...

  8. Chapter 4 The Industry Takes Shape, 1900–1921
    (pp. 101-141)

    In 1895 periodical publishing was the job of publishers. Publishers had their differences with Anson McKim and his rivals, but it was they who held the reins of power within the industry. By 1905 this situation was no longer as clear as it had once been. As the volume of advertising increased, so too did the number of agencies. Their appearance was conditioned by a felt need within the marketplace for middlemen connecting advertisers with publishers. By answering this need, however, the agents drew their income from a system that had previously functioned without them. With or without agents, advertisers...

  9. Chapter 5 Copywriting, Psychology, and the Science of Advertising
    (pp. 142-179)

    ʹThe Man at the Tee Box.ʹ Here was the perfect image of the advertising man as he wanted to see himself. Cresting the hill, rising above the landscape and gazing out over his domain, he stands with arm outstretched, confidently pointing the way. He dominates the scene while another figure, ostensibly his equal but currently marginal, scurries about in vain. A man, square-jawed and clear-sighted, clean-shaven and impeccably dressed, he cuts a sporting figure on the sunlit green.

    What more could the status-hungry adworker crave? Golf was the tradeʹs unofficial sport, the arrivistesʹ mark of distinction. For A.J. Denne, it...

  10. Chapter 6 Market Research and the Management of Risk
    (pp. 180-227)

    Joseph Tetley and Company began importing a high-quality blended tea into Canada in 1889. When it did, the English company asked a Toronto agent to handle its introduction, someone who knew the Canadian market. Tetley asked Timothy Eaton. Eaton gladly shared his knowledge of conditions around Toronto. Tetleyʹs tea, he felt, was of a very high calibre. Such teas were not found in Ontario in large quantities. Quite the opposite – Eaton felt the country was ʹfull of rubbishʹ where tea was concerned, so much so that the general public could not even recognize a good tea. In his Toronto...

  11. Chapter 7 The Canadian Market, Magazines, and the New Logic of Advertising
    (pp. 228-266)

    W.J. Healy had good cause to ponder this question. He oversaw the advertising revenues of the highest circulating periodicals in Canada, the MontrealStarand its weekend edition, theFamily Herald and Weekly Star. Both had circulations over 100,000. No Canadian magazine came close. With no competition from a strong consumer magazine in Canada, both papers dominated the field in national advertising, as well as the Montreal field in retail advertising. Magazine circulation was so fragile that most national campaigns began with a list of daily papers stretching from coast to coast and relegated magazines to a secondary role, serving...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 267-276)

    Bertram Brooker could afford to be flippant. By the mid-1920s advertising had achieved a certain cachet within the publishing industry, and advertising agents were riding what was probably the largest volume of appropriations ever seen in Canada. It was both curious and revealing that he should compare himself and his peers – even in this backhanded fashion – to the learned professions, as opposed to, say, skilled tradesmen or businessmen. Clearly, Brooker was having some fun at the expense of his readers by exposing their yearnings for a respectable public image while distancing themselves from the past. A less charitable...

  13. Appendix
    (pp. 277-282)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 283-338)
  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 339-348)
  16. Index
    (pp. 349-355)