What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?
“The Taylor’s Business is carried on in all its branches.”
When Jonathan Remington, a tailor, moved to a new location early in 1770, he placed an advertisement in the Georgia Gazette so prospective clients would know where to find him. Although he devoted much of the notice to giving directions, he also incorporated, though briefly, several marketing appeals. “The Taylor’s Business,” he proclaimed, “is carried on in all its branches, in the genteelest manner, and with the utmost dispatch.” Remington deployed formulaic language, though its familiarity to consumers may have been an asset. Such brevity may have also allowed the tailor to keep down the costs of advertising while still promoting several aspects of his services.
In that single sentence, he communicated that he possessed a range of skills associated with his trade, declaring that he was qualified to pursue “all its branches.” Prospective clients need not worry that they might present him with requests too difficult or beyond his experience. He also made a nod to fashion, asserting that he did his work “in the genteelest manner.” That appeal also implied the quality of his work. Prospective customers would not look as though they had visited a second-rate tailor. They could don his garments and confidently go about their daily interactions with other colonists without fearing that careful observation resulted in damaging judgments. Remington’s pledge to tend to clients “with the utmost dispatch” testified to the customer service he provided.
Remington also attempted to attract new customers by leveraging his former customers as evidence of his abilities. He expressed gratitude to “his friends and good customers for their past favours, and hopes for the continuance of them.” In making that acknowledgment, Remington sought to maintain his current clientele while implicitly extending an invitation to new customers to visit him at his new location. He reported that his services were already in demand, hoping to incite additional demand among readers of the Georgia Gazette who had not previously employed his services. He played on consumer psychology that demand, or even the appearance of demand, could create additional demand.
Although not extensive, Remington’s advertisement delivered several marketing appeals intended to make his services attractive to prospective clients. He relied on standardized language that allowed him to deliver messages grounded in the consumer culture of the period in relatively few words.