What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago this week?
“He shall receive another CARGO … so that at all Times the Public may be assured of seeing the greatest Variety.”
Philip Tidyman, a jeweler and goldsmith, alerted prospective customers in Charleston that he imported “A LARGE ASSORTMENT OF PLATE, JEWELS,” and other merchandise. His inventory included gold watches, “Pearls in all Fancies,” tea kettles, and coffee pots. His wares matched current tastes in London, “all new-fashioned” for discerning consumers. Tidyman hoped that the items he already stocked would entice readers to visit his shop, but he did not focus exclusively on his current inventory. Instead, he emphasized that he constantly received new merchandise. Customers did not have to worry about the selection in his shop stagnating.
Tidyman proclaimed that he “shall receive another CARGO per Captain WILSON” in the near future as well as “Patterns of all new Goods in every London Ship” that arrived in the busy port. That meant that “at all Times the Public may be assured of seeing the greatest Variety in every Branch of his Business.” Rather than wait for Tidyman to publish subsequent advertisements, customers could keep current by making repeat visits to his shop. The jeweler suggested that they were bound to discover something new on each trip. In so doing, he attempted to create a sense of anticipation among consumers, not only desire for his current merchandise but also longing for whatever might arrive via the next vessels from London.
This strategy may have helped Tidyman distinguish his advertisement from one that Jonathan Sarrazin placed for a “LARGE and ELEGANT Assortment of PLATE and JEWELLERY” in the same issue of the South-Carolina Gazette. Like Tidyman, Sarrazin stated that he “just imported” this merchandise, but he did not give any indication that he expected additional shipments to keep his inventory fresh. He published an advertisement for the moment, while Tidyman crafted a marketing strategy intended to endure for quite some time after his notice ran in the newspaper.