What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?
“He makes all sorts of coaches … equal to any imported from England.”
William Deane made appeals to price and quality in an advertisement for the coaches he constructed at his shop “in Broad-street” in the August 2, 1773, edition of the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury. Compared to most other advertisers, however, he devised much more elaborate marketing strategies to convince prospective customers of the price and quality he offered.
Deane started by describing the various services in his shop. He made several different kinds of carriages as well as “all sorts of harness and saddlers work.” In addition, he also did “painting, gilding and Japanning, in the neatest and most elegant manner.” Deane emphasized that he achieved a high level of quality while offering the lowest possible prices because he did not outsource any of those jobs to artisans. Instead, he “finishes all carriages whatever in his own shop, without applying to any other.” Accordingly, he was “determined to make them as good, sell them as cheap, and be as expeditious as there is a possibility.”
The carriagemaker realized that he needed “to convince the public of the truth of what he asserts.” To that end, he vowed that he “will make any piece of work that is required, equal to any imported from England, and will sell it at the prime cost of that imported.” His customers did not have to sacrifice either price or quality, one for the other, when they supported domestic manufacture by purchasing carriages made in his shop in New York. Furthermore, they benefitted from additional bargains since they “will save the freight, insurance, and the expences naturally attending to putting the carriages to rights after they arrive.” In so many ways, purchasing a carriage from Deane was so much easier than importing one made in England. In addition, he “has now a considerable stock of the best of all materials fit for making carriages,” so he was ready to serve customers who placed orders.
Deane offered a “further inducement,” a one-year guarantee on the carriages made in his shop. He had been providing guarantees in newspaper advertisements for at least six years (including in an advertisement with nearly identical copy in the New-York Journal more than a year earlier). The carriagemaker declared that he “will engage his work for a year after it is delivered, that is, if any part gives way, or fails by fair usage, he will make it good at his own expence.” To make the choice even more clear, he underscored that prospective customers would not have access to that kind of customer service in maintaining their carriages if they opted for ones made in England. “Those advantages,” Deane intoned, “cannot be obtained on carriages imported.”
The carriagemaker’s advertisement revolved around price and quality. He did more than make casual reference to them, developing a sophisticated marketing strategy that touted the advantages of purchasing carriages made in his shop. He used only the best materials and oversaw every aspect of the construction to produce carriages that rivaled in craftsmanship those imported from England. He also offered competitive prices, especially since his customers saved on shipping and insurance, and a one-year guarantee on any parts that might require repairs. Deane sought to convince prospective customers that all of this made his carriages the best choice.