What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago this week?
“The surest Means to acquire a speedy Sale … is to make them of full Quality, at a moderate Charge, and good Attendance.”
Richard Deane, “DISTILLER, from “LONG-ISLAND,” considered experience one of the best markers of quality for the spirits that he sold in New York. He stocked “a Quantity of neat Brandy, Geneva, Spirits of Wine, and Cordials of different Sorts” as well as “the very best Quality” shrub and New York rum. In an advertisement in the October 1, 1772, edition of the New-York Journal, he attempted to leverage a precursor to name recognition or brand recognition, stating that the “good Quality of said DEANE’s Brandy, Geneva, and Cordials, has for several Years past been well experienced” by satisfied customers. In turn, he redoubled his efforts “to excel in that particular Branch of Business” to further enhance his distillery’s reputation.
Deane elaborated on his business philosophy in a note that concluded his advertisement, confiding that he was “fully convinced by long Experience, that the surest Means to acquire a speedy Sale of the above Articles, is to make them of full Quality, at a moderate Charge, and good Attendance, which, with every other Endeavour to give Satisfaction, will be the constant Study, of the Public’s very obliged humble Servant.” A manicule drew attention to the distiller’s promise to combine high quality, reasonable prices, and excellent customer service. In many ways, Deane’s marketing strategy anticipated those deployed by breweries and distilleries today. Many modern companies link their beers and spirits to traditions that date back to previous centuries, invoking a heritage their founders passed down through generations. They invoke “long Experience” to encourage consumers to feel as though they participate in customs of significance when they imbibe beverages from their breweries or distilleries. That “long Experience” also testifies to quality. After all, breweries and distilleries would not remain in business so long if generations of customers did not appreciate their beers and spirits. The philosophy that Dean expounded at the conclusion of his advertisement in the New-York Journal is the type of historical record that modern advertising executives would love to exploit in connection to the products they market.