Text and images translated from Graphik – Werbung + Formgebung, 6, 1950
Advertisements of Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals – Seen by a chemist
As a chemist, I have an obligation to be curious – I grab a stack of our chemical journals and start with the advertising section. I start it, the walk through the sand. I don’t want to deny some oases. But soon I’m bored and tired. Do ads have to be like this? For comparison, I then use advertisements in American trade journals. A relaxation and a professionally instructive one at that. I am captivated, more often amused, more often stimulated. I mark and make notes.
Am I too demanding? Am I Americanized? Can one compare the advertising of the rich USA with that of our country? Of course not in terms of scope and color presentation. But after the way of advertising, certainly. It seems to me that we could learn a lot from comparisons. Three-quarters of our chemical adverts have only text and images that are too small and mostly unimpressive. In small print, the products are listed at length and thoroughly. According to the advertiser, that’s it. But who does such an ad appeal to? It is intended to attract, but it must not be expected to do reading work here. The advertiser’s reasoning error consists above all in the fact that he thinks he should offer as much as possible in the smallest and therefore cheap space. But advertising is different these days, e.g. For example, a shop window is no longer stuffed full, but rather a few pieces are shown in an impressive presentation.
American advertising makes much more use of images than we do. She also uses the humorous picture story. Everyone understands from the example given here that an agent is available that dissolves dirt particularly well in water. The specialist may smile, but the chemist and chemical salesman to whom the company in question offers this product notices the picture story and imprints it in his memory. Admittedly, this type of advertising cannot be directly copied. But one could skilfully “translate” them for our standards. ‘Facts are also very popular over there. Often only one product is offered, such as a chemical compound that is about to be launched. The advertisement goes into detail, gives plenty of physical and chemical data , uses, often even chemical equations – it resembles a small monograph.With well-known careful analyzes of advertising effectiveness, it has been established in America that unobtrusively instructive advertisements, for example about a chemical reaction, are particularly preferred by readers.
The use of a curve is also impressive whether it represents factory turnover, the number of employees, or more generally a country’s total production of a particular product, is comparatively irrelevant if only it increases. The rising production curve is often contrasted with the falling price curve. You don’t have to be able to read the exact values. Only briefly mentioned are the “service-to-customer-advertisements”. Large companies inform the reader in small presentations about new results in their field in a recurring arrangement. Of course, the company’s own products are not neglected, and illustrations also provide information about their possible applications. The advertising power here lies in the constant repetition of the same type of company headlines.
A detour into history is also worthwhile, even mythology is mobilized. After all, who will not smile when the bearded father Chronos, with hourglass and rusted scythe, is advised that he would have done better to use stainless steel from the company in question? The clear graphic representation of a production process, for example, is particularly memorable for the reader if, as is often the case, the main topic in the scientific text of the same issue is the same production. Additions between the editorial and advertisement sections increase the attention-grabbing effect. Once the advertisement has caught the reader’s eye, he will find a postage-free postcard or a coupon with almost all larger advertisements, which can be separated with two paper cutouts. He only needs to enter the sender if he wants more detailed literature or substance samples. This goes so far that the entire advertisement is often just a reference to the free information leaflet.
All of these types of advertising, between which there are of course transitions and combinations, have one thing in common: text and images are lively. Another characteristic is almost always the inconspicuous, playful, often even playful instruction. This makes it worthwhile studying the ad for non-buying readers as well. But if he has to become a buyer one day, he will inevitably think of the advertisement that taught him so attractively.
At the outset, we expressed our dissatisfaction with the many advertisements that you find in our chemical trade journals. If you want to sum up the shortcomings in catchwords, you could write: Serious boredom – too little help for the customer, no suggestions for further thinking Micrographs of equipment Lack of clarity.
The number of advertisers in our trade journals is increasing. You have to, because the competition is big. Fortunately, our magazine exports are also increasing. So we hope that the advertising experts in the chemical works and the graphic designers will be inspired by examples that have achieved success in countries where German industry must again advertise successfully.