Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Voices from the Past: Bristol-Horton (1918)

The following copy comes from a full page ad in the May 1918 Boy's Life magazine and is a great example of two things. First, it is a wonderful piece of World War I advertising designed to invoke patriotism in the reader (note the tag "Bristol Steel Rods are Patriotic Tools"). Second, it is a wonderful example of targeted advertising, aimed at boys between the ages of 8 and 16. And it works on multiple levels--it encourages boys to be self-sufficient, thrifty in a time of war, and patriotic. One of my all-time favorite ads. Bristol-Horton produced a number of these war ads, and if I get time I'll try to feature some more.

Come On Fellers and Fish for Uncle Sam

You want to be a man right now and be big enough to fight for uncle sam. Here is a way you can fight and be a real help--while you are having lots of fun.

Every soldier must have plenty of meat and plenty of wheat. There is not enough meat and wheat for everybody. Soldiers must come first.

Uncle Sam is asking everybody to have meatless days and meatless meals and wheatless days and wheatless meals. Fish is not "meat," although it is one of the richest of all foods. During your vacation the healthiest thing that you can do is to go out on the streams and lake and fish with your "Bristol" Rod and MEEK Reel. You father and mother will be proud of you if you will "DO YOUR BEST" to catch enough fish for the family. The more fish you catch, the more mean and wheat will be saved.

That is helping Uncle Sam. That is being patriotic. That is being a real soldier "over here." You can fish evenings, mornings, holidays, week-ends and every spare moment. Just think of the fun it will be to pass your friends on the way home with a great big string of fish. They will think you are a wonder and want to know all about where you got them, what tackle you used, what kind of bait, what time of day, and everything else.

You will get a reputation. They will come to you as a boy who knows. If you catch more fish than your family can eat, you can sell them to your neighbors and buy War Savings Stamps. You might sell enough to fill a whole book and trade it in for a Liberty Bond. The most important thing, however, is that every time you catch your own fish, you save money. Every time you get other people to eat fish you save what and meat.

-- Dr. Todd

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