THE AYER HOUSE ADS - "The Stranger At The Gate"

. Sunday, March 16, 2008
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N W. AYER & SON was probably the first advertising agency to advertise both ado vertising and itself in national as well as trade publications. Its first advertisements appeared as early as 1870 and for many years, beginning in 1919, the N. W. Ayer "house" ads ran regularly in The Saturday Evening Post. Many Ayer writers contributed to the different campaigns. As I remember it, W. M. Gerdine and Amos Stote were two of the earlier men whose work appeared over the Ayer signature. Certainly none became more famous, however, than Raymond Rubicam who followed them, and who wrote such memorable pieces as The Stranger at the Gate, The Maverick and The Apple that Never Was Picked.
Back in the early 20s, a large segment ofindustry was still unsold on the usefulness and value of advertising. The Ayer series of Rubicam's time undertook to help make advertisers out of non-advertisers and was a highly important contributor to that agency's distinguished and sustained success, and to advertising as a whole. What Rubicam did so well was to illustrate the advertising point he was making by leading off with some simple, highly pointed, easily recognized and engaging parallel in some field outside of advertising.
Not only did Rubicam's series arouse the enthusiasm and improve the morale of the Ayer sales force and staff, but it began to draw a heavy mail - including invitations from prominent national advertisers to call on them.