National Advertising Begun

In the meantime other Parker salesmen had been selling Duofolds in the smaller cities where a good demand began to make its appearance by virtue of the country circulation of the metropolitan newspapers. Thus by August the manufacturer had sufficiently strong representation in large and small cities throughout America to place a non-cancellable order for 13 color pages in the Saturday Evening Post at a cost of $8,500.00 each, a total of $110,500.00 and to make it pay one of these pages was scheduled to appear every four weeks for a year.

Fountain pen sales had always suffered from the lack of year round advertising. Seasonal advertising had accentuated tendency to make pens seasonal sellers. What was needed was more continuous movement of stocks. This would stabilize production, better equalize manufacture and arouse more interest in fountain pens among retailers. Hence the Parker Pen Company adopted a policy of year-round advertising, and a cycle of color pages in the Saturday Evening Post conformed to the plan. Color advertising was essential because color was an outstanding characteristic of the Duofold.

Prior to placing this 13-page order but little advertising had been done on the Duofold in a national way. Two or three color pages had been inserted in several magazines, but these were merely to facilitate the general sales.

It will be noted that national advertising in a substantial way was not undertaken until after important channels of distribution had been opened up in the large cities by localized newspaper campaigns. While no definite figured are available as yet, it is estimated that nearly 45% of the fountain pen business is done in 144 cities and the remainder divided among some 2,600 smaller cities and rural communities.

It is also estimated that in cities under 5,000 population the largest store does about 50% of the business, the second store 33 1/3% and the third store 17%. The proportion of the two larger stores diminishes as the size of the city increases, but for general purposes, excepting New York and Chicago, it is estimated that one large outlet will do as much business as 20, 30, 40, or 50 smaller ones.

These facts are mentioned merely to indicate the importance of careful analysis of markets and distribution in planning sales and advertising. It was with this in mind that the Parker Pen Company made its initial Duofold drive in the large cities and made its greatest effort on the large accounts. Moreover, the small dealer is more apt to follow the leader. It is important to get the leaders first.

During the fall of 1922, The Parker Pen Company in addition to the Saturday Evening Post advertising, ran campaigns in 48 city newspapers as well as in 42 college papers.

The year 1922 closed with a very substantial-almost spectacular-gain in Parker sales over 1921. Duofold advertising stimulated the entire fountain pen trade. It had its effect on other manufacturers, and all became more active in sales and advertising. From a humdrum business, the fountain pen became a vital winner in the business of the stationer, jeweler, druggist and department store man.

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