Monday, April 25, 2016

Peter Arno: The New Yorker's Advice to Cajolers

In June of 1932 the New Yorker placed an advertisement, possibly in the trade press, entitled "Advice to Cajolers." It was the Great Depression, and the magazine needed to convince marketers to spend their scarce advertising dollars in the pages of the New Yorker. The magazine employed its most popular artist, Peter Arno, here clearly at the height of his powers. The copy must have been written by a leading humorist, as is evident from that clever first paragraph about studying women. Women, you see, know there is a right time and a wrong time to ask "Their Men for mink  coats" and we can all learn better marketing tactics from their example. Peter Arno, you'll note, has sagely depicted the right time to cajole.

Good moods, it is explained, make good buyers, and fortunately there is a weekly magazine that puts its readers in the proper frame of mind in which to spend money. The New Yorker then trots out its circulation statistics and a little bit of demographic data. "The New Yorker, if you have noticed, is almost never read in that gassy state known as Sunday morning." Gassy? Yes, gassy. Anyway, "The New Yorker creates a mood in which the pleasures of an active and well-rounded life exercise a relaxing influence on the drawstring of the purse." So that's how it works!

Peter Arno, "Advice to Cajolers"

Note:  I have no idea where "Advice to Cajolers" was published—eBay paper merchants often don't reveal the source of their finds—but I'm pretty certain it was not in the New Yorker. To anyone who does know the original site of publication, please get in touch. For those sleuths who like to delve into the musty pages of old periodicals, all my unsolved publishing mysteries are right here. I'm never satisfied until I know the publication, date, and page number. You too, right?

I may not know how to market this blog to an ambivalent world, but I do post many fascinating examples here of professional advertising often illuminated by the best illustrators anywhere. Students of marketing please take note, and if you like what you see, feel free to promote this blog on the social media platform of your choice.

I know what you're thinking:  If only there were a comprehensive biography of the great Peter Arno! Well, as David Letterman might say, hang on to your wigs and keys, because there is. Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist by Michael Maslin has now made its way out into the world. I bought three copies, but you probably can make do with just one.

For further reading in that gassy state known as Sunday morning or, if you prefer, one of the less bloated times of the week, please note the following Arno links.

Peter Arno posts on Ink Spill. See what Peter Arno's biographer has to say about him.

Peter Arno in Chris Wheeler's Cartoon(ist) Gallery. See what a great collector of cartoon books is able to put together.

Peter Arno in April's Vanity Fair. See what a leading national magazine has to say about one of our greatest cartoonists.

Peter Arno in the March 29 Wall Street Journal article. See what the smart money is saying about Arno.

Peter Arno posts here on Attempted Bloggery. See whatever it is I do here. How's that for smooth marketing?


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