Old advertisements can be a fun read. For starters, they actually contains text you can read, as opposed to giant pictures and an empty slogan. You could almost go through an old ad like the leaf of a book, reading and learning about the item advertised.
Like this 1920 advertisement for the Auto-Strop Safety Razor. Originally published in Volume LXVI of the Literary Digest, it fills two full pages. Text and images meant to educate as well as sell a product. Made to inform about a product, instead of a full colour photo and a blurb about being the best a man can get.1
Not only do we have a picture of a grumpy and a less grumpy shaver, we also have an explanation of why the first one is grumpy. We get a little titbit on how stropping works, and why a sharp blade don’t pull or scrape.2 And we learn what sets the Auto-Strop apart from every other3 safety razor; it strops its own blades.
We also learn how to use the self-stropping feature of the Auto-Strop. And how it opens like the leaf of a book to allow for easy cleaning.
So does the old time, long form, informative style of advertisement work?
Yes, I would say so… since now I really want an Auto-Strop razor. Preferable the Auto-Strop Khaki Set.
- I’m looking at you, Gillette Sensor of the nineties… you’re guilty as sin on that one. And wrong as wrong can be, too.
- A very sharp blade can nip and cut though… good thing I have an alum block.
- Every other non-self-sharpening razor, that is. And there have been a lot of self-sharpening razors patented and manufactured over the years.