Advertisements definitely seems to have worked differently back in the day. Take, for example, this Ever-Ready advertisement from 1920:
For starters, it’s a fairly long read. I’m used to advertisements being a couple of paragraphs long at most, but this? This is a couple of minutes to read, minimum. Secondly, it talks to the reader in a different way than todays fare. We’re not bombarded with claims of “best blade ever”, but instead treated to a polite little diversion into the idea that a good shave can improve your life and the world before a nudge towards the Radio blade as the blade you ought to try.
Part of the difference comes down to, I believe, the fact that today’s world is full of happenings. We haste from one thing to the next without taking time to sit down and enjoy… but in 1920 there was no internet, no cable network, nor no cell phone competing for our attention every second. So on a Saturday evening, a man could turn on the wireless and sit down to enjoy the evening newspaper – and have the time to read it.
Take the time to sit down and read the advertisement. Ponder what it has to say about shaving giving you an advantage. And ponder – as I have – what exactly the the war-discovered Radio process of blade treatment is.
The Great War – known later as the first world war – was a time of rapid innovation and discovery. Sadly, most of what we discovered and invented was faster, better, cheaper, and more horrifying ways of killing each other… but some of the discoveries also had uses after the war. Such as new ways to temper steel, which were later used in the EverReady Radio blades.