The Hard Sell

During the Depression, advertisers began using the hard sell on radio.

The hard sell advertising strategy emphasized “reasons why” to buy, product claims, and hyperbole. Hard sell advertisers repeated everything in case consumers couldn’t understand, treating advertising as an education about the product. In this Rinso ad, note the number of product claims or “reasons why” to buy. If one reason doesn’t convince, maybe the next one will!

Hard sells ad listed many "reasons why" to buy and provided product information

Hard sells ad listed many “reasons why” to buy and provided product information

Blackett-Sample-Hummert‘s Soap Opera Factory

The B-S-H agency believed in the hard sell, and so they designed ads and radio programs to fit the hard sell strategy. In this trade ad, B-S-H explains how they focus on product sales in their radio programming for clients such as Procter & Gamble and American Home Products. B-S-H produced  soap operas, such as Ma Perkins, Just Plain Bill, The Romance of Helen Trent, Stella Dallas, that were longwinded, repetitive, and hyperbolic, just like their advertising.

IF

B-S-H produced dozens of daytime soap operas, such as Ma Perkins, Stella Dallas, Just Plain Bill, Romance of Helen Trent

Here’s an example of a B-S-H hard sell radio commercial for Procter & Gamble’s Oxydol laundry soap–long, repetitive, full of product claims and references to science–the announcer spells out the product name just in case the listeners can’t grasp the brand name.

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