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DURING the progress of this book towards completion, we have now and again stumbled across something which would not consistently fit under any of the chapter heads in our plan, nor stand well by itself, and though at first rather puzzled what to do with these trifles, they have in the end accumulated sufficiently to form a chapter of varieties which will fitly conclude, and will doubtless prove neither dull nor uninteresting. In advertising there seems to be always something new springing up, and no sooner do we think we have discovered the last ingenious expedient of the man anxious to display his wares, or to tempt others to display theirs, than another and more novel plan for publicity arrests the attention, and makes its predecessor seem old-fashioned, if not obsolete. At the present moment the plan of an energetic Scotchman is the very latest thing in advertisements. Whether it will be considered a novelty six months hence, or whether it will be considered at all, it would be hard indeed to say, so it will perhaps be enough for us to give the plan to our readers, with the remark that after all the idea is not unlike that of the old newsletters to which reference has been made in an earlier portion of this work. The Scotchman's notion is to substitute advertisements for the intelligence contained in the ancient letters, and thereby reap a rich reward. For sixpence he sells twenty-four sheets of letter-paper, on the outside of each of which is an embossed penny postage-stamp. He fills the two inside pages with sixty advertisements, for which he charges one guinea each, leaving the first page for private correspondence, and the last page, to which the stamp is affixed, for the address. As the stamp will cany an ounce weight, another sheet of plain paper may be enclosed. He guarantees to the advertiser a circulation of five thousand copies. For the advertisements he receives ^63, from which he pays five thousand stamps at one penny each—^20, 16s. 8d.— less received for copies sold (twenty-four for sixpence), j£S, 4s. 2d.; total, ^15, 12s. 6d., leaving the difference, ^47, 7s. 6d., to cover the cost of paper and printing. It will be remembered by many that the plan of giving advertisement sheets away has been often tried—notably with metropolitan local newspapers, some of which at first thought to clear the whole of their expenses by means of the charge for notices, &c. It is remarkable, however, that these journals invariably did one of two things. They either got a price fixed on themselves, or died. It is hard to make advertisers believe that it is worth while paying for a notice in a paper which is itself not worth paying for, and no arguments as to increased circulation seem to have any effect.
Parisian advertisements form an item worthy of attention here. Within the past few years a great change has taken place in the system of advertising as known in the capital of France—in fact, as known in all the chief towns of the empire, kingdom, republic — whichever our readers like best or consider the most correct word. Between twentyfive and thirty years ago advertisements were charged at very high rates in the Paris papers, and there were comparatively few of them. The proprietors of journals did not themselves deal with the advertisers, but farmed out their columns at so much a year to advertising establishments or agencies. This was both convenient for the papers and profitable for the agencies. The rates they fixed for advertising in some of the most prominent journals were—Presse, one franc per line for each insertion; Sikle, one franc fifty centimes per line each insertion for four times, for ten times and upwards one franc per line, special notices three francs per line, editorial items five francs per line; Nation and Debats, four lines seventy-five centimes per line, advertisements above 150 lines fifty centimes per line, special notices two francs per line, editorial items three francs; Galignanfs Messenger, seventy-five centimes a line each time, one advertisement above 300 lines fifty centimes a line, editorial items three francs. Other papers were lower, some taking advertisements for from twenty-five to forty centimes, and charging from one franc to two francs a line for editorial items; but their circulation was very limited. What are called broadside advertisements were very frequent in Paris papers; they were very ugly affairs to the eye of an Englishman; set up in sprawling capitals, like a handbill, a single advertisement frequently covering half or the whole of a page of a newspaper. This style of advertisement obtains now, but under different principles. The Presse and the Steele used to make more money than any of the other papers by means of advertisements ; in the year 1847 the income of the Presse for its two advertising pages was 300,000 francs. The advertising of the Debats and Constitutionnel was also profitable.
Things have very considerably changed since then, and Parisian advertising may fairly be said to have become developed into a flourishing, though at the same time a very unique, system. The remark, " Show me the advertisements of a country, and I will tell you the character of its inhabitants," is not yet current among the choice sayings of great men, yet it or something similar might well be said with regard to modern Parisian notifications. Perhaps in no country so much as in France are public announcements and advertisements so thoroughly characteristic of a people. An important law recently introduced compels all announcements fixed or displayed in public places to bear each a ten-centime stamp, and the Government reserves to itself
the right of alone using a perfectly white affithe. Ail posters, playbills, and placards unconnected with State matters must be printed on coloured paper, though a small portion may remain white. The Parisians are proverbially neat in everything but their personal habits ; and ugly, gaunt, straggling hoardings like those of London are quite unknown to them. The principal vacant places in front of building ground are usually purchased by one of the principal Socie'te's de Publicity. A large frame of wood and canvas is affixed to the hoarding and divided into a number of squares, which are painted a neutral tint. Then in all these squares different announcements are made in gay colours. When completed, the structure resembles the boards of advertisements placed in railway carriages and omnibuses, the scale of course being considerably larger. A well-executed painting of some country seat or park to let frequently figures in these spaces; and few stations are without some well-known and familiar advertisement, the French having like ourselves some firms which make it their business to be on every hoarding and in every paper. A large tailoring and drapery establishment which advertises as follows is perhaps the best known of any:—
MAISON DE LA RUE DE
HABILLEMENTS PR HOMMES ET ENFANTS
ON REND L'ARGENT DE TOUT ACHAT QUI A
CESSE DE PLAIRE
LA MAISON N'EST FAS ATX COIN
This advertisement is so well known that recently a revue bearing the title "La Maison n'est pas au Coin du Quai" was played at a well-known theatre, and in the recent version of "Orphe'e aux Enfers" at the Gaite", the "on rend l'argent" portion is made the peg for a joke by the Monarch of Hell. The following also persistently arrest the attention of the traveller: "Au Bon Diable," "Eau Melisse des Carmes," "Chocolat Ibled," and "Old England British Tailors." The "Piano Quatuor" is also everywhere typified by the picture of a gentleman with hideous long fingers and pointed nails stretching over the strings of four violins.
The theatres usually display their programmes on large columns specially constructed for the purpose, which are fixed about every two hundred yards along the principal Boulevards. As these bills are renewed nearly every day, this department alone must be very remunerative to the Government. No playbills are sold in the theatres, but many of the daily journals publish the programmes of all; and three papers, the Vert-Vert, the Orchestra, and the Entr'acte, are specially printed to serve as bills of the play. One peculiar circumstance connected with theatrical advertisements is worthy of notice. In each of those places of public convenience known to Parisians as "Les Colonnes Rambuteau," some mysterious individual has for years pasted a little piece of paper announcing the drama at the Ambigu Comique and the principal performers therein. Here is an exact copy of the one appearing during the month of June of the present year (1874) :—
For years some unknown person has thus maybe gratuitously advertised the house in question, and his identity is