Obvious Adams – Chapter 4

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And up Adams went to the copy department. His canned-peach copy had to be polished up, but this was given to one of the crack men, for there was need of haste, and Adams was given another subject to write on. His first attempts were pretty crude, and after several weeks the copy chief almost came to the conclusion that maybe he was mistaken in Adams, after all.

Indeed, many uneventful weeks passed. Then one day a new account was landed by the Oswald Agency. It was for a package cake which was sold through grocers. The firm had limited distribution, but it had been stung by the advertising bee; it wanted to grow faster. The company was working within a fifty-mile radius of New York.

Before any orders came through to the copy department some of the copy men got wind of it, and Adams heard them talking about it. That day he spent his noon hour looking up a grocery that sold the cake. He bought one of the cakes and ate a liberal portion of it as his lunch. It was good.

That night when he went home he sat down and worked on the cake problem. Far into the night the gas burned up in the little third floor-rear room. Adams had made up his mind that if he had a chance at any of the cake copy he was going to make good on it.

The next morning the cake business came through to the copy- room. To Adams’s great disappointment it was given to one of the older men. He thought the matter over all morning, and by noon he had decided that he was a chump for ever thinking that they would trust such copy to a kid like himself. But he decided to keep working on that cake account during his spare time just as though it were his account.

Three weeks later the campaign opened up. When Adams saw the proofs of the first cake copy his heart sank. What copy! It fairly made one’s mouth water! Preston was famous for food-product copy, but he had outdone himself on this cake. Adams felt completely discouraged Never would he be able to write such copy, not in a million years! Why, that copy was literature. It took mere cake at fifteen cents the loaf and made it fit food for angels. The campaign was mapped out for six months, and Adams carefully watched each advertisement, mentally resolving that he was going to school to that man Preston in the matter of copy.

Four months later, in spite of the wonderful copy running in the newspapers, both city and suburban, there were mutterings of dissatisfaction coming from the Golden Brown Cake Company. They liked the advertising; they agreed that it was the best cake advertising that had ever been done; it was increasing the business somewhat–but sales were not picking up as they had anticipated. At the end of another month they were more disappointed than ever, and finally, at the expiration of the six months, they announced that they would discontinue advertising; it was not so profitable as they had hoped.

Adams felt as keenly disappointed as though he had been Mr. Oswald himself. He had become very much interested in that cake business. On the night he heard of the decision of the Golden Brown Cake Company to stop advertising he went home downcast. That evening he sat in his room thinking about Golden Brown Cake. After a while he went to a drawer and took out a big envelope containing the ads he had written for the cake months before. He read them over; they sounded very homely after reading Preston’s copy. Then he looked over some street-car cards he had laid out for his imaginary cake campaign. After that he assembled a new carton he had drawn out and colored with water-colors.

He sat and looked at these things and thought and thought and thought. Then he fell to work revising his work of months before, polishing it up and making little changes here and there. As he worked his ideas began to develop. It was nearly three o’clock when he finally turned out his light and went to bed. The next morning he went to the office with his mind firmly made up as to what he should do. At ten o’clock he telephoned the front office and asked if he might come down and see Mr. Oswald. He was told to come ahead.

At eleven o’clock Mr. Oswald looked up from the last piece of copy for Adams’s cake campaign and smiled.
“Adams,” he said, “I believe you have hit it. We have been doing wonderful cake advertising, but we have overlooked the very things you have pointed out in your plan. We have done too much advertising and not enough selling. I believe that with this plan I can go down and get that crowd back into the fold.”

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