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A New Brand of Business: Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis by Douglas Ward

By Douglas Ward

Charles Coolidge Parlin was once thought of by way of many to be the founding father of industry learn. operating for the dominant Curtis Publishing corporation, he revolutionized the via delivering extra price to advertisers via information regarding the racial, ethnic, and local biases of readers and shoppers. via holding touch with either companies and shoppers, Parlin and Curtis guides have been in a position to flip client desires into company earnings.     In a brand new model of industrial, Douglas Ward offers an interesting enterprise heritage that explains how and why Curtis built its marketplace study department. He unearths the evolution and influence of Parlin’s paintings, which understood how readers and advertisers within the rising purchaser economic climate checked out magazines and ads. Ward additionally examines the cultural and social purposes for the improvement and use of marketplace research—particularly in regard to Curtis’ readership of upper-income elites. the end result weaves the tales of Parlin and Curtis into the adjustments occurring in American company and ads within the early 20th century.

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We cannot be so paternal as to assume that nobody else knows anything about advertising. We would make ourselves ridiculous. . ” Like Latshaw, he encouraged the advertising staff to raise the level of service it provided to customers. “It is not always the man that 28 CHAPTER 1 receives the largest income that has the most money in the bank,” he said. “It is the fellow that husbands what he gets and takes care of it. . ”25 Customer Service and Paternalism This idea of paternalism that both Latshaw and Hazen expressed had grown from a policy of customer service that Cyrus Curtis had developed and promoted since he founded his publishing company in Philadelphia in the 1880s.

Curtis asked rhetorically. So, in theory, Curtis provided the medium; the advertising agent, who earned a commission from each 34 CHAPTER 1 advertisement placed, was to provide the service. “There is . . no clashing of interests. 38 Some agents did not buy that, and they worried that Curtis was trying to muscle in and save the money that went toward their commissions—usually 10 percent of the advertising bill. Those doubts grew during the summer of 1913, when Curtis broke from established standards and unilaterally changed its policy toward agencies.

2 An Unlikely Leader O n the surface, Charles Coolidge Parlin was an unlikely candidate for a job in an advertising department. He was thirty-eight years old and had worked nearly his entire adult life as a high school principal and teacher. He had never worked in advertising or publishing, and he never had any such aspirations. During a job interview in 1911, Edward W. Hazen, Curtis’s advertising director, asked Parlin what qualifications he thought he had for a position as a researcher on Curtis’s advertising staff.

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