But we are only concerned to present an outline of the business of advertising and of some of the questions which arise in connexion with it. With the less reputable forms of puffery these pages will not deal. An advertisement may be best defined as an announcement which is the expression of a want, with in most cases a suggestion or inducement towards its satisfaction, by appealing to the want of another. An advertisement, then, is primarily the expression of a want. In the great majority of cases the want expressed is that of money, and the expression is usually effected by vaunting the merits of a commodity in the market. But this is not always so. Sermons are advertised on billboards and humane societies publish companion pictures of the comfort and torture of animals. A man often advertises for services, or occasionally for barter, as in the Exchange and Mart. But most frequently the want expressed is that of money. The producer or seller must advertise-to use the word in its widest sense-if he wish to secure a sale. The consumer or purchaser can generally effect a sale and satisfy his want without further resource to pUblicity. Where, however, through any cause supply is limited and decreasing, or a market is lacking, as, for instance, in the case of first editions, the services of domestic servants, and articles of vertu, the purchaser may be induced to publish his needs. It is obvious that the business of advertising-of expressing a want-is in the main the means of procuring a
market, and one of the processes in the distribution of produce. An advertisement mayor may not be a puff. A simple announcement, such as the style of a degree or the name of a shopkeeper, is, or may be, an advertisement; it is the expression of a want, but it is not a puff. A puff is an expression of opinion, and wherever the announcement is coupled with a question-begging epithet there we have the puff. But in both cases, whether a mere announcement or a puff, an advertisement is simply the direct expression of a want. There is little of the puff oblique about an ordinary advertise .. mente I t is true the phrasing or the expression of an idea may be original, as, for example, in the following case, taken more or less at random from a daily paper :-
But this only pretends to be an advertisement for a paying guest, and nothing else. Or to take another example:-
fashionable journal which invites the insertion of paragraphs announcing "marriages and arrivals and departures" at 2 IS., exceeding six lines 5s. for each extra line, and which will publish "fashionable and miscellaneous paragraphs . . . by agreement, subject to the approval of the editor," the advertisement is the direct expression of a want. Whether the announcement is designed as likely to meet the eyes of friends or as a social puff, it is as much the expression of a need as any other advertisement. Neither does the hyperbolic expression of the ordinary puff deceive anybody. Simplex commendatio non obligat. The puff is not a warranty, and the advertiser uses superlatives to attract notice and not to affirm that his particular commodity is the very best of the kind which ever has or ever will be produced.