Detroit had turned a page. Prices were levelling out. “The long-awaited upswing” was suddenly “a living, breathing, reality.” Are we talking about the first week of June 2009? Nope. Try the end of July 1933.
Over the weekend, we toured the Nautical Museum on New York’s City Island and found an archive of old issues of the City Island Bulletin, a local rag that didn’t last too long during the 1930s. We were charmed to find an ad from the Bulletin‘s publishers exhorting advertisers to get back in the action.
It begins: “We have turned the corner and are on the road to recovery,” and then the publishers list off a bunch of signs of recovery that today we might call “green shoots.”
Pittsburgh is once again engulfed in clouds of smoke from its steel mills. Detroit has doubled its daily produciton of motor cars during the last few weeks. Akron sppeds the manufacture of tires, keeping pace with Detroits’s increased output. All sensing and likewise preparing for increased market demands. What are you doing toward securing your market? New fortunes are in the making. Will you get your share?
It is technically true that the economy turned something of a corner in 1933. US unemployment peaked at 24.9% that year and would never be so high again. But unemployment did stay as high as 17.9% through 1939. Guess “green shoots” can take a while to grow out sometimes, eh?
Anyway, for us, the ad for ads is a reminder: Those preaching early optimism — The ad-market is stabilizing! GM and Chrysler are back! — are trying to sell you something just like everybody else.
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