Visit a Movie Occasionally: Advertising Slogans

I love the catchy phrases and slogans featured on many theater ads from this time period, as if clever wording will be enough to make someone buy a ticket at that theater over another one with more pedestrian advertisements. Here's a sample of some of my favorites:

IF LAUGHING HURTS YOU STAY AWAY (Bell Theatre, Springfield, Oregon, 1916)

YOU WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER (Antlers theater, Roseburg, Oregon, 1919)

IT'S DIFFERENT (Majestic Theatre, Roseburg, Oregon, 1916)

"GO TO IT" -- SOUNDS LIKE SLANG, BUT IT ISN'T (IT theater, Medford, Oregon, 1913.

IT theater ad, 1913
Medford Mail Tribune, Mar. 3, 1913, p. 2.

This ad from the Lyric Theatre in Prineville is packed with excellent nuggets of promotional wordsmithing:

we have creamed the market


Visit a Movie Occasionally

It's 250 miles to a better one (although the Dream Theatre in Bend was only 35 miles away)

Lyric Theater ad, 1915
Crook County Journal, Sept. 30, 1915, p. 8. Historic Oregon Newspapers.

These exhibitors could have been following the advice of Epes Winthrop Sargent, who wrote the Picture Theater Advertising guide for theater owners in 1915. He has an entire chapter on "catchlines" with advice about how to write them to best position a theater within the competition, activities we would now call "building a brand." He advises exhibitors to craft slogans that present an argument to potential audiences as to why one's theater is the best. Go where the crowd goes is "an argument that the crowds indicate the presence of good value," writes Sargent. He goes on to suggest a host of slogans for exhibitors to use including The Little House with the Big Seats, It's not what you pay but what you get, and Two dollar acting for ten cents. The ad below for Antlers theater definitely seems inspired by Sargent's recommendations. It's got alliteration (Perfect Projection, Perfect Pictures), an argument that promises novelty (No Repeaters), and a tagline that evokes the ease of home combined with service and entertainment provided by someone else:

Where Your Comfort and Pleasure Is The Chief Concern

Antlers theater ad, 1916
Roseburg Review, Feb. 14, 1916, p. 6.