Pullman made promises:
passengers were impressed

It’s true that most products and services appeal to different people for a variety of reasons and you can’t expect the same advertising message to capture the attention of all of the people.

Adver­tis­ing should be viewed, pri­mar­i­ly, as a com­mu­ni­ca­tions tool that can get the right mes­sage to the right peo­ple at the right time for the right cost.

Cre­ative plan­ning calls for copy­writ­ers to set out what should be accom­plished with an adver­tis­ing cam­paign. Should it pro­mote a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct attribute? Dif­fer­en­ti­ate the prod­uct from the com­pe­ti­tion? Inform? Explain? Adver­tis­ing should not be expect­ed to sell—that’s the job of the sales department.

The copy­writer asks who is the ulti­mate con­sumer? Can demo­graph­ics help iden­ti­fy the con­sumer? What ben­e­fits accrue to the user of the product?

These two adver­tise­ments below appeal to dif­fer­ent con­sumers. The first appeals to younger travelers—first timers—and the sec­ond reach­es out to busi­ness trav­el­ers who use Pull­man extensively.

The for­mer pro­motes the ben­e­fits of Pull­man trav­el for the occa­sion­al trav­el­er: the lat­ter reach­es out to busi­ness trav­el­ers who trav­el exten­sive­ly and who val­ue safe­ty and com­fort. And they each con­nect with train trav­el­ers’ families.

Dear Ma: This ME — in a PULLMAN!

Young man writes letter about his travel in a Pullman sleeper

The Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Mag­a­zine, Decem­ber 1941

Dear Ma: This ME — in a PULLMAN!

Well, Ma …here I am tak­ing my first trip in a Pull­man. And every time I take one of my lazy six-foot stretch­es I sure am glad I’m rid­ing my Pull­man. Rid­ing most ways is just rid­ing. But rid­ing by Pull­man is liv­ing! And the ser­vice, Ma—just look at all I get on a Pull­man … 

Take the porter…He calls me “sir” and treats me like a king. (I bet he thinks I’m much old­er than 19.) He takes my bags and shows me my berth. He makes my bed . He shines my shoes. He brush­es my clothes. He brings extra blan­kets, extra pil­lows, even a drink of water at the press of a but­ton! (Gosh!) 

And the bed, Ma! With two pil­lows, fresh, snug­gly sheets, and a nice soft com­fort­able mat­tress, like the kind we have at home. All mine Ma! Plen­ty of room to stretch and turn. Class, Ma? Lis­ten! Two bed lamps, coat hang­ers, a lit­tle ham­mock to put my clothes in. Even a pri­vate air cool­er in every berth! (What won’t they think of next!)

I saw a big league pitch­er in the lounge! He gave me a big smile, and we talked inside base­ball to bed­time. The lounge car, you know, is just like a pri­vate club that every­one with a Pull­man tick­et can use. It’s a friend­ly place, with big, lazy chairs, free mag­a­zines to read, and a porter ready to jump the minute you clap your hands!

A wash­room you can swing a cat in! You might think, Ma, that a wash­room in a Pull­man is a hole-in-the-wall affair. But it isn’t. It’s big and roomy, with hot and cold run­ning water, and a spe­cial bowl with a goose­neck faucet. It even has an out­let for my elec­tric razor. And Ma, you can use a mil­lion tow­els if you want! (It’s wonderful!)

And what do you think it cost? Only $2.65 to ride Pull­man the whole 300 miles; plus my first class rail­way tick­et. And this’ll please you, Ma. It’s the safest way to trav­el there is. So it’s Pull­man for my mon­ey. For you, too, Ma. From now on we trav­el in style!

Pullman and Rail—the safe way to go
and the sure way of getting there

Business man travlling in a Pullman is greeted by his wife and daughter when he gets off the train.

The Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Mag­a­zine, Octo­ber 1937

When the busi­ness trip is done, home seems the dear­est spot on earth. To the man who uses Pull­man in his busi­ness, it’s cer­tain­ly his choice for this most impor­tant jour­ney of all—back to home and those he loves! He has, too, the added sat­is­fac­tion of know­ing that the fam­i­ly which he left behind has had not one anx­ious moment, no fears for his safe return. They know he’s safe—he rides in Pull­man safe­ty and comfort.

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Sleep­ing cars, din­ing cars and Pull­man par­lour cars
of transcon­ti­nen­tal trains were top of the line
for priv­i­leged passengers

printers devil

Strange­ly, to empha­size the safe­ty of trav­el­ling in a Pull­man the adver­tise­ment address­es the issue of fatal­i­ties. “Not a pas­sen­ger or employ­ee fatal­i­ty in the past three years” they boast. This from a com­pa­ny that was estab­lished in 1867! No fatal­i­ties in the last three years? Pre­sum­ably there was a fatal­i­ty four years ear­li­er. Why would the adver­tis­ing raise a negative?

There had been fatal­i­ties in Feb­ru­ary 1934 when sev­en pas­sen­gers and two engine­men are killed and some 40 oth­ers injured when a Penn­syl­va­nia Rail­road train derailed one mile short of Penn Sta­tion, Pitts­burgh late in the evening. A frozen switch caused the pony truck on loco­mo­tive 1638 to derail, turn­ing the engine and ten­der over an embank­ment, smash­ing a sig­nal tow­er “to splin­ters” in the process.[ Two Pull­man cars behind the motive pow­er derailed but stayed upright, but a fol­low­ing coach and din­er dropped 20 feet to the street when their cou­plings broke. It was in the coach that the fatal­i­ties occur.

 While there is much to admire about The Pull­man Com­pa­ny, the treat­ment of work­ers and porters was not. Read the sto­ry in this link https://www.britannica.com/event/Pullman-Strike and in the book Ris­ing from the Rails: Pull­man Porters and the Mak­ing of the Black Mid­dle Class, by Lar­ry Tye