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