Excerpt from The Newspaper Press Directory and Advertisers' Guide, 1917: Containing Particulars of Every Newspaper, Magazine, Review, and Periodical, Published in the United Kingdom and the British Isles; Seventy-Second Annual Issue
In considering the effect of war on the advertising trade, a word might be said here on the position of that part of the trade that exists by serving the advertiser - the section made up by the advertising agents. The modern service agency was undoubtedly badly hit, in common with all the advertising interests, in the early days of the war. But the panic period only shook a few of the weaker agencies of little or no financial standing. The panic over, the agency system went on very much as usual. In the year 1916, advertising agents have had their difficulties, but few houses have found them incapable of solution. One of the serious difficulties has been the staff question. Advertising service has, in the past, employed many young men, valuable for their skill or exceptional experience. Advertising in its more modern aspects is quite a young business and was largely manned by youthful workers. Origin ality needed on the creative side, activity in the out door work, made advertising peculiarly a young man's profession or business. The withdrawal of so many men under the military age from advertising work to service in the army or navy, resulted in sadly depleted staffs and the process of depletion has not yet ended. Advertising has been proud of its sons in the service and the trade has given freely of its best, and probably in a higher proportion than any other closely organised body of skilled workers. Most of our best men did not wait for the call, but volunteered. All have willingly made personal sacrifices, which in many cases have been very heavy. There are gaps in many offices and many of them will never again be filled by those whose withdrawal created them. However, despite badly depleted staffs, the agencies have carried on admirably and at no time has better work been done for adver tisers than the service agencies are giving to-day. Best of all, in reviewing the war record of the agency system, is the financial stability it has revealed. The early days of the war pruned out a number of firms who acted as agents, though they had no particular status either in the matter of experience or financial standing. Since then, the agency system has been wonderfully free from failure. This year, the failures are few and concerned only with firms but recently established. The great names associated with the business remain, and the solidity of their houses is a standing proof of the financial integrity of the representative agencies.
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