Many of our readers have written us letters about the editorial content of SI, usually telling us what they like, and once in a while not at all reluctant to let us know when they think we've missed one. You've seen a lot of these in The 19th Hole.
Another side of the magazine which our readers often mention is the advertising. And in this connection I thought you might be interested in a somewhat unusual experience which happened to me.
Recently on a train to Syracuse, I had tossed a copy of SI on the seat and gone to the diner. Upon my return, with the surprise that always comes when you overhear a conversation about yourself, I heard two men talking in the corridor. Said one:
"I wonder if this fellow would mind if we looked at his copy of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. I think we've got another one of our ads in the new issue."
November 15, 1954
They turned out to be salesmen for the Pedwin Division of the Brown Shoe Company of St. Louis, and they wanted me to know in no uncertain terms that SI, as far as they were concerned, was the greatest thing to hit the men's shoe business in years. They were having a banner season, with more response from both retailers and consumers to their SI color ads than the. Pedwin Line had ever had from any advertising before.
Back in New York the next day, SI's Advertising Director, Bill Holman, brought me an enthusiastic letter just received from Mr. O. W. Heath, account executive with the Leo Burnett Company, the advertising agency which handles the Pedwin account. With it was a copy of an ad they were running in Footwear News, which read in part:
If you want proof of the selling power of the new Pedwin promotions in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, talk to Ed Murray, Stone Shoe Stores, Cleveland. "Our five stores had one of the biggest months in history when we tied in with Pedwin's first back-cover ad in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED...we had to re-order three times. Young men from all over town just about cleaned me out."
Needless to say, all this had musical ring. And I'm glad to say that their story is related to others which have come to my attention—from travel companies, manufacturers of cars, of golf clubs, of women's and men's clothing, and many other advertisers reporting sales directly traceable to their ads in SI. But this was the first time I'd had one hit me out of the blue.
Unfortunately, in the haste of getting off the train, I never did get the name of the two Pedwin salesmen. I hope that if they read this, they will accept my thanks for making my arrival in Syracuse a pleasant one. And many thanks, too, to all the readers who, as one result of their zestful shopping among the ads in SI, are now going to football games, going to the club or to the bowling alley, going out hiking on these brisk fall afternoons, and in general, enjoying themselves in their new Pedwin shoes.