QUESTION (1915)—2—It is showing the spirit of Babylon to solicit advertising contracts from merchants for space on Photo Drama announcements?
ANSWER.—It would not be proper to say to a merchant, “Advertise with us and thus contribute something to a good cause.” That would not do. It would be begging for the Lord’s cause, a thing we are not authorized to do. But if I were a merchant and had an opportunity to put an advertisement into a Photo Drama announcement, I would think it would be one of the best chances of advertising I ever had. I would think I was receiving a benefit. If for $1 or $2 I could have my business card circulated all over the neighborhood, I would say, “These little leaflets showing about the Drama will interest the people; and while reading the notes about the pictures, they will also read about my business.” I would think I had good value for my money. If any man thought that he was not getting good value he ought not to put his advertising in. It is a purely business transaction.
In soliciting the advertisement, one should not mention the religious feature. We do not do this at all. It is purely business, so far as the merchants are concerned; and I would let them advertise all that they choose. The fact that we do not permit advertisements in The Watch Tower does not signify that to do so would be wrong. I see nothing wrong in a merchant’s advertising his wares. If I were publishing a daily newspaper, I would expect to sell advertising space.
A brother who owns a newspaper consulted me a little about his advertising. He said that the merchants in his vicinity were accustomed to advertise, and that some of the best advertisers were dealers in liquor and tobacco. I told him that I would not put any liquor advertisements in. I would put in advertisements of shoes or clothing or groceries or hardware, and would solicit such advertising, if I were running a newspaper. I see nothing wrong in advertisements in newspapers. I would see nothing wrong in putting six or eight pages of advertisements into The Watch Tower, if the articles advertised were staples that every one wanted to buy. But since The Watch Tower goes into the home and represents me in a special way, I like to have all the space used for religious matter—not, however, because the advertisements would be wrong.
Once we put into The Watch Tower a notice about Miracle Wheat. Many of you saw it. We believe we did right in putting that notice in. We also put in a notice about some kind of beans and one about some special cotton. Some of the friends were benefited by each of these notices. We also put in a notice recently about a cure for cancer. We have had hundreds of letters come in from Truth friends, and hundreds from others; and a great many have reported good results. To some extent this has helped forward the Truth. People saw that we were not trying to get their money, saw that we were trying to do them good, and became interested.