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Vintage Toronto Ads: April Showers Bring Free Trousers

Two springtime approaches to foisting free pants on the public.

Source: the News, April 19, 1912.

1912: Take a decent head shot of the store owner/employee/mascot and place it on a nattily-dressed cartoon body. Frame ad with promises of “free trousers.” Appeal to the customer’s sense of being a smart consumer who knows to spend money when he senses clothing that will make him the fashionable envy of his friends. Use period phrases like “swell.” Wait for customers to rush in.

Source: the Toronto Sun, April 9, 1980.

1980: Take four models. Strip them of their trousers, but leave them with the featured blazers and sports jackets so that they won’t freeze during the photo shoot. Update “trousers” to “pants.” Mention the “free pants” offer in boldface at the top of the ad, but take a quieter approach throughout the rest of the ad. Ask at least one model to adopt a wide-mouthed smile to reinforce the slightly cheeky nature of the ad. Avoid use of phrases like “swell.” Wait for customers to rush in.