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Advertising & Marketing | From the Archives: A Look
Back at Classic Ad Campaigns.

Suiting the Market

April 30, 1998|DIANE SEO

Hickey-Freeman and Hart Schaffner & Marx, specialists in men's tailored apparel, give new meaning to the term "old guard."

Hart Schaffner & Marx began advertising about 1890, three years after the company was founded. It was the first apparel firm to advertise nationally, Chairman Ken Hoffman said.

One of its earliest ads featured an illustration of three gentlemen in classic tailored suits, along with the slogan "Guaranteed Clothing."

The company is also noted for its advertising immediately following World War I. After the armistice was declared in 1918, American soldiers at French embarkation centers saw signs that said: "Stylist clothes are ready for you in the good old U.S.A. All wool, guaranteed by Hart Schaffner & Marx."

"When men came back from the war, they obviously needed clothing," Hoffman said.

The 99-year-old Hickey-Freeman also relied on illustrations in its early ads. In a national ad that ran in the spring of 1925, two dignified-looking men in suits are seen conversing with a proper-looking woman.

"It is true that we sell some Hickey-Freeman clothes for $85.00 a suit," the ad said, alluding to the high price for the company's custom-tailored wear.

"Skeptical? Come in and see! We also sell Hickey-Freeman Suits as low as $50.00."

Both companies now rely on suave-looking models in their 30s and 40s to show off their contemporary suits and sportswear.

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