Savage Model 1907 Advertising

The Savage Model 1907 Pocket Automatic was probably the most profusely advertised pistol ever.   The ads on this site were scanned from magazines published in the early part of the 20th century. The magazines include:

  • Life
  • Field and Stream
  • The Saturday Evening Post
  • Cosmopolitan (I couldn't believe it either - it must be a different Cosmo)
  • Harpers Weekly
  • McClure's
  • Outing
  • National Sportsman
  • System - A Magazine for Business
  • Everybody's Magazine
  • The Library Digest

As a marketing guy, I'm always interested in seeing how various products were promoted through the ages; and the Savage plan was pretty good.   They used (and re-used) two easy to remember slogans "10 Shots Quick" and "Aims as Easy as Pointing Your Finger". Starting in 1912, most of the ads featured both of these slogans.

In what was a smart move, Savage produced two popular promotional booklets: "The Tenderfoot's Turn" (written by Bat Masterson) and "It Banishes Fear" (a copy is under the "History" link above).   These illustrated booklets were given away for the cost of postage and were a technical manual, promotional brochure, catalogue, and user's guide rolled into one.   The booklets highlighted the ease of use, safety, and firepower of the new handguns, and served as a fulfilment piece for people that read the ads and wanted more information.

Savage also made good use of another popular marketing tool: The testimonial.   Famous figures such as William Pinkerton, Bat Masterson, Detective Burns (don't worry, I'd never heard of him either), and Buffalo Bill Cody; as well as regular people like Mrs. Dock and Dr. Carver endorsed the Savage Pocket Pistol.

They used messages in their ads that were probably pretty effective at the time.   Savage also adapted them as needed.   They are as follows (I'm paraphrasing):

  • Revolvers are hard to aim ("...the average man's aim is uncertain with the crooked-handled revolver.")
  • Revolvers only have 5 shots (10 Shots Quick)
  • Your home is unsafe without a Savage pistol
  • Anybody can use a Savage pistol (see the "Mrs. Dock" ad)
  • When your wife's home alone she needs a Savage pistol for protection
  • We won the war (WWI) with our guns (the "Victory" ad)

In the early ads, Savage beat up on revolvers, which makes sense.   Automatic pistols were new, and the Model 1907 was one of the first automatic pistols available to the public.   People were used to revolvers so to differentiate themselves, Savage highlighted the perceived deficiencies of revolvers.   These deficiencies included the awkward grip angle and limited ammo carrying capacity (hence the two slogans).   Later ads address the perception that auto pistols were hard to use (because they have more controls than revolvers) and unsafe.