In the 1940s and 1950s, the Western Union Telegraph Company ran an extensive national advertising campaign to encourage both personal and business telegrams. These included full page ads in major magazines, such as LIFE.
One series of advertisements had a large high quality photograph of a prominent business person, accompanied by text describing how telegrams help his or her business. The theme was "It's Wise To Wire". Businesses featured included Maytag, Fred Cole swimwear, Douglas aircraft, Johnson's Wax, Lewyt vacuum cleaners, Cecil B. DeMille, Ceil Chapman designs, the Ed Sullivan television show, Gimbels Department Stores, and Fuller Brush.
Another series of ads urged individuals to send social greetings via telegram for holidays and special occasions, which were illustrated by high quality cute drawings. Western Union had colorful telegraph blanks available decorated for special occasions. Senders could select a pre-written message or write their own. Holidays included Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Easter and Christmas had multiple blanks--one set for adults and one set for children featuring the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. Special occasions included birthdays, new baby, graduation, engagements weddings, and other events where congratulations were in order.
While I can't reproduce the photos and drawings in Usenet, I copied the text from several of the ads and described the illustrations. It is shown below in some samples of the ads.
Example 1 1957: [PHOTO] Bernard Gimbel standing on an escalator in a department store holding a yellow telegram.[TELEGRAM] ON ANY OCCASION...IT'S WISE TO WIRE!
"NOTHING BUT NOTHING GETS THINGS DONE LIKE TELEGRAMS, SAYS BERNARD GIMBEL"
"Nobody but nobody undersells Gimbels," says the Chairman of the Board of Gimbel Brothers. "And living up to that promise really keeps us stepping. For instance, we buy carpet by the carload--but only after we've checked enough other sources to make sure the price is as low as possible. A business operation like this means we often must move at a moment's notice. That's where the telegram can't be beat. Bids are placed fast and in writing--avoiding costly misunderstandings.
More than a million times a day, business finds it wise to wire. Telegrams quote prices, confirm orders, route shipments; telegrams provide business with the facts and figures which are its lifeblood. Speed plus the written record make the telegram essential to American business.
Example 2 1957: [PHOTO Ed Sullivan in a TV studio with staff
ED SULLIVAN PRODUCES TV'S BIGGEST SHOW WITH TELEGRAMS
When Ed Sullivan and his staff sat down to map out production details for Sunday evenings' ED SULLIVAN SHOW, the telegram is very much in evidence. Says Mr. Sullivan: "From clearing last minute production changes with the whole CBS network to signing a guest star who's at the other end of the country, we get it in writing--FAST--with the telegram. In fact, the telegram often serves as a contract." Yes, in this business--in any business--it's smart to put it in writing--with telegrams.
Example 3 1946: [DRAWING] Newly married couple emerging with a smiling WU messenger showing up.[TELEGRAM] MAY THIS SMILING HOUR LENGTHEN TO A LIFETIME FULL OF LAUGHTER= AUNT MARTHA.
"The sweetest greet we got! Leave it to Aunt Martha to add a special touch by sending a telegram. And imagine--delivered as we came out of church."
Yes, a telegram is _always_ a thoughtful, appreciated greeting for weddings, anniversaries, holidays...for any occasion when you want to send someone your "best".
You can write your own telegram...or take your pick from almost 100 suggested greetings in a helpful folder that's yours for the asking at your neighborhood Western Union office.
In business, too, a telegram is always something "special". Businessmen have always known it says, "I'm important, open me _first_."
Telegrams cost you so little--take only a few minutes of your time, and they're so easy to send. Just go to your nearby Western Union office or call Western Union have your telegram charged to your home phone. From a phone booth, telegrams can be paid for through the regular coin slots. _Use Western Union for every "keep in touch" purpose_.[Inset box] LOOK WHAT's COMING! To speed your telegrams even faster, new radio towers are replacing poles and wires, can send and receive 2048 telegrams simultaneously on a single Radio Beam! Another dramatic milestone in the never-ending advance of telegraph service. [Inset box] OVERSEAS MESSAGES: Send greetings to your friends and relatives abroad. This and other classes of international service are available at reduced overseas rates. "Fixed text" messages to and from members of the U.S. armed forces anywhere in the world can be sent at the special rate of 60 cents.
Example 4 1947: [DRAWING] Two men standing at the telegraph counter, with a sheepish look on their faces.[TELEGRAM] CAUGHT LOTS OF FISH. CAUGHT PLENTY SUN. CAUGHT SHORT OF CASH. PLEASE WIRE $20= RALPH.
Throughout the country, you an send or receive money quickly and easily by Western Union Money Order.
It's so convenient--when you're on a pleasure or business trip--to get needed cash by Western Union Money Order. On the road or at a stopping point, you can summon funds quickly. Or have your money order delivered at a future destination.
It's easy to _send_ money, too--for gifts, payments, and other purposes. There's no safer surer, swifter way than by Western Union.
For a few cents more, you can send a personal message with your money order. So next time you send dollars over distances, do it the fast convenient way--by Western Union. Remember, too, use Western Union for every "keep-in-touch" purpose.
Example 5 1946: [DRAWING] Harried mother at telegraph desk, two children fighting.[TELEGRAM] HAVING WONDERFUL TIME...PLEASE TELEGRAPH $50. LOVE.
You may be miles away, but the money you need is only _minutes away_...by telegram! Western Union money orders are low in cost...tops in speed.
When your trip or holiday runs a little long...and your money runs a little short...just send for some more, via Western Union.
Or, if you forget an insurance premium, or a birthday at home... again, the simple answer is a Western Union money order. Problems, big and little, are being solved this way _by the thousand every hour_.
If you've never sent money by telegram, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find how fast it is..how simple..and how little it costs. To send $25 from New York to Atlantic City, for example, the charge is only 68c. You may add your personal or business message for only 2½c a word. (Plus tax.)
The next time you're in a hurry to send or summon cash, be sure to do it in the _quickest headiest_ way...via Western Union!
Example 6 1946: [DRAWING] Excited little girl rushing to receive telegram from messenger.[TELEGRAM] EXTRA SPECIAL BIRTHDAY GREETINGS FOR AN EXTRA SPECIAL LITTLE GIRL. LOVE= DADDY.
"My Daddy is the most wonder daddy in the world! Just look...a real special telegram...all for me on my birthday!"
A telegram is _always_ something special, always appreciated, always thoughtful. So on all occasions like birthdays, wedding anniversaries and blessed events, there's nothing quite so heartwarming as a _telegram_. And to help you, every Western Union off has a folder containing almost 100 suggested greetings for telegrams. Ask for yours.
By the way, _isn't there someone who would like to hear from you today?_[INSET] ANOTHER ADVANCE IN TELEGRAPH SERVICE IS _HERE_ _Marine Reporting Service_ Pilot boats now report entrance of ships into New York harbor through facsimile radio-telefax machines. Message picked up by telefax receiver in Western Union main office is telegraphed to steamship, taxi and tugboat companies, enabling them to have facilities ready when ship docks.