Times were tough in the aircraft propeller business—especially for a small, independent manufacturer.
For decades, the company had been reassuring itself that the industry was cyclical, that the downturn was temporary and a boom in the propeller sector was just around the corner.
But a new generation had taken over the family business, and it was tired of waiting. The two brothers had moved the company from its St. Louis factory to a loft in Bushwick, where they planned to emphasize the handmade, artisan nature of their propellers.
They’d also decided to start advertising. And that is where the fight started.
“OK, but why not an aviation trade publication? Why run an ad for an aircraft propeller in The New York Times Magazine?”
Chad put down his sandpaper, pushed his sawdust-fogged safety goggles to his forehead, and looked at his brother.
“Because the people who read it are rich. Would you run an ad for a $10 million condo in Condo Magazine, or Condo Weekly, or The Condo Report, or Condo Aficionado, or Oh Snap Condos!? No, you’d run it in The New York Times Magazine. That’s where you run ads for stuff that rich people want, whether it’s private aircraft, or Manhattan condos, or not having cancer.”
His brother, hunched over the lathe, spoke without turning his head, his eyes focused on his work. “Well, ok. But are people reading The New York Times Magazine even going to realize it’s a aircraft propeller? What if they think it’s just…I dunno, a ceiling fan?”
Chad shrugged. “That’s easy. We’ll just say ‘This is not a fan,’ right there in the ad. But…” and he smiled, and it was like a lightbulb had blinked into existence above his head, “let’s say it in French!”