Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 202



Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.

Page 202

accept patent-medicine advertising; The Ladies’ Home Journal was practically the only publication of standing in the United States refusing that class of business!

Bok now saw advertising done on a large scale by a man who believed in plenty of white space surrounding the announcement in the advertisement. He paid Mr. Howells $10,000 for his autobiography, and Mr. Curtis spent $50,000 in advertising it. “It is not expense,” he would explain to Bok, “it is investment. We are investing in a trade-mark. It will all come back in time.” And when the first $100,000 did not come back as Mr. Curtis figured, he would send another $100,000 after it, and then both came back.

Bok’s experience in advertisement writing was now to stand him in excellent stead. He wrote all the advertisements and from that day to the day of his retirement, practically every advertisement of the magazine was written by him.

Mr. Curtis believed that the editor should write the advertisements of a magazine’s articles. “You are the one who knows them, what is in them and your purpose,” he said to Bok, who keenly enjoyed this advertisement writing. He put less and less in his advertisements. Mr. Curtis made them larger and larger in the space which they occupied in the media used. In this way The Ladies’ Home Journal advertisements became distinctive for their use of white space, and as the advertising world began to say: “You can’t miss them.” Only one feature was advertised at one time, but the “feature” was always carefully selected for its wide popular appeal, and then Mr. Curtis spared no expense to



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