The End, My Friend


A feature that I wrote for the relaunch issue of Applied Arts Magazine, featuring a new editorial focus and design.

In the beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble . . .
—T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”

This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
—Jim Morrison, “The End”

In the beginning, advertising made a choice that it would one day regret. In 1877, former bookkeeping clerk James Walter Thompson bought New York-based Carlton and Smith, which sold advertising space in religious journals. He paid $500 for the agency, and $800 for its furniture, and renamed it after himself. After starting to place ads in women’s journals, JWT came up with the bright idea of developing creative content for clients, so he could sell more ad space. Creative services, acting as a kind of loss leader, became part of the agency’s offering.

Continue reading →