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The Book of Gossage Paperback – September 30, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1887229289 ISBN-10: 1887229280 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Copy Workshop; 2nd edition (September 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887229280
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887229289
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jeff J. Ong on August 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
A collection of pieces ranging from brilliant little essays to recollections about Gossage. While much of the material overlaps and reprises itself, it's entirely worth reading. Will make you wish you could have been a maverick creative in the Iron Age of advertising.... and one of the few advertising books to elevate itself beyond its subject matter. It's a great resource for creating, period.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Number Nine on June 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Bruce Bendinger has done a real service to advertising by putting this book together. Not only does it give Gossage the attention he deserves, it gives us a capsule social history of a very interesting time. And it's full of little nuggets like this: In addition to introducing Marshall McLuhan to the world, Gossage bought him a decent pair of black socks so that Professor M could show up to a speaking engagement without looking like a rube. An interesting time to be in San Francisco and to be in advertising. If you care at all about advertising, you'll find this book fascinating.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
Read every other book about advertising creative before you read this book, because "The Book of Gossage" will spoil all those other books for you. They just won't be as inspiring, or even as interesting.
Gossage was a fascinating man, with a fascinating life, who did incredible advertising.
Must read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Sadler on January 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Howard Gossage was known as "The Socrates of San Francisco." This book is both by and about him and anyone involved in advertising should be thanking Bruce Bendinger for pulling this book together.
Gossage, was a copywriter who emerged in the 50s and 60s. A copywriter with a social conscious who eventually started his own agency and officed in a Firehouse in San Francisco.
He introduced the world to Marshall McLuhan, helped start Friends of the Earth, and was instrumental in a number of other socially aware organizations that emerged in the sixties. He was in many ways the anti-ad man, a writer who frequently used humor to great advantage, poking fun at the products he advertised, and probably can be credited with introducing the idea of using humor as a sales tool in advertising.
Unfortunately, he died in 1969 from leukemia, but his influence lives on in advertising to this day. After this book was published, Howard Gossage was essentially rediscovered and he was named one of the Top 100 Ad People of the Century (20th Century, that is).
If you are involved in creative advertising, read this book. Heck, put it under your pillow and sleep on it. Maybe osmosis actually works.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bruce H. Bendinger on November 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
They called him "The Socrates of San Francisco." Howard Luck Gossage had a small advertising agency in a San Francisco firehouse. It was here that Friends of the Earth began - where the world was introduced to Marshall McLuhan. They even did some legendary advertising. Jeff Goodby wrote the intro - Stan Freberg contributed a piece - if you love what advertising could be, you just might like this book.
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Format: Paperback
Many are saying he was ahead of his time. He was definitely ahead of mediums that could use his interactive approach. It would be very interesting to see what he would've done online. Gossage doesn't sugar coat the industry-he shoots it straight. It's refreshing to hear his criticisms on parts of the business model. Advertising is a privilege. Throughout he stresses doing better work by writing ads to your audience, not as if you're hijacking the medium to yell. His famous quote is, "nobody reads ads. They read what interests them and sometimes it's an ad." I wonder what his thoughts on much of the guerrilla and ambient advertising out there would be. He certainly expresses his disdain for billboards. His arguments are rooted in the reader/viewer's choice, which they don't have with billboards. They are granting permission when buying a magazine or can choose to change the channel. I'm not sure I feel it to his extent. Personally, billboards were welcome on boring drives on I-29 the last few years, but I guess I didn't have much say in the matter. Some of the coolest ads being done are ambient nowadays so maybe he would come around.

Famous campaigns he's responsible for include Pink Air, Eagle Shirtmakers, Whiskey Distillers of Ireland, and Beethoven Sweatshirts. His print ads take almost a direct mail approach with a coupon or survey often ending them. He can get away with this because the writing is fantastic. I'm really impressed with the conversational style and tone he uses for his clients. This makes sense, even reputable authors like John Steinbeck and Tom Wolfe liked to hang out with this "ad man."

The book covers a ton of ground so pick and choose topics from the table of contents. The introductory sections paint an interesting picture of the man. I enjoyed hearing about his habit of shades drawn working-tricking your brain into thinking it's dark out. I do that sometimes.
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