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Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0471189626 ISBN-10: 0471189626 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 13, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471189626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471189626
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Jay Chiat, founder of the prestigious Chiat/Day advertising agency (which created campaigns for the Energizer Bunny and Fruitopia) called it "The best new-business tool ever invented." A newly defined discipline that combines aspects of four traditionally separate areas of advertising and marketing, account planning is one of the hottest topics in advertising today. This book by account planning pioneer Jon Steel provides advertising professionals and marketers with their first practical look at a tool that is reshaping the ad industry.

From the Back Cover

"Jon Steel is one of the great practitioners in advertising today. This book captures the essence of how to understand and connect with other human beings -- not just to sell them something, but to create strong, long-lasting brand connections. It should be required reading for all planners, creative people, and account people."-- Lee Clow, Chairman of TBWA Chiat/Day, Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide

"A very smart, very funny look at what works, what doesn't, and why, in the sometimes maddening, sometimes inspiring business of advertising. One of the brightest books about the subject in a long, long time."-- Geoffrey Frost, Director of Global Advertising, Nike Inc.

"Jon Steel is one of the top five account planners in the world. The depth and breadth of this book reflects his vast personal experience and exceptional talent. It's not just a great book about account planning, it's a great book about advertising."-- Jane Newman, Partner, Director of Strategic Planning, Markley, Newman, Harty

"The beauty of this book is that it discusses the theories and practice of one of the brightest minds in advertising today, yet never loses its irreverent tone. It's a great book for the advertising industry and a must read for planners."-- Rob White, Director of Planning, Fallong McElligott

"... I was glued to Jon's book. Best practice, common sense, and extraordinary intelligence throughout."-- David Wheldon, President, BBDO Europe

"Jon Steel's book is the perfect insight into a discipline that for some time has been misunderstood, misused, and maligned by most agencies and clients in the U.S. So, run it up the flag pole, put it to groups, check it agains the norms, the answer is the same -- Truth, Lies, and Advertising should be read by anyone who has to make or approve advertising."-- Rick Boyko, President, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy & Mather, New York

More About the Author

Jon Steel is Director of Account Planning and Vice Chairman at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, an advertising agency whose clients include American Isuzu Motors, Anheuser-Busch, the California Milk Processors ("got milk?"), Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Polaroid, and Porsche. Jon began his career in advertising as a 21-year-old account planner with the English agency Boase Massimi Pollitt. By the age of 26, he was appointed to BMP's board of directors. In 1989 he left the United Kingdom to become the first Director of Account Planning at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. He has been profiled by Adweek as "West Coast Executive of the Year," by Advertising Age as an "Agency Innovator," and by San Francisco Focus as one of the 100 smartest people in the Bay Area. In 1995, Jon Steel was inducted into the American Advertising Federation's Hall of Achievement for executives under 40.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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A must read for anyone who aspires to inspire great creativity.
There is even Steel's assertion that the better thought out the research plan the less valuable it's results will probably be!
Neal M. Burns
Not only because of the information gleaned, but also because of the way it was written.
Jill Sevareid (

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Barry Callen on June 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Goodby-Berlin may well be the best advertising agency in world at this time. Jon Steele's introduction of account planning there may well be the main reason. The proven formula: original consumer insights help create more powerful ads for greater results. Steele's work has consistently produced successes like the "Got Milk?" campaign.
Steele's approach is rare in the advertising world for several reasons: it shows humility and common sense, honors listening to the consumer with imagination, acknowledges the importance of creative quality, is mercifully free of self-promotion, and states the limits of account planning (sometimes there are simply no insights to be found).
While this is not a "how-to" book, I particularly enjoyed some of the tools and tactics: asking focus group participants to go weeks without milk and report back on what they had missed; asking drivers to fill in a thought balloon when they see the driver of a particular brand of car.
When I was done reading the book I felt as if I had just had a witty and interesting conversation with an intelligent and insightful person. I have been sharing the book with my advertising partners ever since.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Richard Whitney on February 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Intrusive, obnoxious, impersonal, insincere and arrogant are all adjectives, which have been attached to the world of advertising. However, in Truth, Lies and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning author Jon Steel looks to dispel these characteristics in a unique manner. Through conversational, descriptive, humorous, and entertaining examples Steel seeks not to convince the public that advertising is undeserving of its rap, but to convince those in the biz that by focusing on building relationship with consumers the negative personality of advertising could quite possibly be changed.
In Steel's eyes, the most effective advertising involves consumers in two critical areas; one, consumers must take part in the development of communication and two, consumers must be involved in the communication itself. Simply put, creating dialogue with consumers will allow advertisers to know exactly what consumers actually want in a brand and product, and consumers should not be told what to think, but they should be given persuasive facts and allowed to make up their own minds.
As Director of Account Planning and Vice Chairman for by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, Steel has helped create several consumer-centric campaigns such as the "Got Milk" campaign for the California Fluid Milk Processors Advisory Board and the "See What Develops" campaign for the Polaroid Corporation. Steel has also planned successful campaigns for the Northern California Honda Dealers Advertising Association, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Chevy's Mexican Restaurants.
Read more ›
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By bensmomma on May 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I teach advertising to MBAs at a business school, but I used to be an agency account executive. I have been looking for something for my students to read that gives them a real appreciation for the creative side of the business. Jon Steel's book is so outstanding that I am considering making it required reading in my classes.
Three parts of his message are especially valuable to "client side" (i.e. marketing) people: first, he is very articulate about the importance of doing qualitative, consumer-centered research....but not over-interpreting it.
Second, he makes a convincing argument for the use of judgment over data: clients sometimes imagine "hard numbers" will prove to them whether they are doing the right kind of advertising, but agency folks see this as a kind of cowardice. Steel will help you understand the difference between useful, diagnostic, research that inspires great creative-- and research that results in boring, average advertising.
Finally, his chapter on creative briefs - what they are for and how to write them - is superb. This is definitely going to be on the syllabus for next year.
Whether you are a client marketer, or an agency person who would like to inspire a client to more creative work, this is a must read.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"But the graphs showed... the numbers revealed..."
Quantitative research has its place in the advertising world, but all too often this (traditional) research is simply used as a way to cover your a**. One of the many, many things Jon Steel's book taught me was the importance of establishing a relationship with the consumer in order to produce effective advertising.
Steel's writing style is humorous & incredibly easy to follow; he makes you comfortable. This book will educate & entertain you at the same time.
As a recent college grad entering the advertising world, I found this book to be invaluable. (It means as much to me as "The Fountainhead" means to architects.) It will give you insight into the industry, but more importantly, it will give you confidence. Common sense is something we all possess, but are often afraid to use.
I hope there will be a sequel!
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