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Adland: A Global History of Advertising Hardcover – August 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this heady, well-researched gem, British journalist Tungate (Fashion Brands) illustrates the history and globalization of the $400-billion-a-year advertising industry. Tungate begins by simultaneously addressing consumers' skepticism (or outright disdain) toward the "jargon, psychobabble and double talk of advertising," and advertisers' laudable financing of "a free, varied, democratic media," before hunting down advertising's birth during the Industrial Revolution. He traces the industry from there through today's exploding media frontier of new global markets, viral advertising and seemingly infinite bandwidth. Along the way, he looks at trailblazers like Bill Bernbach and David Ogilvy, whose prosperous agencies and their offspring propelled the industry worldwide, and especially in the US, throughout the 20th century. He looks at key players, time periods and hotspots (Madison Avenue in the 1950s, Tokyo's Dentsu, the Omnicom mega-merger) with snappy storytelling, interviews with bigwigs and buckets full of trivia. Tungate argues effectively that the prevalence and effectiveness of a given country's advertising is commensurate with that country's entire economy; media enthusiasts and professionals will find this a handy, entertaining and insightful guide to the past and future of the ad world.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"[A]n excellent introduction to the personalities, agencies, and trends that have shaped a hugely influential industry." --Library Journal, Sept 2007, starred review
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My only complain is because I bought the book used, I didn't get the dust jacket with it. I run a blog called "Buy The Cover" and I like the simple boldness of the cover - even though I think a better title would have been "Ad World".
Given it was penned in 2007, aspects have already become dated given the global recession, the rise of social media, consumer sophistication and control, and many other factors that the industry is both leading and responding to. And perhaps that was the most valuable insight in reading the book, the communications and advertising industry has always faced incredible business and market challenges. Some of the issues that have been around historically are still encountered today: boutiques versus networks, client conflicts, mercurial creatives, and return on investment which may be endemic and the cost of doing business.
The book really comes alive in its coverage of the greats who live up to the observation that "creative organizations are led by formidable individuals", they include:
- John E. Powers, described by Advertising Age as "the father of creative advertising"
- Albert Lasker who developed a "copywriting school" and is the subject of the recent book, "The Man Who Sold America: The Amazing (but True!) Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century"
- Rosser Reeves, the originator and proponent of the Unique Selling Proposition
- J. Walter Thompson, "The Commodore", who created the account executive role and more
- David Ogilvy, who said, `when Fortune wrote an article about me and titled it "Is David Ogilvy a genius?" I asked my lawyer to sue the editor for the question mark'
- Bill Bernbach, the creative revolutionary who wrote a famous letter to his one-time bosses at Grey. `I'm worried that we're going to worship techniques instead of substance...There are a lot of great technicians in advertising...But there's little rub. Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art...Let us blaze new trails. Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, good writing can be good selling.' He took that zeal and formed DDB
- Leo Burnett, with his trademark pencils and apples brought Tony the Tiger, the Jolly Green Giant and the Pillsbury Doughboy to the world
Tungate covers the world with the Saatchi saga, BBH, Euro RSCG, and the giant Dentsu. Also illuminating is the birth of Omnicom (orchestrated brilliantly by Keith Reinhard and Allen Rosenshine) and the other large holding companies like WPP and Publicis that collectively house so many great companies brought to life in this history. Great campaigns, brands, and ideas are here too and spark my only criticism in that they are not covered in the detail necessary to give them justice.
The author signs off with prescience in 2007, "What makes advertising so fascinating right now is that nobody really knows how it will evolve. Many of the agencies described in these pages can still be looked upon as role models; others are museum pieces. Advertising's future will not resemble its past. Experts are busy tracking increasingly slippery consumers and mapping their behavior, but their findings always come with a question mark attached. For sure there will be mobile phones and the internet and screens everywhere, but how will these intersect and interact? The picture is far from clear. The word `communication' covers such a vast territory that it almost defies definition. Psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, musicologists, technology wizards and gaming enthusiasts ...any or all of them might have a role to play at a modern agency."
Ad Land is a fun and fast read that captures a still incredibly young industry.
It starts with the likes of our beloved Claude Hopkins, as it should. From there it goes into more modern agencies. But alas, you'll also learn about an all but forgotten very important advertising venue, the soap opera and how it sold a lot of stuff to a lot of people for a very long time.
If you're in the advertising business, you must read this. This is your industry as it really is and was. If you're a casual reader of anything to do with marketing, read this. You'll love it.
Susanna K. Hutcheson, Creative Director
Power Communications LLC
Leach's _Land of Desire_ (http://www.amazon.com/Land-Desire-Merchants-American-Culture/dp/0679754113/ref=asap_B000AP9MAY_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414115723&sr=1-1) to cite only one book, is far preferable.