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Adland: A Global History of Advertising Paperback – July 28, 2013
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“[I]f you work in marketing or advertising, I’d recommend Adland as a great primer for the background to the way the advertising industry is today. Plus there’s plenty of great insights into how great campaigns came about that we can all learn from in our day-to-day work.” (Simon Wakeman SimonWakeman.com)
Praise for the previous edition:
"[A]n excellent introduction to the personalities, agencies, and trends that have shaped a hugely influential industry." (Library Journal)
Advertising, media, branding and marketing professionals
"Writing an entire history of advertising around the world is clearly an ambitious project. Tungate pulls it off and has published a rare beast: a highly readable yarn that would also make a good textbook for aspiring ad folk." --Jonah Bloom, Advertising Age
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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
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".
Advertising agencies all over the world, and throughout advertising history, seem to come in two parts, the creatives and the pragmatists. The creatives are the ones who feel that an artistic (broadly defined, of course) creation inspires the customers to buy. A creative director of a French agency told the author, "Working in advertising is one of the few ways you can be creative and make money at the same time." That is perhaps exaggeration, but advertising has proven a magnet for creative people. Some of them have gotten a start in advertising and gone on to more "legitimate" creativity; Tungate lists as advertising graduates Salman Rushdie, Len Deighton, Sir Ridley Scott, and many others. The pragmatists are eager to sell based on facts, research, and statistics. "Advertisers are not spending billions to decorate media," said one agency head who belonged to the pragmatist school, "Their messages are not meant as ornaments." The balance between creativity and pragmatism is different in each agency, or advertising era, or even within nations, but there is a bottom line. Commenting on creative awards (and there is an annual awards ceremony for advertisers in Cannes, of all places), a former agency vice-chairman said, "Creative awards are your report card - they enable you to keep track of how you're doing. But you can't let them become your goal. The best reward is making the cash registers ring."
But there is plenty to be said for a catchy and creative ad, no matter its financial success. Tungate examines the stories behind plenty of the classics (and who cares if they brought in customers?), like the witty one-page, black and white ads for the old Volkswagen beetle, the "We Try Harder" of Avis, the pregnant man campaign for the Health Education Council in England ("Would you be more careful if it was you that got pregnant?"), the "1984" Apple ad broadcast during the Superbowl, the deliberately shocking images of Benetton, and many more. Plenty of these were the ideas of young Turks moving into the advertising game, eager players insistent on making a name for themselves. Over and over again, Tungate shows how these players then eased into more consistent, less risky campaigns and new young Turks took over. Tungate's book is a valiant attempt to keep historic track of the players and the agencies, which swap team members and consolidate at often dizzying paces in these pages. He writes with a genuine appreciation of good advertising, and his jocular journalistic prose is extremely readable. There will always be philosophical and creative shifts in advertising, but a case could be made that the rate of change has never been greater than now. One of the most recent pitches analyzed here, from just last year, was for the Onitsuka Tiger sports shoe, featuring members of the company's staff (dubbed for this performance "The Onitsuka Tiger National Choir") singing a nonsense song. The result was a hit on the Web, and viewers were invited to send in their own karaoke performance of the song to win a pair of shoes. It was neither print nor TV, so the ad was from a completely new world, but it was funny and catchy, so it was also from a classic tradition. _Adland_ gives a history to understand the traditions within a bustling and influential business realm.