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The Ubiquitous Persuaders Paperback – February 4, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
GEORGE PARKER IS EITHER A MADMAN. OR A GENIUS. (Or both?) Because only a madman or a genius would have the vision and guts to write a book like this. After all, he's "been there"--more than most. And "done that" successfully for many years.
This book provides a brutally realistic, uncanny portrait of an often-dysfunctional industry---painted with a sharp knife that cuts away all the assumptions and myths about the "ad biz" leaving an intriguing landscape populated by people (and companies) who are running in place--- running toward the future--or running amok.
Those who live and work in that world...know that.
PARKER PAINTS A BRILLIANT PORTRAIT OF AN INDUSTRY THAT'S A PARADOX.
On one side, the advertising industry has made a lot of people extremely wealthy. Provided a haven for creative minds. Helped many, many businesses and organizations succeed and profit. Forced itself into the social and cultural fabric of our country--and our world. Shaped many attitudes, perceptions and preferences about a lot of things, products and companies. Anointed some cartoon characters, icons and imaginative people into "sainthood." Helped politicians win--or lose elections--or lose elections. And, told gazillions of consumers what, where and when to buy the stuff they need.
After all, advertising is definitely "ubiquitous." More so these days than ever before.
On the other side, it is an industry that also contained--as Edgar Allen Poe might put it--"the seeds of its eventual destruction." An industry that created and broke "rules" with almost gleeful, sadistic abandon.Read more ›
The overarching theme of The Ubiquitous Persuaders is that the advertising industry is botched and must be reformed; Parker makes this point by examining the industry thoroughly and quoting David Ogilvy as often as possible. The two largest issues brought to light are that agencies make the mistake of giving clients what they want rather than what they need, and that advertising has decreased in quality in negative correlation to the increase in available mediums; the number of mediums is exploding (hence the term ubiquitous). Reading this book you must ask yourself if the ubiquitous persuaders are effective persuaders, to which the answer is assuredly not. Can they be in the future? That is the real question. George takes a shot at answering it, but I won't spoil the book for you.
Overall I found The Ubiquitous Persuaders to be very enjoyable. It's to the point, not too big, and full of good information. The book overviews the ad industry. That being said, if you already have been working in the industry for a decade you've probably already seen the problems he points out, but if you're not in the industry or are just getting started this is a great read.
Parker makes some factual errors that should have been caught by someone. He says, for example, that Bette Davis starred in "Mommy Dearest." While the great Bette could have played the part quite well, the honor of that part went to the queen of mean, Joan Crawford.
To give you an idea of his feelings about ad agencies he says, ". . . I have seen repeated innumerable times in innumerable presentations during my long and somewhat checkered career - the ass kissing, . . . It is proof of something I have always believed: the vast majority of people earning their crust in advertising agencies will prostitute their wives and sell their children into slavery if it will keep the client happy." How true that is!
It's always disgusted me how ad people will do whatever the client wants when the client has absolutely no idea what's best for him. It's like a doctor giving the patient any pill he wants just to keep him happy --- even if the pill is going to kill him.
This book is a take-off on the popular classic by Vance Packard in the fifties, "The Hidden Persuaders." I own a first edition of Packard's book and I still love it. But, it's full of crap just like most books about advertising. That's because advertising is full of crap.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Prolific creative consultant and PSFK columnist George Parker isn't afraid to bring some real talk to the table in his most recent book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, a rousing look... Read morePublished on April 14, 2009 by Christine Wei Hsi Hua
Less a sequel than a Disney re-imagining. (If, that is, Walt had thrown back a few Boddingtons and let loose with what he really thought about his visitors. Read morePublished on February 18, 2009 by mtlb
George Parker is a no-holds-barred swaggering hero of the original Mad Men era, and he is mad as hell. With his uncompromising tome: The Ubiquitous Peruaders, Mr. Read morePublished on February 13, 2009 by Lynn Casey
george parker is one of those "can't look away from this" writers... he's harsh, uncompromising, sometimes brutal but he hits his points extremely well. Read morePublished on February 11, 2009 by Marino A. Gallo
Parker's back with a second random walk down Madison Avenue (or wherever it is that they consider the center of American advertising these days), and it is well worth a read after... Read morePublished on February 10, 2009 by A Reader in Washington DC
The Ubiquitous Persuaders, written by original "Mad Man" and AdScam blog author George Parker, shows readers advertising's past, present and future whilst illuminating adverati,... Read morePublished on February 10, 2009 by Helena Bouchez