Good news is, the text more than lives up to the hype.
Verklin co-authored "Watch This" with now-deceased Bernice Kanner, marketing expert and former Ad Age contributor. The research-driven joint venture, as you might imagine, is one helluva primer on advertising across multiple platforms, including TV, the internet, print media -- even pornography.
Citing a self-professed love of facts, Verklin toys with several placement models (Oprah's Pontiacs and The New Yorker's tryst with Target among them) to explain the evolving, customized media package consumers digest on a daily basis. Within the opening pages alone the reader is bombarded with charts comparing average costs of a 30-second TV spot, a color magazine page, a black-and-white newspaper page and billboards on several high-profile landmarks nationwide. (Anyone for a $91,800 billboard on the Long Island Expressway?)
In his interview with Ad Age's Hoag Levins, Verklin identifies the one message he hopes to leave readers with: "We're about to see new ways to reach people, and to only advertise to the interested."
Speaking of reaching people, Verklin's narrative may be the most entertaining part of the "Watch This" experience. As part-mentor, part-translator, his guidance through a land of discounted Super Bowl ad prices and network upfront bidding wars reads like the best media-buying internship in history. Advertisers are not here to harm you, we're told. In fact, most have your best interests at heart (and in their wallets).
Unfortunately, there are times when Verklin and Kanner lose sight of a clearly defined audience. Industry players will find the page-long trade definitions ("ratings, shares") tiresome, and students may lose interest between the hundreds of statistical acronyms.
Despite knowledge gaps, though, the facts here don't lie. In charting a dime-by-dime history between traditional media and the next, nascent generation, "Watch This" holds its own among the annals of advertising literature.