Ad and Marketing Book Reviews
September 22, 2009
Business leaders and social observers agree that the Great Recession has been a reset event for the American economy. The next question: What does the post-reset world look like? According to journalist John F. Wasik, it'll be marked by the emptying of the exurbs (or "spurbs"); people returning to cities; and the rise of environmentally friendly, affordable and energy-efficient housing.
September 17, 2009
Shel Israel's "Twitterville" is a compendium of case studies crowd-sourced from hundreds of Mr. Israel's followers from around the globe. It's a book less about social-networking theory than real-world mistakes and successes; real influencers and engagements; real marketing threats and opportunities. This is about buying and reading one of the best insights into what is really going on in the Twittersphere -- not just a how-to handbook.
August 27, 2009
"Ad Nauseam," a collection of essays and other bits culled from the zine and blog Stay Free over the years, calls itself "A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture." And in a way, it is. Editors Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky have clearly survived without resorting to a remote and heavily-armed compound in Idaho, and they are here to tell the tale. Or more precisely, they are here to explain to the masses just how consumer culture works and why everyone should be concerned.
August 19, 2009
In an expanded version of his March 2009 article in Time magazine, Kurt Andersen argues our current woes are a result of the go-go '80s ethos never ending (not an unsurprising argument from a Spy alum) and now we, as a country, have an historic opportunity to build a more grounded and sustainable world.
August 05, 2009
As the provocateur behind the Great Flash Mob Craze of 2003, Bill Wasik knows first-hand how quickly stories (trivial or otherwise) can flare up in the wired world, get fanned by the media and then quickly fizzle. That experience (and other experiments) informs "And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture," a survey of the rise of the "nanostory" in America and its impact on culture, art, politics and, of course, marketing.
August 03, 2009
Isadore Sharp would be the first to admit (as he does in a new book) that Four Seasons is what it is because of a culture of fanatical devotion to understanding what his guests want and a rigorous dedication to the idea that actions speak louder than words. To then write a book that neither delivers what a reader would want, nor does it in a way that is believable, is, at best, a lost opportunity and, at worst, disappointing in the extreme.
July 30, 2009
The first edition of "Microtrends" was a runaway hit, turning marketers on to the needs of "Pet Parents" and "Caffeine Crazies" alike. In an expanded edition of the book out this summer, Penn offers up seven new microtrends for commercial targeting, albeit these are rehashed versions of his earlier columns in the Wall Street Journal.
April 13, 2009
Ranking high on our recent survey of readers' favorite media and marketing books is Emanuel Rosen's "Anatomy of Buzz," a much-praised guide to word-of-mouth marketing that rode the best-seller lists in 2001 alongside "The Tipping Point" but predates the connectivity age of Facebook and Twitter -- a critical component of buzz-building today. Where most biz books would face becoming irrelevant, Rosen's chosen to rework his text to reflect today's social-media graph. Ad Age sat down with the author and his "Revisited" tome.
March 01, 2009
Ad Age wanted to create a definitive reading list for the marketing and media business, but we didn't know whether the editorial team could pull it off on our own, so we turned it over to the wisdom of crowds. We tallied hundreds of reader responses, but in the end it was the ad-focused classics that won the day, with Al Ries and Jack Trout's "Positioning" narrowly defeating "Ogilvy on Advertising" for the top spot.
February 28, 2009
In his addictive take on the gimmickry that is direct-response TV, Remy Stern explains why we buy into products with false promises and celeb spokesmen with even falser tans. We hate to say it, but you probably won't believe your eyes.
February 20, 2009
We want to know the best book you've ever read on media and marketing. No rules. We'd rather you didn't vote twice, or vote for yourself, but we're not going to fight over it. Nor are we going to tell you what constitutes a book on media or marketing -- that would kind of defeat the point of asking you in the first place. We will, however, tally up and publish the results next week in an effort to create a list of the best marketing and media books of all time.
February 19, 2009
"King of Madison Avenue," like most bios of 20th-century business pioneers, paints a broader picture of an industry's evolution, in this case advertising in America. What's missing, though, is a more critical analysis of Mr. Ogilvy's work, how it touched the masses and its lasting importance. One could argue this might make the book less accessible to the public, but let's be honest: The public cares a lot less about the inner workings of adland than we wish they did, "Mad Men" notwithstanding.
February 12, 2009
Men are giving up. They sense that they've lost the high ground (and the future) to women, and they aren't even trying anymore. They've opted out to become jackasses, stoners and slackers. Responsibility is shirked, and adolescence is extended indefinitely.
January 19, 2009
OK, we admit it: We're sorry we missed the chance to pour praise on Toby Barlow's book a year ago with the rest of the literary elite. It's just that an ultraviolent epic poem about sex, drugs and werewolves set in modern Los Angeles -- think Homer's "Odyssey" as scripted by Anne Rice, with a whiff of Elmore Leonard -- didn't strike us as standard CMO fare at the time. And it's not.
January 06, 2009
The core of DDB CEO chuck Brymer's argument lies in the book's subtitle: "Marketing to the Swarm as Well as the Herd." Consumers, he writes, now behave more like bees, birds and fish than beasts of the field. "In a community a small number of people -- sometimes even one person -- can quickly become the voice of a hundred, a thousand, or 200 million, in much the same way that a darting fish can move the entire school away from a single predator."
November 20, 2008
Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten are gaga for business books. The guys behind 800-CEO-READ spend their days reviewing the best and sloughing through the worst on the company website -- heck, they even hand out awards dedicated to the darn things. Our ears perked upon hearing the guys will release their first book of faves in February, appropriately titled "The 100 Best Business Books of All Time."
August 25, 2008
In 2006, members of Publicis Groupe drafted a timeline of famous ad campaigns in honor of the 100th birthday of Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, Publicis' late founder. Now on commercial shelves via Taschen -- and featuring a foreword by Publicis Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy -- the expanded edition offers more than 300 glossy pages of work documenting the dramatic leap of consumerism into the 21st century.
August 06, 2008
"The She Spot" is a combination of research findings and soapbox rallying that aims to show women aren't just a niche group of commercial targets who feed on pink websites and references to Carrie Bradshaw -- they are the group behind this country's most important consumer and voter decisions.
July 30, 2008
We took a trip through Richard Laermer's "2011" earlier this spring, following its March release, and can attest the content is 100% classic Laermer -- that is, a mix of dry humor, self-aggrandizement and social commentary diced into bite-sized chapters that don't rely on academic research as much as his own partisan feelings and personal dislikes. But it does make for some great debate. Here, Laermer laments the dull fate of the 2000s, which he sees as the first decade in history to have been "about nothing."
July 03, 2008
While Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li introduce the groundswell as an unstoppable force and one that today's companies must understand and embrace, they acknowledge it can be hard for companies to change. Practical advice is what sets this book above the raft of other tomes pontificating on social media.