Ad and Marketing Book Reviews
June 08, 2008
When he isn't jet-setting across the globe to throw an Effies bash or develop new partnerships on behalf of DDB Worldwide, Cleve Langton is writing down everything he knows about making friends in the ad world. He just released "New Business Lessons from Madison Avenue," a no-frills guide to drafting the perfect pitch, from start to finish. With 20 years of pitching new business behind him, Langton is chock-full of juicy tips. Here's an excerpt. Let us know what you think, or even just share your own best new business tip.
June 04, 2008
Two fresh takes on the standard business-practice guide landed in Bookstore's lap this week, a welcome break from the steady influx of dense biz titles we watch pile up day after day.
May 30, 2008
Jonathan Salem Baskin's "Branding Only Works on Cattle" is the anti-"Hidden Persuaders." A book that not only raises serious questions about many of the methods used by today's marketers, but actually argues that branding as most people think of it is bullshit and that its proponents couldn't get us to tie our shoelaces, much less reprogram our subconscious to buy their stuff.
May 29, 2008
For the past few years, Rob Walker has been one of the most original observers of how brands emerge out of the noise of culture. It only goes to follow that the publication of his first book-length treatment of the marketing business would be an occasion of Gladwell-ian proportions, the sort of thing that's read by everyone from the brand manager or junior account executive right up to the CEO and that's inescapable in conferences or PowerPoint presentations. I'm disappointed to report that "Buying In" is not that.
May 27, 2008
Rarely have I felt more empathy for an author than I do for the aptly-named Jonathan Miles, with his new 180-page epistle "Dear American Airlines" penned by the fictional but rightly disgruntled Benjamin R. Ford. With just over 30,000 miles endured so far this year on American (and nearly a million in the last decade), I like to think I know where Ford's coming from, albeit one of the few things American hasn't cost me is the chance to see my daughter get married.
May 22, 2008
Our uniforms say a lot about us. They indicate where we work, and often hint at what company culture is like behind closed doors. I wondered how much could be said of biz journalist Alex Frankel after hearing he eagerly donned five uniforms in just two years as an experiment to figure out what drives brand loyalty, from consumers and employees alike.
May 19, 2008
Anne Elizabeth Moore sheds light on the artist as marketing medium in "Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity." It's a cri de couer against the varied tactics of modern marketing -- word of mouth, guerilla street campaigns, underground collaboration -- and the complicity of alternative culture in the whole endeavor.
May 15, 2008
In the two years Alexandra Harney spent investigating Chinese factories for her book, "The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage," she learned that Chinese factories use an impressive arsenal of tools to fool Western buyers into thinking they aren't buying from a sweatshop.
March 24, 2008
Gary Hirshberg could have devoted an entire book to the history of organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm. But development insights aside, this is no ego-driven treatise or self-aggrandizing autobiography by a C-suiter seeking to cement his legacy.
February 15, 2008
Imagine Procter & Gamble as a maker of meatballs instead of diapers. Think of MySpace as a cherry. Combine the two -- P&G and social-networking sites, meatballs and cherries -- and you get the unpalatable results that Seth Godin warns against in his latest book, "Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Sync?"
February 12, 2008
If you're looking for a little context on the evangelical movement's brand life cycle, "Brands of Faith: Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age" is a particularly timely read. In exploring the symbiotic relationship between religion and marketing, Ms. Einstein highlights the irony that "marketers have learned their craft from religion -- turning diehard product users into evangelists, for example."
January 18, 2008
"The Holy Bibel" is one of eight mini coffee-table books just out from the folks at Mother, in collaboration with Blue Q Books. The leather-bound parody, complete with red satin placeholder, is one of eight coaster-size tomes packed with more wit and cynicism than you can shake a stick at. Titles such as "I Date a Hooker" and "18 Things You Never Knew You Could Do With a Small Stone" represent an ad agency pet project more than half a year in the making.
January 18, 2008
"Seducing the Boys Club" is a welcome sight on bookshelves for a group that has little in the way of guiding lights. An ad woman at the top of the pyramid sharing wisdom on thriving among men is, well, unprecedented. From her chairman's seat at McCann, New York, flagship of the largest advertising agency in the world, Nina DiSesa tells us just how much bravery it takes to master the art of rising up.
December 19, 2007
Despite former President Bill Clinton's praise that "Microtrends" will "help you see the world in a new way," an extensive read begs the contrary. The book's format -- 75 encyclopedic summaries of a niche social or consumer group in America, e.g., Impressionable Elites, Pampering Parents; the list goes on -- offers few morsels we haven't read before.
December 11, 2007
Gibson's sharp observation of the intersection of technology and marketing in a post-9/11 world and the resulting interaction between consumers and brands make this, the author's ninth novel, one of the better marketing books of recent years.
December 10, 2007
While a lot of business-book authors write in the hypothetical, to his credit, Yum Brands CEO David Novak lays out some real-life examples and has the guts to talk about not just his successes but also his mistakes.
November 20, 2007
Every agency needs a shtick to hit its clients with. Few agencies have wielded one as effectively as TBWA with its concept of "Disruption." In case you still haven't grasped the theory, TBWA Worldwide President-CEO Jean-Marie Dru has just released his third book on the subject, "How Disruption Brought Order: The Story of a Winning Strategy in the World of Advertising."
October 11, 2007
First-time author Cristina Benitez, a U.S.-born ad vet and president of branding shop Lazos Latinos, set out to help Latinos and non-Latinos alike better understand the community's contributions to the arts, politics, entertainment and business arenas stateside -- a tall order for a book only 128 pages in length.
October 11, 2007
Cathie Black, president of Hearst Magazines, is one experienced working woman. Her first job as a fresh-faced college graduate was advertising sales assistant for now-defunct Holiday magazine. Along the way from that sales assistant job to her current president post, she often found herself the first woman in jobs that had long been only done by men.
August 31, 2007
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.