Saturday, December 29, 2012

Learn something while laughing

Last 2012 Book Review

101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising
Hoffman writes candidly and direct. His understanding of advertising is sharp and I highly recommend his first book, The Ad Contrarian, to others.  I’m a believer that his level of candor is an important element missing from the other end of the advertising spectrum.  When I read his stuff I feel a lot more centered from the bland and blather that primarily collects dust on the shelves of most advertising professionals.  I wish there were more writers like Bob Hoffman in Marketing and Research calling things out as they see them.  Overall, this book (or computation of 101 blogs as he clearly communicates at the beginning) walks hand-in-hand with his original.
If I had to give one criticism it would be a hint of hypocrisy toward the back of the book.  He refutes an opposing critic’s claim that he is overly fixated on the value of television advertising, and then spends an inordinate amount of the book praising the virtues of television advertising.  I think this was partly a result of compiling a number of blogs into a single book, but my experience has also taught me that his critic is likely not completely off the reservation.  My experience in advertising and media has taught me that ad agencies (which Bob works within) are disproportionately obsessed with television advertising (partly for the creative challenge and emotional appeal, but more because of the higher commissions agencies collect from television advertising).
Don’t get caught up in my criticism in this review.  Bob’s tips on selling and creating strong advertising are priceless.  He also manages to make it entertaining.
Here are a few passages that caught my attention:
“After 100 years in the agency business, I still have no idea how to create great ads.  It’s a code I haven’t cracked.  But I do know how to sell them.  Get your real creative leader together with their real decision maker and get everyone else out of the f**king way.”
“The best advertising is strategically wise, creatively pleasing, and specific.”
“So far, there has been one type of online advertising that has been clear and unqualified success: search.  But search is limited.  Mostly, we use search once we have decided to buy, much like we used the Yellow Pages.  Search fulfills demand; it doesn’t create demand.”
“You see, solving real problems requires unpleasantness.  Systems have to be changed.  Products have to be redesigned.  People have to be fired.  Floors have to be swept and walls have to be painted.”
“In my experience, the ability to synthesize an imaginative strategy is unrelated to job title.  It has to do with intelligence.  Let the most intelligent people do the strategizing, regardless of their titles.”
The Fightin’ Analyst Book Rating:
out of five stars