March 17, 2015

Stranger Than We Imagine

I had the occasion to read a wonderful book about advertising last week. It's called The Anatomy Of Humbug and is written by Paul Feldwick.

The book is fascinating and superbly written. It takes us from the beginning of the modern era of advertising up to the present with charming anecdotes and intelligent analyses of the people and ideas that have made us the struggling, bewildered ad hacks we are today.

It also explores some thought-provoking ideas about the ad person's eternal question: How the fuck does advertising work?

Additionally, it motivated me to publish something of my own.

Back in October, I wrote a 3-part post about "quantum advertising" (I know, pretentious as hell) which (in a much less thorough, entertaining or intelligent way) also deals with the nature of how advertising works. I have now published it as a little booklet (ePamphlet?) at Amazon under that title.

I wanted to make it downloadable for free, but Amazon insists that an author charge at least 99¢. The good news is that I can offer it for free a few days every quarter. So you can download this thing for free for the next 3 days (until 11:59 PM PDT Thursday.)

One thing that Feldwick's book and my booklet have in common is that neither of us is satisfied with the standard model of advertising as simply a function of either logic or emotion. It is probably a lot stranger than that. But don't try to tell that to your client. Marketers prefer clear answers that are wrong to vague answers that are right.

So here's what to do. Buy The Anatomy of Humbug and then, for dessert, download Quantum Advertising.

Big thanks to Mark Earls for giving me The Anatomy Of Humbug.


steakandcheese said...

Thank you Bob, got my free copy. It'll be a good read on the ever so overcrowded London tube.

Charlotte said...

Exactly! That's the best part. All can be done at once.

Charlotte said...

That title seems so, so, un-you. I've downloaded it and will certainly absorb it.
Ultimately, though, I buy stuff because I'm hungry, need something new for a client meeting (I dress to impress and shoulder pads are out), or I have to clean the oven. I love great ads, but see so few. Here's to creating awesomeness and havin' a green beer!

Cecil B. DeMille said...

All of my business cards just say "Shut The Fuck Up." Works wonders.

Also, I politely throw the fucking card away if I do not intend to follow up. Which means, aside from the weed dealer and the cute harlot, I keep NO cards. My pocket space is important to me.

Bailey Burk said...

I think deep down in there you are correct. We (as in the industry) have over analyzed everything and the masters of Ad Tech have added additional layers of bull shit to wade through. Great advertising makes a connection - sounds simple, hard to accomplish.

Mark said...

Bob -
Have you considers offering your book at You download it once, but they make it available in a wide range of formats. You can set any price from free on up. They will also submit it for you to online retailers.
BTW, if you're into free books, I have four to give away at

antoniosanz said...

Thanks Bob for sharing your timeless wisdom in our troubled times. Amazon refused first and later redirected me, but finally managed to download 9 time zones away from SF. The added angst made reading your condensed opus that much more special.