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I’ve been meaning to write about this for quite a while, but the plan was too grand and therefore required too much time – usual problem! I was going to write a detailed review, so instead I’ll just list out a few reasons why this is one of the best books on advertising I’ve read.

1. They talk about a series of campaigns that we should all know about – including Skoda, Citibank, Lee Jeans, BMW Films, United Airlines, etc…

2. They sum up the way to get something out of a focus group in a simpler, better way than I’ve seen before – looking for a “buzz” in the room – that moment when people start talking more freely – they’ve found something worth discussing.

Which is the whole point – we spend too much time in research asking people for approval of our ideas rather than watching to see what stimulates people. And, how many times have you seen research that dismisses people saying “I’d want to find out more” as negative when the same moderator asks a question near the end along the same lines and takes the Yes/No answers to that as more indicative of behaviour in the real world.

Apologies for the rant, but: we build a false world in focus groups, then too many times we interpret the answers without any filter – rather than looking for what inspires people to respond.

And this is why I like the way they put it so much – it’s a serious point – they just make it sound simple and my ranting has made it more complex again!

3. They clearly have a conscience and use it – they don’t just follow the money – they do things they believe in. They’re not exactly St. Luke’s (in their heyday), but they’re good people.

4. They build the concept of the “Brand Minute” to explain the value of BMW’s online films – not sure if this has been used elsewhere, but it makes for an interesting thought – particularly as we race towards a world of content branding (as opposed to ads that we push at people).

5. Like all good agencies (in my mind), planning is fused into the creative process and not a separate art.

6. It’s readable – interesting enough and well written enough that you don’t have to labour through it!

Hell – buy it. I’m willing to bet you’ll enjoy it and learn something.

At the very least, go have a look at some excerpts on Amazon…