Published by Spiegel & Grau on June 13th 2017
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In The End of Advertising, Essex gives a brief and pungent history of the rise and fall of Adland—a story populated by snake-oil salesmen, slicksters, and search-engine optimizers. But his book is no eulogy. Instead, he boldly challenges global marketers to innovate their way to a better ad-free future. With trenchant wit and razor-sharp insights, he presents an essential new vision of where the smart businesses could be headed—a broad playing field where ambitious marketing campaigns provide utility, services, gifts, patronage of the arts, and even blockbuster entertainment. In this utopian landscape, ads could become so enticing that people would pay—yes, pay—to see them.
It feels kind of lazy to start a review with the publisher’s blurb, but the blurb is a nice summary of The End of Advertising, by Andrew Essex.
As promised, Andrew does look at current advertising behavior and why people are choosing to use ad blockers. Spoiler: current ads are annoying, intrusive and ineffective. He uses lots of personal anecdotes, including describing his son’s attitude to ads, and how they set up ad blockers together. He doesn’t just look at digital. I agree with how unimpressive Super Bowl commercials are.
There’s an interesting discussion of advertising history. The End of Advertising does feel a little long, but I suspect that’s more me. I’ve been reading so many instructional books lately that an information book feels big. It’s only 240 pages.
Who Should Read The End of Advertising?
I hesitated a bit on this question. While Andrew tells the advertising industry what it needs to do to survive (use earned media and public relations), this book isn’t really going to help anyone be a better marketer or advertiser. It’s a great read though. I think I would have devoured it when I was doing my public relations degree and was looking more generally than for a how to. So students and probably non-marketers who are interested in advertising.
Apologies that this is not the most exciting book review. Either in existence or that, I’ve written. I’m taking a break from book reviews to get through my to-read pile and produce more of my own work.