THE END OF ADVERTISING AS WE KNOW IT
Zyman began his career in an advertising agency, worked his way up to become the chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola and now runs his own marketing consulting firm. Readers might expect him to be a friend of the advertising industry, having played on both sides. But he doesn't hold his punches, particularly when it comes to the industry's recent emphasis on shock value, a trend that is also mocked by another new book, The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR, reviewed below. The nearly simultaneous publication of both books should concern ad execs who've based their campaigns on irony and nonsense. Their work might win ad industry awards, but it does little to sell products, both of these books argue. Zyman also advises marketing managers on such esoteric decisions as whether to tap a dead celebrity for a TV spot or to trust in fads like "viral marketing." Frequent references to last year's terrorist attacks make the book feel up to date, but sometimes result in jarring passages, such as, "Right after the September 11 attacks, Pepsi started having a little trouble keeping consumers interested in the message." No kidding. Zyman addresses chief executives and marketing managers directly, counseling them to get tough on their ad agencies and base their evaluation of the agency's work on whether it sells products or services, not on whether it generates buzz. Seems like obvious advice, but judging by recent commercials, Zyman's thorough, thoughtful words might be the kick-in-the-pants the industry needs. Illus. (Sept. 27)
Forecast: The cover photo—of Zyman staring sage-like out at the reader—might work, as he is well known in his field, although he's not exactly a familiar face to the public at large. While the book is aimed primarily at CEOs and marketing managers inside companies, advertising and PR execs will want to read it, too.