Being Direct: Making Advertising Pay

Lester Wunderman, Author Random House (NY) $25 (336p) ISBN 978-0-394-54063-4
Born in a Bronx tenement, Wunderman started his own advertising agency with his older brother in 1939, at the age of 19. It went under two years later. With a never-say-die attitude, he learned the ropes, and by 1959, Wunderman, Ricotta & Kline (WRK), which he had founded a year earlier, was the world's largest agency specializing in mail-order advertising. A collector of African art, conversant with Spinoza and Marshall McLuhan, Wunderman credits his 1972 meeting with the chief of Mali's Dogon tribe as the key to his understanding of kinship and power-sharing-insights that led him to merge WRK (now Wunderman Cato Johnson, which he chairs) with a larger general agency, Young & Rubicam. Highly skimpy on personal detail, this career-oriented autobiography is a seasoned pro's detailed casebook of direct-marketing hits and misses. Wunderman's campaigns helped launch the American Express card, boosted Time Inc.'s magazine division circulation, devised interactive media to sell Lincoln Continentals and made the zip code an accepted part of the postal system. His account of these and other legendary feats is high-energy. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1996
Release date: 12/01/1996
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 303 pages - 978-1-55850-834-7
Hardcover - 978-0-609-00010-6
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