Just read it

Does the world really need another book on advertising that rehashes the genius of Bill Bernbach and the controversy behind Apple’s “1984” spot?

Probably not, but if it’s as fun to look at and as easy to read as Warren Berger’s Advertising Today (Phaidon, 2001), it’s a treat just the same.

Berger, an advertising journalist and contributing editor at Wired, provides a comprehensive—if basic—tour of creative themes of the past 40 years, from irony-laden Doyle Dane Bernbach Volkswagen spots to Nike’s postmodern “Just Do It” campaign and the inexplicable “oddvertising” of dot-com clients.

Each chapter features an interview with an advertising hotshot—Wieden + Kennedy’s Jim Riswold and Benetton’s Oliviero Toscani are two—as well as page after page of full-color ads.

Although there’s not much here that hasn’t been said, a few welcome touches—including a chapter on international ad-world hot spots and the (albeit muted) presence of culture critics Thomas Frank and Adbusters—make Advertising Today a well-rounded and engrossing pleasure to read.