Today on the Menu: George Parker (Need We Say More?)

By Matt Van Hoven 

Crappy car advertising, crappy PR pitching, crappy big agencies and my crappy phone: things you’ll hear today on The Menu in an interview with George Parker. He’s by far the most unapologetic person we’ve had on the show, which makes it one of the more interesting segments. He’s also the first adman.


We got on the subject of blogging because, as you well know, George’s blog AdScam and AgencySpy are in the same realm. We do different things, but in posts past George has made a point of flagging not only agency bullshit, but things he doesn’t like about well, me. So we asked him: wouldn’t his arguments be more palatable if his tone were more straightforward? “Why should I try and tone it down, and be a nice guy?” Parker asks, making the point that if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.

We talk about “the work”. My question is does it really matter? Jeff Goodby was quoted at Cannes this year saying awards don’t really matter. Why? The work that gets sales isn’t the stuff (usually) that wins awards. So then, the work is really only important to the industry &#151 which makes it art, sort of.

George wrote a book called The Ubiquitous Persuaders which is an update (50 years!) on Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders. Your industry is about selling, the means to an end that puts products people don’t need right in their laps. Buy it here, and only here.