Required Reading

Bone up on the ad biz with this back-to-work book list

Casting for Big Ideas: A New Manifesto for Agency Managers by Andrew Jaffe (John Wiley & Sons)

While the advertising, media and business environments are fundamentally different than they were 20 years ago, the typical ad-agency structure and business model have hardly budged. Shops large and small must adapt to survive, argues Jaffe, former executive director of the Clio Awards and now a consultant. He propose ways to “re-engineer and rethink the agency model to rig it for tomorrow’s market instead of hoping that fate and luck will make everything come right.” His outline for change is peppered with advice from all corners – from advertising lawyer Rick Kurnit to’s Jon Kamen – and examples of various new approaches to old problems.

Brands That Rock: What Business Leaders Can Learn From the World of Rock and Roll by Roger Blackwell and Tina Stephan (John Wiley & Sons)

Elton John, KISS, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Madonna and Neil Diamond have connected with a loyal fan base for years. What’s the lesson for brand managers? Treat your customers as fans, say Blackwell and Stephan, president and vice president, respectively, of Roger Blackwell Associates in Columbus, Ohio. Their book, due out next month, charts each act’s formula for enduring success. KISS, for instance, “have vision; define an image; talk to people; give them what they want; package it with a dose of fantasy; and make them a part of something bigger and more exotic than they could be on their own.” The band’s “segmentation-to-mass-market growth strategy” is compared with Wal-Mart’s – possibly the only time Gene Simmons and Sam Walton have been mentioned in the same breath.

Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval with Delia Marshall (Currency/Doubleday)

The mantra here is that a “Big Bang” in the marketplace – such as “Just do it,” the iMac, Starbucks or The Sopranos – comes out of counterintuitive thinking. As Kaplan Thaler and Koval, founders of The Kaplan Thaler Group, see it, Big Bang ideas “are simply too outrageous, too different, too polarizing, too illogical to go unnoticed.” Their chatty, straight-talking book, due out Oct. 21, describes how they combat the “sea of sameness” in advertising with an agency environment that welcomes procrastination, discourages politeness and encourages failure.

Body of Truth: Leveraging What Consumers Can’t or Won’t Say by Dan Hill (John Wiley & Sons)

Hill puts a scientific spin on his marketing philosophy, which dismisses the notion that consumers act as rational beings who decide to buy a product for its practical benefits. Hill’s company, Sensory Logic, evaluates consumers’ subconscious reactions to marketing for clients that include Target, Goodyear and Toyota, and he argues that because scientists now believe body and mind are inseparable, marketers must target the five senses. While rational thought may be easier to interpret and present to a roomful of marketing executives, he says, a deep and lasting connection is established by communicating with the target on physical, sensory and emotional levels.

The Art of Client Service: 54 Things Every Advertising and Marketing Professional Should Know by Robert Solomon (Dearborn)

The former chief executive of Rapp Collins Worldwide in New York includes plenty of self-effacing anecdotes to expand on his aphorisms for account execs – the CEO he knows who “has just one flaw: he doesn’t know when to shut up” turns out to be Solomon, telling readers to respect people’s time. Accordingly, the book is a quick read, with tips on everything from running meetings and presenting to attitude and style (“Casual is not code for slovenly”).

Your Marketing Sucks by Mark Stevens (Crown Publishing)

Clearly, Stevens doesn’t beat around the bush, and he doesn’t walk on eggshells, either. The blunt message – that flashy commercials do nothing to sell product – echoes Ogilvy’s “devote your genius to making the cash register ring.” Stevens, president of marketing agency MSCO in Purchase, N.Y., berates anyone who’s in the business to win “ego awards for beautiful ads,” and claims a marketing budget is wasted if it doesn’t achieve concrete goals. He follows up with an outline for programs that, he claims, will generate awareness and get results.

How to Advertise: Building Brands and Businesses in the New Marketing World by Kenneth Roman and Jane Maas with Martin Nisenholtz (St. Martin’s Press)

The first edition of this primer, published in 1976, was edited by David Ogilvy. For the third, released last week, authors Roman, former chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather, and Maas, a creative director at Ogilvy, had help from Nisenholtz, CEO of New York Times Digital, who adds an interactive perspective. Also new this time around are chapters on integrated communications, crafting ideas and the role of the client.

The New Account Manager by Don Dickinson

Account managers wear two dozen hats, says Don Dickinson, director of advertising management at Portland State University, whose textbook tells students and those learning on the job how to finesse all those tasks. The former svp of Gerber Advertising in Portland covers the nuts and bolts (budgets, conference calls, status reports) and the bigger picture, describing a week in the life of an account manager and dispensing career advice.

Written by Simon Butler, Lindsey S. Myers and Laurel Scheffel