Saturday, April 7, 2012

Book Review: Guerrilla Marketing (4th Edition)

Book: Guerrilla Marketing
Author: Jay Conrad Levinson

So after all this time, finally I'm doing another book review. I decided to read this book because one of my teachers recommended it.  It took me quite a while to read; it's a long book with teeny tiny type in it. But that won't factor into the review. I will be reviewing on context, not on how long it took me to read the book- which was a while.

If you are into advertising and you want a job in advertising, or already have a career in advertising, this book is probably not for you (unless you are on the account side). This is more of a marketing book. That's why it says marketing in the title. But, if you have a small business, this book is definitely for you. It has all the tools you need to get your small business marketing plan off the ground.

One thing I didn't like about this book was the lack of real life examples. The author does use some, but he doesn't give any names of companies or people. I know he does this for anonymity, but I felt that I could not connect to anything in the book; it all seemed distant. I wish there were more real life examples. Th best ones that Levinson did put in were about his own experiences. Those felt more real to me than any of the other examples he put in, probably because he mixed in some fake examples with some real life ones.

I know I said that I wasn't going to talk about this, but some of the chapters were ridiculously long. They went on forever. I know the author was trying to be thorough, and he did a really good job of covering all his bases, but really, some chapters were 60-odd pages long. When a book has really long chapters, it feels like it takes even longer to read.

I felt that since I'm an advertising student, many of the chapters did not apply to me. Although the E-Media Marketing and Human Media Marketing chapters were particularly enlightening to me. In fact, the E-Media Marketing chapter actually helped me with this blog!

Some of the content was definitely good and worth the read. However, if you're planning on going creative in the advertising business, I'm really not sure that this book is for you. As I said before, it is more of a marketing book. Although there are some good tips about marketing yourself in this book, there are other, more advertising specific books that would probably help you more. But, if you have a small business, you should read this book because it doesn't tell you to go and buy expensive advertising; it tells you to create a long term plan for your business.

I'm not sure what else to say on that topic. I made my recommendations and I'm going to stick with them. It was worth reading, even if I don't feel that would help me. Hopefully, this book is right for you.

That's all for now.

Friday, April 6, 2012

It's been a while

I won't lie. It's been a while since I last blogged. I've been neglecting it. It's been pretty hectic at school. But don't worry, I got lot's of book reviews lined up. I think it stands at eight or something like that. So I will get on that.
This is just a short post, because I don't want my blog to die. I will keep it going with lots of new content. Who knows, you might even see something new tomorrow. ;)

That's all for now.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Book Review: Truth, Lies & Advertising

Book: Truth, Lies & Advertising
Author: Jon Steel

What is an account planner? What kind of job is it? What does it take to be a good account planner? Jon Steel raises these questions in his book, and answers all of them. First, he says what not to do, then he gives advice on what you should do based on examples from his personal experience.

I like the fact that Steel admits that these are only suggestions in his book, not laws that you have to follow. That's because each situation is different, especially when dealing with people and brands.

The stories that he uses are extremely entertaining, and paint a perfect picture in your mind about what an account planner has to go through. These stories provided a good flow to the book, and made it quite easy and fun to read.

Each chapter in the book presents a different problem that an account planner must face pretty much in the order that it happens. It makes the book feel like a whole campaign, from beginning to end, even though there are lot's of stories in it from many different campaigns that the author worked on.

This book may have "Account Planning" in the sub-title, but it is definitely not just for people who want to be account planners. Creatives should read it too because it provides really good advice, and because it describes how hard it is to get a campaign off the ground.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in advertising because it is fun to read and provides valuable insight into agency life.

Now, you may be thinking, "This book was published in 1998. It's out of date!" It may be older, but it's still extremely useful. Things change in the business all the time. But, human interactions remain the same, whether it is face to face, like focus groups, or really weird methods of research.

Read this book. It will help you get a better perspective on account planning. But don't just read it for that, read it because it is a really good and fun book to read.

That's all for now!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book Review: Hey Whipple, Squeeze This.

Book: Hey Whipple, Squeeze This.
Author: Luke Sullivan

I read this book a while ago, and I finally got around to reviewing it (I was very busy at school). I'm glad I finally decided to review it, because there is a new edition coming out in the year.

Let me just say this: Wow.

I had to buy this book because it was recommended reading for school. I bought last January, just as I was beginning to study advertising. It sat on my shelf for a few months because I just didn't really care to read advertising books at the time, unless a teacher assigned a reading.

When I finally did decide to read it, I couldn't put it down, which, looking back, is probably a bad thing because I probably should have taken notes, but whatever.

I hear that this is the best book that was written about about advertising of all time (my teachers have said that). As of right now, I have to agree (although there is another book that I'm chomping at the bit to review which is a close second). Sullivan describes everything, from what it's like to be an advertising creative, to how to sit down and write ads. Probably my favourite chapter is the one in which he describes some horror stories about clients. It was probably the funniest part of the whole book.

Sullivan uses excellent examples of great ads throughout his book to hammer his points home, and he has no shame in showing off the first ad he ever did. I've got to say, he's come a long way. He became one of the best copywriters in the business.

Whipple was a lot of fun to read. I especially love the short paragraphs and the sub-heads: those really break up the book and let it flow better. I can't stand books with really long chapters and no sub-heads; you never feel like you get anywhere when you are reading them. But, I digress.

If you want to learn a lot about advertising in one read, then read this book. It is a must for anyone who is either in the business, or someone who aspires to be. Even account people should read it. It's that important.

I'm looking forward to the new edition because there will be lots of great information all about new media and digital packed into it. That was the only thing that was lacking in this edition. But you can't blame the author, they weren't as big at the time.

This book is a lot of fun, and it sure makes the ad business sound like fun too.

That's all for now.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Ad Bits Holiday Gift Guide

Well, it's that time of the year. The time to spend lot's of money giving out stuff that you're not sure people will even like. So, to avert a disaster, I've decided to put together a gift guide geared towards advertising people (professionals and students). I think I put a pretty good list together that should suit the needs of anyone looking for a really cool gift to give an advertising person. It's all after the break.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Night at the ADCC Awards

So a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Advertising and Design Club of Canada's awards show and after party. I apologize that I didn't blog about this sooner, I've just been extremely busy. School has just ramped up several notches, so it's been hard to get too much else done.

I also thought I would try out an app that I downloaded recently from the Android Marketplace which is some cool retro camera app. That's why the picture looks so interesting.

I wasn't allowed to take any pictures during the show, but I thought I would post some of the swag that you got if you were able to attend. Notice the really well designed book and posters with a common theme. Pretty awesome. The contents of the annual are really good too, of course.

So, on to the awards. It was an interesting ceremony to to say the least. Some really great stuff was honoured, some it design, and some of it advertising. Wow, I'm good at stating the obvious sometimes.

The speeches had to be the best part. They were the shortest speeches that I've ever heard. I guess I'm just used to the ones that you hear during things like the Academy Awards. The designers didn't say anything, and the ad people pretty much just thanked the client. The speech of the night went to a writer who had to accept an award on behalf of the agency for best cinematography in an ad. This is what she said:
"I'm accepting this award on behalf of the agency, because clearly, as a writer, I had a lot to do with the cinematography of this commercial."
I kid you not. It was pure awesome, and completely hilarious.

It was a pretty short awards show. Quite a few awards were given out, but I think the whole show lasted around an hour. The big winners were Rethink and Leo Burnett Toronto. They cleaned up. Leo Burnett Toronto also won agency of the year.

Overall, it was a fun night, with a lot of great Canadian work in the advertising and design fields being honoured. I would like to congratulate all of the winners, even though it's a little late.

That's all for now!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Review: The Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy

Book: The Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy
Author: Tom Monahan

Read this book. Seriously. If you are serious about going into creative advertising, or any job that involves some sort of problem solving, then you need to read this book.

This is essentially a brainstorming book, with all kinds of different ways you can brainstorm, either individually, or in a group. The names of some of the techniques are wacky, and will entice you to the point that you don't read the book in order.

You shouldn't read this book in order anyway. Read any section that you want at any time. It makes it much more fun. You will find yourself referring back to this book quite often, especially when you realize that these brainstorming techniques actually work.

Besides all of the brainstorming techniques, Monahan also introduces you to the idea of talent vs. creativity. I won't spoil it for you, but I know a lot of people will breathe a sigh of relief when they read that section.

Also intertwined throughout the book are little quotes from famous creative people and testimonials from people who took Monahan's course in brainstorming. This makes for great breaks in the action, and throws you some curve balls that make you think. Sometimes, no matter how great a book can be, you can almost get lulled to sleep by the act of reading (at least, that happens to me sometimes). But with all these little breaks that Monahan puts in, that will not happen  and your eyes will end up moving all over the page.

My favourite feature that this book has are what Monahan calls Cheat Notes. They summarize the chapter that you just read, so if you forget something and don't want to read the whole chapter again, you can just read the Cheat notes instead of skim.

I found myself using some of the techniques that Monahan described in my own work, wither in a group, or individually. They were very helpful and made for some good fun. A few pretty good ideas came of those sessions too.

I highly recommend this book. If you are in any job where you have to problem solve all the time, then this book is for you. This isn't just an advertising book, this is a Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter for even more insights into what it's like being an advertising student. That's all for now!