Book Review, May 2011: From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor

About the writer: Jerry Della Femina is one of the old school of Madison Avenue ad men who defined American Advertising during its golden age of the 1960s. This book apparently the inspiration behind the TV show ‘Mad Men’ and straight out of the block, Della Femina’s writing hits you like the kick from a three Martini lunch.

As someone that grew up in creative industry, I have to admit and believe that this book is exposing the hate and love of surreal world of advertising, and not even one piece of statement of the fact that mistakenly wrote with actual situation in these days in most of agencies.

It’s enjoyable ride in every chapter. And what so interesting about the this book is, he’s coming from creative side, not the account side. It’s like taking few pints after long days with your creative colleagues and laugh about stuff of what your AE did this morning. Unlike modern advertising, taking the 60s – 70s era, advertising was genuinely creative driven, but he didn’t deny the fact that client interruption, account people common sense (as if they have), censorship, and many things that affecting the result of the creative work. This book spill the truth of creative people (those always late comers-excuse-complaining kind of people-lol-I was one of them too), the fact that account people got nothing but dance to survive, and also agency cocky cranky boss.

One of the chapter:
“What account guys have to do to surviving today is dancing, I mean they’ve got to be agile, with very, very good footwork so they don’t get shot easily. You see, they’ve got nothing to sell. Your copywriter, no matter how young or how bad, has his book-his portfolio-to show. An art director also has a portfolio. Or they’ve got reels, short presentations containing all the commercials they’ve ever shot. But what does the account man to show? Nothing….”
Witty but so true.

But he mentioned about that fact about creative people and their career above their 40s. They are so replaceable with younger creative lads. Isn’t it?

This book is highly recommended for those people who spend their life in one corner of their agency’s office (or their client’s office), sucking their cigarette while waiting for their late night snack. Or for those who trying to get into advertising world and believe that it’s one fun glittery glamorous and (not so) healthy job for their professional life. You decide. Like Della Femina said: “Advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on” (only applied for some clients).

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