Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don't under-estimate advertising.

Amid all the sturm and drang about the death of advertising--about how consumers are impervious to messaging, a new book has come out that was just reviewed in The New York Times Book Review. It's called "BUYING IN: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are." And it's by Rob Walker, who writes "Consumed," a weekly shopping-culture column in The New York Times Magazine. You can read the review here:

The point seems to be as more and more people say they pay no attention to advertising, consumers, in fact, are ever more consumed by consumerism. Here's what seems to be the pithy-core of the book:

"Few of us will admit that we frequently succumb to salesmanship, and that marketing produces in us needs we never knew we had. Advertisers play along, assuring us that we’re tough to persuade; the trade press laments the birth of a “new consumer,” shoppers hopped up on YouTube and TiVo who are said to have developed a strange “immunity” to advertising. “I’m not much of a consumer,” knowing youngsters confess to Walker — just before they launch into arias on the transcendent qualities of their favorite MP3 players or preferred brands of beer."

In other words, advertising can quote Mark Twain "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

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