Thursday, June 29, 2006

Book Recommendation: Conquest of Cool

It seems like today's a day to recommend books. Russell's doing it. John's doing it. All the cool kids at Fallon are doing it. I'm gonna do it!

The absolute most insightful book on advertising I've ever read is Thomas Frank's The Conquest of Cool. I've recommended this book before and will probably do it a few more times. Ostensibly, the book is about the Creative Revolution--the dramatic change in advertising that took place in the sixties.

For me, the entire book turns on a single line:
Whatever form prefabricated youth cultures are given by their mass culture orginators ultimately doesn't matter: they are quickly taken apart and reassembled by alienated young people in startlingly novel subcultures.
First off: I would cut off one of my fingers to write a sentence as balanced and lyrical as that. Yeesh, I feel like a total writing-clod when I read stuff like that.

BUT: read that line one more time. Not only was this was written about the sixties, but it was written a good seven (or so) years ago. But this is exactly the animating insight behind consumer generated media.

Let's say it outright: the CGM Revolution is as important an event in development of advertising culture and practice as the Creative Revolution. In fact, they may be direct descendants of one another. This book doesn't often show up on these lists because it is not a business book, per se. But I've kept a dog-eared copy on my desk for a long time.
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Blogger Jennifer said...

great recommendation and wow - bonus points for that fabulous cover art, don't you agree?

10:13 PM  

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