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The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  299 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
The ad men behind CBC Radio’s The Age of Persuasion combine lively social history and years of industry experience to show how the art of persuasion shapes our culture.

Witty, erudite and irrepressibly irreverent, The Age of Persuasion provides a hugely entertaining — and eye-opening — insider’s look at the ever-expanding world of marketing.

The Age of Persuasion is for tho
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Knopf Canada (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 749)
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Dana Larose
Jan 01, 2015 Dana Larose rated it really liked it
I like their CBC show and this is pretty much a book version of it. A history of advertising (primarily in North America) mainly told through anecdotes and industry folklore.

One thing that's emphasized a lot is the authors' thesis that there's an unwritten Contract between advertisers and the public -- that the advertisers will give the public something for taking up their time. Ie., the ad will entertain or at least underwrite the cost of a tv show, magazine, etc.

Mar 28, 2015 Arlo rated it really liked it
As a huge fan of Mad Men, I saw the cover of The Age of Persuasion, with the iconic Don Draper silhouette looking kinda dejected slumped in a recliner and knew I had to read it. Even beyond being a fan of the show, I can't help but be interested in advertising, which has become such a dominant, unavoidable force in our culture. Ad men Terry O'Reilly and Mike Tennant have only deepened that fascination with their book, exploring every facet of advertising, from its humble, clumsy beginnings to br ...more
Mary Kathryn
Dec 06, 2010 Mary Kathryn rated it really liked it
I didn't hear the Age of Persuasion series on the CBC, but the book they made out of it is chock full of interesting facts and insights into the history of advertising and marketing. An engaging read for anyone who has ever wondered why Starbucks doesn't just call their drink sizes s, m, and l.
Jan 27, 2016 Frank rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a gift several years ago and never got around to reading it. It wasn’t for lack of interest and I have listened to O’Reilly on CBC weekly radio show on the same theme and with the same name.
There is a lot of good advertising but much more bad; O’Reilly and Tennant cover the waterfront. You’ll agree with most of what they say because they are so perceptive and knowledgeable. The book is informative, fascinating and entertaining. You will learn and lot, be better informed
Miguel Hortiguela
Aug 25, 2013 Miguel Hortiguela rated it liked it
Listening to the Radio Show was always entertaning and reading the book allowed me to reread themes that were of particular interest.
Mar 12, 2015 Karen rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-quit
Reads like a textbook of the history of advertising.
Carljoe Javier
Dec 26, 2011 Carljoe Javier rated it really liked it
Smart, broad, smoothly written book about not only the history of marketing, but the issues and ethics surrounding it. The book provides great examples of innovative marketing campaigns and explains them to the reader in an insightful manner, while letting those anecdotes come to reflect larger ideas. The content is mostly for people who are just getting into thinking about marketing, though for pros this might function as a nice shorthand. One of the best things the authors do is that they real ...more
Christine Rowlands
Jan 09, 2012 Christine Rowlands rated it liked it
I'm a fan of the Age of Persuasion radio show on CBC, and reading this book, you can almost hear Terry O'Reilly's voice in your mind. He shares lots of interesting stories behind various advertising campaigns, as well as plenty of relevant insight into the art of persuasion and marketing.

However, I read the ebook version, and it is not optimally formatted for e-reading. I often had to zoom waaay in to see the tiny quotes at the beginning of each chapter; the text was set at full-justified, mean
Joe Juarez
Nov 01, 2012 Joe Juarez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: joe-s-shelf
When companies advertise they are informing people about products while causing a stir in their psyche. In "The Age of Persuasion" Terry O'Reilly explains how certain advertising and marketing trends create, inspire, and cause panic people's lives.

Based off the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) radio show, "The Age of Persuasion" surprises a reader by explaining how products like Aunt Jemima pancakes and Kellogg's Corn Flakes were introduced to mass audiences in the late 1890's. It also shows
Sep 02, 2010 Brian rated it really liked it
One of the few radio shows that have been made into a book. I loved listening to show and I enjoyed the book as well. A major theme is how technology changed advertising.

One of the interesting vignettes tells the story that YouTube didn't take off until the Mentos mints and Diet Coke experiments were put on the site. "Videos showed the two element s combining,causing a high-powered, sticky geyser. By 2008 the top three Mentos-Diet Coke videos had drawn more than eleven million hits."

Laura Hogan
Fascinating subject matter - the advent of ad campaigns; the psychology of the consumer; the stories behind the characters that sell us stuff. Anyone who is a fan of the radio show would enjoy the book. It's long and full of detail; I would set it down for a month or so and then go back for more. The format is suited to that though as the chapters are relatively stand-alone.

The best part of the book is that I just heard Terry O'Reilly narrating the whole thing in my head.

If you were a fan of Bli
Sep 26, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, ebooks
If you are a fan of the series Mad Men or have an interest in advertising this is the book to read. It is an interesting look at how ad agencies try to influence the public to buy their products.
Ted Kinni
Jan 20, 2016 Ted Kinni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
The book is written for curious, non-professional readers, so there isn't much news for marketing pros. But everyone should enjoy the stories of advertising past and present.
Mar 20, 2011 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terry O'Reilly is at his best in this highly-readable book when he sheds his Adman's skin and focuses on the social history of advertising. What comes through a bit too often for this reader, however, is that his hidden (and perhaps subconscious) message is that advertising generally is a good thing. A genuinely thoughtful book would have probed this assumption with greater cynicism.

We are treated to a litany of successful advertising campaigns, without the biggest question being asked: if past
Jun 14, 2014 Jaclyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haven't listened to the radio series but I love this book. Highly entertaining, informative read on the history of marketing.
Dec 24, 2011 Monica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I think the real take away from reading "The Age of Persuasion," is that advertisers have to adhere to a contract with their advertising tactics. As in, (and I'll just quote here) "marketing and advertising must offer something in return for the interruption or intrusion it's creating." Whether that's a helpful tidbit of information or a quick laugh, without it advertisers are dead meat. Other than that, the unfolding of the book is very episodic, much like his TOTALLY AMAZING AND INTERESTING CB ...more
Aug 18, 2010 Lana. rated it really liked it
Did you know the word "brainwashing" came from the Chinese? (I had thought the translation so direct and literal that it was the other way around).

Such tid-bits appear in Terry O'Rielly's "The Age of Persuasion...", regularly and make the book seem like the written equivalent of a pop-up music video.

For those who enjoy the CBC Radio 1 production, The Age of Persuasion, you'll find that Terry and Mike Tennant deliver, just as on the program, information and entertainment perfectly rolled into o
Sep 17, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Anyone who gets caught up in the Mad Men tv show would probably get a kick out of this book.
It's a social history of advertising, and as authors are ad men themselves, they're sympathetic to challenges advertisers face in trying to connect with consumers.
It's all changing as there are many more outlets competing for our attention - and with the Internet, consumers can criticize products to a large audience.
It's very readable with examples of memorable campaigns.
Michael Foley
Aug 25, 2011 Michael Foley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book if you'd like a crash course on the history and methods of Marketing. It's sprinkled with wit and is an engaging read. This will make you understand the major benchmarks and reasoning behind what marketing was, what it has become, and insights into where it's headed.

I particularly liked the insight it provides about what it's like to be a marketer and having to compete with clutter and over-saturation. They hate it more than the consumer does!
A lively romp through the history, ins and outs, ups and downs of advertising. The underbelly exposed; failed branding ridiculous concepts, amusing stories along with knights in shining (and expensive) armour to the rescue; the makers and shakers, breakers of tradition and new ground. A great introduction to an understanding of how it all works, worked and where it might go. And well constructed, easily read and fun to follow. Just like the radio show.
Disappointingly generic macro analysis of- well, how marketing ate our culture. Unless you're somehow innocently unaware of the calculation and precision that goes into modern advertising, there's nothing new here. Reminiscent of the blandly wide-angle material you find in the pocket of the airline seat in front of you...
Aug 09, 2010 PastAllReason rated it really liked it
I love the radio series, and so bought the book. I liked it a lot, though, unsurprisingly it does cover much of the same content of the radio series. The difference between the two? Terry O'Reilly is a great presenter, and he and Mike Tennant know how to make a radio program engaging to listen to.
May 09, 2013 Kaija rated it really liked it
I really like this radio show, so since it was essentially the exact same thing I liked the book. I think it's funny how he talked about mediums not always being easily transferable yet did essentially; the exact same show as his radio program.
Jan 28, 2010 Robin rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
A great informative read from the radio producers/hosts of CBC's "The Age of Persuasion". A well written and easily understandable book about the history of marketing, advertising and its various methods as well as a look into the future.
Feb 17, 2010 Nick rated it really liked it
I thought this book was quite interesting. Advertising is a big part of the world today, and it was interesting to read about. Not much was said about online media, I guess because the author(s) were mostly radio folks.
Oct 02, 2012 Astrid rated it it was amazing
My mid-read review is on the Epilogger blog.

Otherwise, I can't recommend this book enough! A great read and very interesting.
This was a really interesting and readable book. A historical overview of advertising, liberally peppered with anecdotes and personal experiences. Recommended reading for everyone who wants to be a bit more "ad-savvy".
Oct 20, 2013 Mega rated it liked it
Great introduction to the world of marketing. The tools advertisement, salesmen and media uses to propel you to act, pay and buy now. Or at least plant the seeds for unconscious needs to act.
Nov 03, 2011 bossy rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Will never look at advertising the same. Very entertaining to read, and an innovative way to look at the world that now surrounds us. A world where ads are as present as air.
Oct 30, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-library
Don't be alarmed by the title; this is not an anti-consumerist rant, but an informative and entertaining look at the history of advertising, based on the CBC Radio series.

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