The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture
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The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  226 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Stop to consider the culture of the 21st century: Each morning, you might hear a half-dozen ads on the radio before your feet touch the floor. Staggering out of bed, you’ll pass brand logos on your clothing and in your bathroom. By the end of the day, hundreds — perhaps thousands — of marketing messages have targeted you. And yet so little is understood about how marketing...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Counterpoint (first published 2009)
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Miguel Hortiguela
Listening to the Radio Show was always entertaning and reading the book allowed me to reread themes that were of particular interest.
Carljoe Javier
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
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...more
Joe Juarez
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...more
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...more
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...more
Haven't listened to the radio series but I love this book. Highly entertaining, informative read on the history of marketing.
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
Schnitzer Ang
This book is on history of marketing, branding and how it evolves through time.
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...more
Dana Larose
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.

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
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!
Clivemichael Justice
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...
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.
Mary Kathryn
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
David Werner
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.

Interesting read on the history of advertising, from the point of view someone in the advertising industry. Enjoyed the chapter on Guerrilla advertising the best.
Nathan Cordery
A good read for anyone just starting out in the ad business. Provides a crash course in the history of it all with lots of little tidbits of information.
Jan 29, 2010 Susanne marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm enjoying the radio version of this (Saturdays at 10:00 am on the CBC & Mondays at 11:30) and am looking forward to reading the book.
Jan 13, 2010 Sheila is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Just started this book. I am a fan of the radio program and expect the same intensity when reading the book.
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  • The Brendan Voyage: A Leather Boat Tracks the Discovery of America by the Irish Sailor Saints
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