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Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,492 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Account planning exists for the sole purpose of creating advertising that truly connects with consumers. While many in the industry are still dissecting consumer behavior, extrapolating demographic trends, developing complex behavioral models, and measuring Pavlovian salivary responses, Steel advocates an approach to consumer research that is based on simplicity, common se ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 13th 1998 by Wiley
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Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
There are about a billions books like this, but each one that makes it on a respectable list usually has a nugget or two. There were a couple gems in here that had me pausing and starting out the window, thinking about my job. That's enough.
Meredith Jao
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: advertising-biz
Necessary reading for planners
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Memorable case studies. Re-reading this will be great.
Raghuram C
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why read this?

The answer is simple. If you plan to get into, or plan to do some meaningful work in advertising, this book actually can help.
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: grad-school
Literally put me to sleep several times. Some good points/takeaways but did not need to be a full book.
Sunitha Pai
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a page turner! Rarely, if ever, you can call a book on advertising research that..This was a British book and I found it easy to read, the language was impeccable. The book takes a commonsensical approach rather than spout rules of advertising and account planning like most books of the time are wont to do.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
as always, wonderful in this contemporary with no fantastic or elements but a surprise in the ending!
David Gambill
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Account Planners have a unique viewpoint of the customer's relationship to advertising. Steel's book highlights how some of the best campaigns in modern advertising history, such as Got Milk, needed creative insights to come to fruition. He also explains the intricate job of moderating focus groups to get the necessary information to elevate the campaign.
Kevin Grubb
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
No one cares about your brand.

I think that's the key message from this book, a message that anyone who sells (directly or otherwise) things for a living needs to bear in mind. Most of your customers don't care about your ads or your product's glorious features. Most of them merely have needs or desires they wish to satisfy, but this doesn't stop companies from feeling that their product or service is somehow "special." The key message is that your customers aren't loyal to you by default; in ad
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Steel takes a very tongue-in-cheek approach to describing account planning and its role in advertising. He makes the case for account planning - basically it's important role in executing and distilling the right type of research into key goals, audience details, and messages that can inform and spark creative work.

As I read Steel's book, I looked at it more through a branding lens than an advertising lens since that has more relevance for me. I found his ideas very familiar from the other resea
Gayatri Sriram
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
There's a lot to be learnt in the 250 or so pages of this book, but there is much more to be "un-learnt" as well. I don't know about the rest of the world, but Indians definitely take advertising way too seriously. "Learnings" of one campaign are unabashedly applied to every other clients brief, and case studies become biblical sources of guaranteed success. Much of it, as a result, is predictable. We may be avoiding a lot of heartache later on because of all these self imposed "rules", but we'r ...more
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a great foundational book for Account Planning. Jon Steel incorporates a lot of meaningful insights and examples from his past experience. I think this book goes beyond being useful to planners; it also illustrates what an ad agency should be like in order to build successful campaigns and ultimately, client relationships. Even though much has changed in advertising since the book's 1998 publication date, its content is still relevant and applicable to today's advertising strategies. Def ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Largely, this book gave a glimpse into the work which goes into understanding the persona and psyche of the target group. Once this foundation is built , it takes seconds to come up with creative ideas. This book is about the part of iceberg we dont get to see.

Key takeaways:
1] Identify the emotions/reactions which are naturally associated with a product. Then use that. No need to re-invent the wheel. [Cuervo Case Study]

2]Giving a glimpse into what will happen if the product ceased to exist alt
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
For all the account planning thing this book is extolled, it's the ad campaigns which drew me in. Campaign case histories namely Polaroid, Foster Farms & Got Milk will make you run to the author & give him a hug. Barring the high degree of dismissiveness with which he regards the discipline of market research, the book is a must read for all advertising & marketing enthusiasts. ...more
May 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
people always ask me what I do. they should read this book. its interesting and goes beyond just the advertising world. 4 or 5 case studies including the planning behind the got milk campaign. Jon Steel's a bad ass.
May 19, 2007 is currently reading it
"...being out of it has two main advantages. It allows me to see things that may be so familiar to a native that they have become invisible. It also allows others to see me as someone who needs to be educated."
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great introduction to account planning, giving you the history behind why the profession was established. Conversational, tactile knowledge. Pay attention to how the creative brief was born and how it has evolved today in agencies striving to disrupt the silos.
Luis Garrido
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ideas for advertising and account planning that were at least 10 if not 20 years ahead of their time. Literally. Brilliantly and entertainingly written, this book provides smart ideas for how to understand and connect with consumers in a meaningful, emotional, and empathetic way.
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great book that gives you an overhead look at Account Planning, the process of creating a creative brief, and the process that went into creating a few really great ad campaigns. Definitely recommended - this is a classic anyone in advertising or marketing should read.
Reema RP
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's a classic if you're looking into planning, like I am. However, there are many dated examples and I would recommend only reading up to Chapter 5 as the rest of the book is case examples. It's best to take away big picture points.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a door that has opened to give you a glimpse into the creative minds that are the world's best planners. Planning isn't just research, it's the creative use, interpretation, and gathering of that research. Now I only wish there was a detailed outline of how he goes from point A to B!
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a recommended book for anybody who wants to know about how ads are made from ideas or insights.

A good book to start with if you are an advertising student, or planning to work in the industry.
Isaiah Fapuro
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book (and I still want to be a planner, which I suppose is good for me!) My main take away is asking the right questions, and not being afraid to challenge existing ideas, which is my main issue at the moment.
Alex Devero
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: marketing
An account planner helps develop great advertising by working to understand the consumer’s needs and communicating those to the agency’s creative team as well as the client. This important role is all about creating a meaningful message and a human connection.
Joey Rath
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As others said, great introductory book to the world of account planning. I enjoyed reading this when I transitioned to a new job in account planning. It gave me new perspectives and considerations which helped me establish and understand in my role within the agency.
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those exposed to advertising
Shelves: pastreads
I liked it, very informative. I do not work in advertising. I have to return this book to my friend who does work in advertising but I sort of want to keep it....
Nick Tillman
Jul 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Great way to get some background in the way account planning works. Very useful for anyone who needs to do any sort of consumer research.
Chip Miller
Oct 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Possibly still the best Account Planning handbook in the ad business. This book will benefit anyone working with creative/artistic/content-providers.
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a very informative book on what account planning means and enlightens you on whether or not this is a career path for you. Easy to read and has some amazing examples.
Mar 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Every ad person everywhere
Recommended to Dave by: Kendra Gale
2nd best theory and practice adbook ever written - 2nd only to Ogilvy. Taught me what account planning was really about - and its importance.
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