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Free Book—Worth Every Penny

A version of this entry was originally posted on August 6, 2008 at the old Brandstory blog. Bob’s blog is still one of my favorites.

A month or so ago, I stumbled upon Bob Hoffman’s blog called The Ad Contrarian. It has quickly become one of my favorites. He’s not much for advertising as entertainment. He doesn’t appear to like ad planners. He’s not big on Internet advertising, the long tail, or conversations. He’s an unabashed defender of the power and effectiveness of traditional, interruptive advertising. His blog is worth a read.

But best of all, if you want a copy, you can download a free copy of his book (PDF), described by his agency’s president as “mercifully short.”

Written more like a short collection of blog posts (actually that’s exactly what it is), the book’s a pretty good snapshot of what’s wrong with the advertising world. But it doesn’t take the “end-of-advertising-as-we-know-it” approach that so many others keep talking about. Lots of interesting thinking, criticism, and ideas packed into 65 pages.

Of course, there is a catch. The last four chapters detail Hoffman’s (and his agency’s) approach to advertising, something he calls Performance-based Advertising. So it’s a bit of a promotional piece for his agency. Still, the principles are good:

1. Advertising is most effective when it is focused on changing behavior, not attitudes.
2. Advertising messages should be created for, and directed at, the heavy using, high-yield customers in your category.
3. We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand, we get them to love our brand by convincing them to try our product.

I like Bob’s approach. My favorite chapter can be found here. Check out his blog and book.

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