By Bob Hoffman
161 pages, softcover, $7.99
Published by Type A Group
If you’re already familiar with Bob Hoffman from his popular Ad Contrarian blog, you know what to expect from this book, and it’s not sunshine and roses. For 161 pages, Mr. Hoffman puts forth an all-out assault against the ills of the advertising industry. He details its hubris, delusions, click rate obsession, egos and genuflection of data, drops them all into a garbage can, and lights it on fire.
He truly pulls no punches and asks blunt questions: Do we really think people care about our banner ads? Do we actually believe consumers want to have relationships and experiences with a brand? Call him a curmudgeon if you like, but he backs up his opinions with solid reasoning. His humor shines in a section where he delightfully mocks the pomp of Cannes. He states that there are only two reasons to attend a marketing conference. The first: “to get as far away as possible from the dreary reality of marketing.” And the other reason is if he is a keynote speaker at the event.
He reserves a special ire for Facebook, warning of the immense dangers created by its tracking and online surveillance. His aim is not to convince readers subtly, but instead by grabbing their shoulders and shouting. He wants you to take the red pill, wake up from ignorance and focus only on what advertising should actually accomplish, which is to make people feel good. It’s that simple. —Dave Kuhl