The Age of Persuasion
How Marketing Ate Our Culture
Publication Date: March 2010
List Price: $26.00*
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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 affects our lives, our society, and our world.
Enter Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant, the ad men behind The Age of Persuasion, the popular radio show broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Sirius Radio. They have made it their mission to share the back-room story of modern marketing, entertaining asides and all:
Think of advertisers as millions of ants in a colony, each working hard and each with its own objective. Except that in this colony, every single ant is competing against the others. That’s the ad business. Almost every ad you see, hear, and otherwise experience is competing for a piece of your imagination. And like any cross-section of humanity, the vast, worldwide advertising community is diverse: composed of geniuses and idiots, saints and buffoons, and everything in between.”
From the early players to the Mad Men of the 1960s and beyond, O’Reilly and Tennant offer insights into a rapidly evolving industry. Smart and funny, The Age of Persuasion provides an entertaining and eye-opening look at a world driven by marketing.
Praise for The Age of Persuasion
"O'Reilly and Tennant, the ad men team behind the Canadian radio series The Age of Persuasion, offer a witty and insightful look at the perpetually evolving advertising industry. With an eye-catching page design, featuring interchanging text formats, dictionary entries, and full-page shaded myth debunkers, the authors keep readers engaged through technical passages with servings of fun factoids on what Clark Gable's lack of an undershirt, Star Wars, John Mellencamp, and John McCain have to teach us about advertising. The authors are gifted communicators, and their conversational narrative covers successful advertising tactics, such as how to effectively market to Yoots” (anyone in that Holy Grail demographic of under age 20), the impact of YouTube, the power of song, and multisensory experience. Appealing and informative, this ragbag of pop culture references, jokes, anecdotes, solid research, and advice will be indispensable to marketers or anyone curious about the power and ubiquity of advertising in modern culture." Publishers Weekly
An easy-to-read and often subversive primer on marketing.” The Globe and Mail
I loved this book. I thought I had a pretty good idea of everything that’s happened in the history of American advertising, but I didn’t. I do now. The book is thorough without being heavy-handed, fun without being flippant, full of fascinating facts that fill in some voids that needed to be filled in. The only thing that might make it better would have been to include a few more quotes from me. Keep it by your bed.”
Bob Levenson, chairman and international creative director, DDB International; vice chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi, New York and Scali, McCabe, Sloves, New York
The Age of Persuasion provides a wonderful romp through the history and inner workings of advertising. I am not sure what I enjoyed more, the insight and wisdom about the ad business or the wit and charm of the storytelling; either way it’s a great read for all of us living in the Age of Persuasion.”
Doug Checkeris, chief executive officer, North America MediaCom
Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant blend history, stories, wisdom, hundreds of facts, and just plain fun into an original, compelling, entertaining, and insightful perspective on the impact of creative communication on our culture and on our everyday lives. It is a terrific book!”
Bob Schmetterer, author of Leap: A Revolution in Creative Business Strategy
If there’s one brand that advertising has failed miserably at making people understand, it’s advertising itself. This book goes a long way in correcting thatnow if they could only do the same for car dealers.”
Bob Kuperman, former president and chief executive, DDB New York
As a public broadcaster, I’m contractually obligated to despise advertising, and by extension to despise those who create it. Somehow two ad menTerry O’Reilly and Mike Tennantslipped through my defenses. The Age of Persuasion will be enjoyed by those inside the ad world, but it’s more than an insider’s guide. It’s a funny and fascinating window into a part of our culture that’s too little considered by outsiders like me.”
Jesse Thorn, host and producer, PRI’s The Sound of Young America
Language is art. Advertising is art. Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant really deliver on that in this book. The Age of Persuasion made me stop, think, and realize that everything we do as marketers (day in and day out) can matter . . . and should be better. Because, in the end, advertising is not just about persuasion. It’s about the stories we tell and how they connect with real people and what those real people do with those stories. The Age of Persuasion is one of those great stories.”
Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image and author of Six Pixels of Separation
The Age of Persuasion must be read by anyone in the business of marketing goods and services, creating or placing advertising, and by those who aspire to such noble things. This book is a fun read and a wonderful combination of historical and contemporary context.”
John P. Hayes, Jr., chief executive officer, Third Avenue Media
A terrific look into how advertising, marketing, and culture are all inexorably intertwined. A great read for anyone interested in branding . . . a must-read for any student of advertising.”
Rick Boyko, director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, former chief creative officer, Ogilvy North America
Just when I thought I heard all of the cool stories about the grand old world of advertising, Terry and Mike have created an intriguing read that will fascinate both everyday people absorbed with the ad game as well as dyed in the wool mad men’ and women.”
Ignacio Oreamuno, president IHAVEANIDEA and Portfolio Night
As an overworked copywriter for many years I was thrilled to be reminded of what it took for us to persuade.”
Joy Golden, founder of Joy Radio and humor persuader
On fire with ideas, bursting with insights, this wildly entertaining insiders’ history of persuasion takes us from the dawn of the telegraph to the future of the Internet. It’s a riveting read, crammed with the very human stories of the anonymous alchemists who shape our lives and our world. Henry Ford once said, Nothing happens until somebody sells something.’ There’s never been a better exploration of that premise.”
Steve Hayden, vice chairman, chief creative officer, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
Ad man Terry O'Reilly is behind the Canadian radio show and new book The Age of Persuasion. He uses his insider perspective to dissect the world of advertising. More at NPR.org
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