The Anatomy of Humbug
How to Think Differently About Advertising
by Paul Feldwick
with a Foreword by Jeremy Bullmore
How does advertising work? Does it have to attract conscious attention in order to transmit a ‘Unique Selling Proposition’? Or does it insinuate emotional associations into the subconscious mind? Or is it just about being famous... or maybe something else again?
In Paul Feldwick’s radical new view, all theories of how advertising works have their uses – and all are dangerous if taken too literally as the truth. The Anatomy of Humbug deftly and entertainingly picks apart the historical roots of our common (and often contradictory) beliefs about advertising, in order to create space for a more flexible, creative and effective approach to this fascinating and complex field of human communication. Drawing on insights ranging from the nineteenth century showman P.T. Barnum to the twentieth century communications theorist Paul Watzlawick, as well as influential admen such as Bernbach, Reeves, and Ogilvy, Feldwick argues that the advertising industry will only be able to deal with increasingly rapid change in the media landscape if it both understands its past and is able to criticise its most entrenched habits of thought.
It’s a great story, and I learned a lot.
Patrick Barwise, Emeritus Professor of Management and Marketing, London Business School.
...fascinating, provocative and inspiring. It's a joy to read.
Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London
....a genuinely original book, unlike anything ever written about advertising....
Judie Lannon, Editor, Market Leader.
....a unique and extraordinary book....
Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy London .
Paul Feldwick worked in an advertising agency for over thirty years; he became head of the planning department at Boase Massimi Pollitt and later a Worldwide Brand Planning Director for DDB. Since leaving he has worked as a consultant in the fields of strategy, brands, and organisational change, but retains a strong fascination for advertising itself. He has Master’s degrees from the University of Bath School of Management and Ashridge Business School.