Troubador Why Does The Pedlar Sing?

Released: 28/02/2021

ISBN: 9781800462526

eISBN: 9781800468993

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Why Does The Pedlar Sing?

What Creativity Really Means in Advertising


Throughout history, selling and entertainment have gone hand in hand - from the medieval pedlar and the medicine show, to generations of TV commercials featuring song and dance, comedy, and cartoon animals, right up to today’s celebrities who launch their own multi-million dollar brands. There are good reasons for this; we now understand better than ever before the psychological and sociological reasons why apparent frivolity creates serious business benefits. 

And yet the advertising business today seems reluctant to embrace its powerful links with popular culture. Misled on one side by managerial myths of rationality and logic, and on the other by a cultish misunderstanding of ‘creativity’, it risks forgetting how to appeal to the public, and how to build successful brands. As a result, evidence suggests, today’s advertising is less liked and less effective than ever before.  

But it is not too late to reverse this trend. Advertisers and agencies who read this book will rediscover why the pedlar sings, and despite what we’ve all been told, why people do buy from clowns. They will be inspired to make their advertising more popular, more famous, more fun again – and much more effective. 

‘This is a fabulous book. ...It is possibly the book I would most highly recommend to anyone in marketing.’ 
Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy

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 .

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Paul Feldwick

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.

Paul Feldwick
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