Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Campaign
Rothenberg chronicles the brief, turbulent marriage between a recession-plagued auto company and an aggressively hip ad agency (whose creative director despised cars), capturing both the ad world's tantalizing gossip and the broader significance of its creations. "Simply the best book about advertising I have ever read."--Neil Postman (Technopoly).
soon as she arrived in Philadelphia from the West Coast. Jerry drafted some copy for a magazine ad and included the claim, left over from his original SVX work, that the car had sixty-three safety features. When he presented it in an agency meeting, someone asked him where he got the statistic from. “I made it up,” Jerry answered. Everyone started laughing. Leslie, who had worked with automotive marketing executives for several years, thought to herself: He just decides to make things up! Car
played the Volvo crash-test commercial, then a Honda spot that showed a sleek Accord moving with clocklike precision on a turntable as music simulating the ticking of a watch played in the background. The spot was obviously created to showcase the Honda’s workmanship, but it also elicited a few groans. “The music—it’s so annoying!” one woman said. The Volvo ad also had detractors. “The front smashes and the back smashes, but you never see anyone walk out,” another participant complained. Lisa
meanwhile, went out and found a new source of financing, a Binghamton, New York, family by the name of Koffman, whose business was lending, often in huge amounts, usually for short periods of time, occasionally for controlling interests in companies that, sometimes, they would run, sometimes pull apart and sell. Mal’s connection to the Koffmans was a friend named Weiss who lived in the same Merion apartment complex in which he and Harvey resided. The Koffmans soon found themselves owning, in
they were always also-rans in coveted categories—the Whataburger fast-food chain instead of McDonald’s—and they always departed quickly. The agency remained unbalanced, with Subaru accounting for more than half its income through the decade. Schmidt tried to mollify his contentious underlings, telling each, out of earshot of the others, You’re the best. Those others stink. To pacify them, he gave them elevated titles and higher salaries. “He became the sugar daddy, and when things went wrong,
technology.” Make the car a badge of pride, and, finally, make the auto “the hero of the advertising.” DCA’s positioning statement underscored perfectly the agency business’s tendency to mask what are essentially well-founded opinions in the language of positivism. Advertising people are continually inventing empirical techniques, gussying them up in quasi-academic terminology, and bringing them to bear on the most subjective and individualistic of decisions. The agencies’ determinations are