"Storytelling" and "The Age of Persuasion": Two books on advertising

By James P. Othmer
Sunday, August 1, 2010


How Marketing Ate Our Culture

By Terry O'Reilly and Mike Tennant

Counterpoint. 324 pp. $26


Bewitching the Modern Mind

By Christian Salmon

Translated from the French

by David Macey

Verso. 173 pp. $24.95

Once upon a time may never be the same. For more than a century, storytelling and advertising have shared the same multimedia bed, provoking, manipulating, offending and occasionally entertaining the masses. But never has the combination of narrative and branding been as pronounced, exciting or dangerous as it is now. For every clever and entertaining viral sensation such as Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," there are countless other messages, from corporate-sponsored bloggers, YouTube activists and every medium or channel in the social media universe where it is nearly impossible to separate creative expression from insidious corporate pitch.

Terry O'Reilly and Mike Tennant's "The Age of Persuasion" is a lively, anecdotal primer that chronicles how advertising became, depending on whom you ask, a culture-shaping or culture-destroying $450 billion-a-year industry. O'Reilly and Tennant are advertising veterans who collaborate on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program "O'Reilly on Advertising," and their book is filled with smart and breezy tales told from an insider's perspective.

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