MARKETING MIX: Book of the week

The End Of Advertising As We Know It,by Sergio Zyman (John Wiley & Sons, £20.95).

Like the little boy who exclaimed that the emperor, far from wearing fine new clothes, had nothing on at all, Sergio Zyman has stood up and said what many of us believe, but too few accept - that in today's environment traditional advertising really doesn't work. And Zyman should know, back in the early 1990s he was chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola.

His book pours scorn on the self-congratulatory nature of some sectors of the advertising industry. Campaigns by Apple, Budweiser and Coca-Cola come under criticism for delivering improvements in awareness but not sales, and of creating a culture that rewards 'creativity' for its own sake.

But does Zyman offer any insight into how we should be developing marketing campaigns that deliver real commercial benefits? It's at this point that he lets himself down. Jumping away from 'traditional advertising' he extols the virtues of celebrities, PR, packaging, sponsorship and employees in getting the desired messages across. While his enthusiasm is infectious, the problem is that if you're even remotely versed in the subjects, it all seems rather obvious.

If you're solely an adman, you have to read this book. If not, there's a good chance that you know most of it already.

Huw Williams is planning director at WDPA Communications.

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