Date of this Version
Rothenberg's book is a delight to read, and it provides a singular opportunity to compare what the agencies delivered in the Subaru proposals with what clients should expect. On the negative side, the book lacks structure so that it is difficult to follow the time sequencing or understand how events were related. I propose a set of agency selection criteria and use this to help evaluate Rothenberg's account. The criteria are drawn from my 15 years of experience in teaching advertising at the Wharton School. The focus of this teaching is normative (how should firms advertise), not descriptive (how they advertise). Rothenberg's account implies that the industry is out of touch with its clients' needs. The major problem is that some agencies view advertising as art, whereas their clients view it as a way of selling products. It is not clear these views are even related. Indeed, according to Polonsky and Waller (1995), it is not even clear that award-winning advertisements increase an agency's billings.
Armstrong, J. S. (1996). Review of Randall Rothenberg, Where the Suckers Moon: An Advertising Story. Retrieved from https://repository.upenn.edu/marketing_papers/87
Date Posted: 14 June 2007
This document has been peer reviewed.