There are so many must-read advertising books. The subjects range from creativity to behavioural economics, strategy, divergent thinking, problem solving, social anthropology, marketing science, customer insight… the list goes on and on. In fact there are even so many lists of must-read advertising books that the lists go on and on. Exhausted from these never-ending reading lists, Lucian and Harry decided to make the list to end all lists, The World Cup of Advertising Books.
Using social listening tools, we started with a longlist of the 80 most commonly recommended books from marketing blogs, Twitter and the industry press. Then to whittle this down to our 32 contestants (and then seed them into groups), we ran them through our Must-Read Metrics: number of appearances on “top advertising books” lists, search interest and Goodreads rating.
Now, of course there are flaws with this experiment. Firstly, diversity. The drawback of using data – rather than personal curation – to build this list is that it’s nowhere near as representative or diverse as we’d hope. This brings up an important question about the makeup of our advertising canon of must-reads. Surely our aspiration towards diverse and interesting thought must hit a ceiling when our set texts come from such a homogenous pool of writers?
Secondly, just as VAR still makes mistakes, classic books will have slipped through the net. Sorry. But screaming at our omissions is all part of the fun.
We will conduct the World Cup as Twitter Polls so please share this article now(!) and then vote / retweet as we go so we get the largest sample size possible.
The Group Stages kick off Monday 23rd July.
The Knockouts on Tues 24th.
Last 16 on Weds 25th.
Quarters Thurs 26th
Semis, Third Place & Finals all on Fri 27th.
Full titles and authors:
David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising
Bob Levenson, Bill Bernbach’s Book
Adam Morgan, Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete
Ken Segall, Insanely Simple
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and …
Jon Steel, Truth, Lies and Advertising
Robert W. Bly, The Copywriter’s Handbook
Richard Shotton, The Choice Factory
Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising
Tim Wu, The Attention Merchants
John Hegarty, Hegarty on Advertising: Turning Intelligence into Magic
Les Binet & Peter Field, The Long and The Short of it: Balancing Short- and Long-Term Marketing Strategies
Byron Sharp, How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know
James Webb Young, A Technique for Producing Ideas
Bridget Brennan, Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumer
Al Ries & Jack Trout, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
Paul Feldwick, The Anatomy of Humbug: How to Think Differently About Advertising
Judie Lannon and Merry Baskin’s (ed.) A Master Class In Brand Planning: The Timeless Works Of Stephen King.
George Lois, Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential
David Trott, One Plus One Equals Three
Paul Arden, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be
Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference And Why It Matters
Lawrence Friedman, Strategy: A History
Phil Barden, Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy
John Caples, Tested Advertising Methods
Pete Barry, The Advertising Concept Book
JWT Planning Guide
Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Luke Sullivan, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This
Tom Goodwin, Digital Darwinism: Survival of the Fittest in the Age of Business Disruption
Judith Williamson, Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising