We all want to have our message heard. In Bang! Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval tell us how. They and their talented colleagues are the brains behind a host of memorable and highly successful ads, from the enormously successful AFLAC duck to the irresistibly sentimental "Kodak moment" to Herbal Essences' outrageous "Totally Organic Experience." Kaplan Thaler and Koval offer savvy advice and proven strategies for getting out a loud, clear, attention-grabbing message about any product or service.
Presenting an arsenal of "big bang" ideas, the authors interweave entertaining recollections about their successes and failures, as well as those of other companies, with specific guidelines on establishing an atmosphere conducive to innovative breakthroughs. They show why having "enough" time to work on a project can be a disadvantage and why working in a small, cramped space is often the best way to come up with big ideas. Their insights into using intuition to capture just the right idea or phrase offer a new perspective on shaping and sustaining a marketing presence.
Full of colorful anecdotes and inspiring accounts of campaigns that have propelled revenues and dramatically increased market shares, Bang! shows managers how to create a marketing campaign that cuts through the message clutter and creates a marketing explosion.
©2003 Linda Kaplan Thayer and Robin Koval; (P)2003 Random House, Inc.
"Although the author's advice is targeted primarily toward businesses and other publicists, the glitzy anecdotal writing is witty and informative enough to appeal to those interested in advertising and popular culture." (Publishers Weekly)
"If Al Gore had had this book in 2000, George W. Bush wouldn't be sitting in the White House." (James Carville, author and Democratic strategist)
"Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval 'get it' from every angle. This [audio] book is full of extraordinary insight on effective message delivery." (Gordon Bethune, Chairman and CEO, Continental Airlines)
After seeing a rating of 4.3 stars on Audible.com, I happily downloaded the book expecting a treat. What a disappointement! I've been an Audible subscriber for some time now, and this has been the first book I haven't finished. I got about one quarter of the way through and deleted it.
Pros: Some good stories and ideas (but nothing that you couldn't find in any other marketing book of higher quality).
Cons: As another reviewer suggested, the author merely gives examples of successful ads and tries to explain how they worked because they went against the grain and got a lot of attention. Well, I could have told you that! The real problem lies in the author's conclusions. The underlying theme seems to be: "Do the opposite of whatever you think will work best." If you think an ad is tasteless, inappropriate, and irrelevant, then run it because it will be a great success. If the ad has nothing whatsoever to do with the product, then it is more likely to succeed. For example, one of her "bright" ideas is: "You must forget about what makes sense...illogical thinking means that when you're asked to promote a bottle of water, you realize that water is the last thing you should focus on."
Conclusion: I give this book a rating of 1.5 stars. Don't waste your time on this book.
As an engineer turned entrepreneur, I thought this audio book would be of great value to me. I was wrong.
While this agency has great creative, the book is light on content, with asides that are consistently distracting and of little or no value. Platitudes like "Creative people need special working environments" or "flat structures are better for small teams" seem to make up the bulk of the management advice.
Finally, as a small businessperson, hearing about how "we won a 15 M dollar contract for advertising" and not "we generated 50 M dollars worth of new business" through campaign x reminded me why a typical marketing exec will be late on our list of hires.
Avoid this book, and watch an AFLAC commercial instead--the duck can communicate more about marketing than this book.
There is an old hollywood joke about a self-absorbed starlite who is at a dinner party and bores the producer seated next to her about how talented she is. When she sees him yawn she finally gets a clue and says, "I'm sorry. I've been doing all of the talking and haven't given you a chance to talk about how great I am."
Undoubtedly the author is a talented person and has earned the bragging rights to numerous successful ad campaigns and one or two examples to prove her point would have been interesting, but the continual "look how great I am" is like covering a single strawberry under the entire contents from a can of whip cream. The message gets lost in all the fluff.
Ironically the "Bang" message has exploded the core essence of how to apply the method into smithereens and few remnants remain. The other problem is that the book is really meant to be a sales tool directed to marketing directors with 5 million plus campaigns to launch. (I say 5 million because the author says that even that is chump change in her circle.)
The essence of the book is that you start by abandonding preconceived ideas about a product, that you start with a blank sheet of paper and approach the project with the idea of turning everything on its head. The test for success is if it doesn't raise a few eyebrows you need to rethink it because to get attention you are bound to stir the ire of a few letter writers.
If you are looking for something along the lines of "Bang" and want more than fluff, then I'd like to suggest Edward De Bono's "Lateral Thinking." It is more of what "Bang" should have been.
If you have a marketing budget over $20M a year, then this book could be good for you. The rest of us cannot afford to pay millions to make people laugh or just know that we exist. I felt that the whole book was one big advertisement for the authors firm. "look how good We are", and worse yet "Look how great I am". The rabbit trail into organizational consulting and office arrangement was mind-numbing. I found myself yelling in the car and wondering if I had something better to listen to.
If you manage creative people - Get the book
If you have millions to blow on comedy - Get the book
If you are interested in investing so your ad agency can win CLEO's - Get the Book
If you need to generate revenue, reach new customers, engage viewers, listeners, readers, or existing customers, listen to Seth Godins books. Far more practical for all but the upper tier companies.
This book is one of the best I have ever encountered! I am a Brand Manager for a very large food and beverage company and I discovered at least 10 pieces of powerful advice in this book. Plus the narrator is simply the best I have ever heard. She makes the stories come alive and the book flies by so quickly because of her skills, I listen over and over again. I am so thankful for this book. It has improved my skills and creativity tenfold!
Wow! This is an incredible piece of writing and an interesting insight into the the creative process of this particular agency. Mrs. Thayer is brutally honest in her warts-and-all presentation of even her own past mistakes when illustrating her points. This honesty only adds to the credibility of her advices and the tales of her and her agency's many successes.
Only two things struck me, hence the four stars rather than five.
At one point she attributes the creation of the VCR to the wrong company. This sounds minor, but when so much of the book is anecdotal, it made the facts of the stories from outside her direct participation slightly suspect to me for a little while. But listening on, I heard no other error of this type.
The second is her assumption of resources and NYC tunnel vision. She asserts in her book that for less than a million it's impossible to do much more than print posters and refers to her company's humble beginning as being "a little ten million dollar shop." Ten million maybe little for the New York market, but for advertising agencies outside that specific region it's anything but. A great deal of great work gets done outside NYC, Chicago, Boston and LA, and for far less than a million.
But all that said, this book is still outstanding, inspirational and a fun listen.
Definitely a great book and I got some good info outta it. She makes a good effort to be funny and entertaining. Though it's very apparently her target for this book is the fairer sex. Many times I rolled my eyes.
Love My Audible... for work or special interests!
Great source for learning creativity and understanding how to connect the dots. My ad clients are seeing a new me...
"The 7 Hour Advert"
I listened intently for the entire duration of this, what I can only describe as 'advert' for the author's own advertising/marketing company KPG. Time after time she tells us about how she, often singlehandedly from her own self-confessed brilliance, won the account, came up with the concept and project managed and wrote the theme tune - and each time ending the anecdote with the phrase '...and the client LLLLOVED it!'
We are given very few new ways of thinking about marketing, advertising etc... In fact the entire book is filled with cliches on how to run a business. I admit the these cliches are in fact good advice for anyone new to business, I just expected more from this book mainly as it is true that KPG have had some really successful campaigns over the years. Unfortunately the only piece of advice I could gain from this book (and I did so indirectly) was that as a company, self publicity is everything - which explains excactly what this book is, a brand-awareness exercise for the author's company!
I did not LLLLLOVE it! I'm afraid, Linda.
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