659: Adland by Mark Tungate

by Gerard


659.109: Tungate, Mark. Adland: A Global History of Advertising. London: Kogan Page, 2013. 252 pp. ISBN 978-0-7494-6431-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 650: Management and auxiliary services
  • 659: Advertising and public relation
  • 659.1: Advertising
  • +09: General history

No matter where you look—unless you live in a cabin in the woods without newspaper delivery, television service, or the Internet—you will find some form of advertising. Ever since the first person decided to sell one thing to another person, manufacturers have sought the best avenues for getting the word out about their product. The first print advertisement appeared in 1849 (for service that more accurately measures one’s head for hat-fitting purposes, of all things) and from there, everything snowballed. Mark Tungate’s Adland is a mesmerizing look at the history of advertising from the first major British agencies to the influences of Eastern advertisers to today’s Internet pioneers.

The history of advertising is almost too immense to consider writing a single book about it. Almost every product you use has been advertised somewhere (there are still a few products out there that have never been advertised, though). Tungate’s books doesn’t go through every campaign in the world, but rather outlines the great campaigns and the lives of their creators and the agencies that supported them. He lays out the history of advertising as a ebbing and flowing sea where ideas are born, wash away, and are reborn. Ideas and products come and go, but the sustaining force is the creativity of the advertisers. Many of history’s great writers and actors got their start in advertising, including Alien director Ridley Scott.

For those who watch Mad Men, this book will reveal a lot of the behind the scenes history of great advertisements. One thing this book suffered from, however, was a disturbing lack of illustrations. If you’re going to talk about historical advertising campaigns, it would do to have a  look at the actual ads. This may be the only I’ve ever wanted to see ads in my entire life. Tungate’s research is undoubtedly thorough, and maybe even too much so. He blasts through so many agencies and figures that it’s a little difficult to keep track of them all. That being said, it’s detailed and interesting and will get you thinking about the components of advertising and how that world interacts with your own. A delightful read.