advertising

12 articles
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The Economics of Infomercials

The $200 billion industry behind the Snuggie.

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A History of Like

Marketing research,the pre-Facebook history of ‘likeability,’ and why there will never be a ‘dislike’ button.

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An American (Working) in Paris

An advertising copywriter adjusts to daily life in Paris, and works in a dysfunctional office.
Office culture in Paris held that it was each person's responsibility, upon arrival, to visit other people's desks and wish them good morning, and often kiss each person once on each cheek, depending on the parties' personal relationship, genders, and respective positions in the corporate hierarchy. Then you moved on to the next desk. Not everyone did it, but those who did not were noticed and remarked upon.
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BuzzFeed, the Ad Model for the Facebook Era?

How the website mastered “Social Publishing”:

To understand some of the principles underlying BuzzFeed’s strategy, he recommends reading The Individual in a Social World, a 1977 book by Stanley Milgram, who is known, among other things, for his experiments leading to the six degrees of separation theory. “When some cute kitten video goes viral,” says [Jonah] Peretti, “you know a Stanley Milgram experiment is happening thousands of times a day.”

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How Carrots Became The New Junk Food

An industry responds to the recession by rebranding the carrot as anything but vegetable.

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Retail Therapy

How Viennese psychologist Ernest Dichter transformed advertising:
What makes soap interesting? Why choose one brand over another? Dichter’s first contract was with the Compton Advertising Agency, to help them sell Ivory soap. Market research typically involved asking shoppers questions like “Why do you use this brand of soap?” Or, more provocatively, “Why don’t you use this brand of soap?” Regarding such lines of inquiry as useless, Dichter instead conducted a hundred so-called “depth interviews”, or open-ended conversations, about his subjects’ most recent scrubbing experiences. The approach was not unlike therapy, with Dichter mining the responses for encoded, unconscious motives and desires. In the case of soap, he found that bathing was a ritual that afforded rare moments of personal indulgence, particularly before a romantic date (“You never can tell,” explained one woman). He discerned an erotic element to bathing, observing that “one of the few occasions when the puritanical American [is] allowed to caress himself or herself [is] while applying soap.” As for why customers picked a particular brand, Dichter concluded that it wasn’t exactly the smell or price or look or feel of the soap, but all that and something else besides—that is, the gestalt or “personality” of the soap.
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This Tech Bubble Is Different

“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

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Interview: George Lois

George Lois never actually worked at Esquire, he simply designed the most iconic magazine covers of the 60s as a moonlighting gig while revolutionizing (and, generally pissing off) the advertising industry by day.

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Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?

How a cartel invented and marketed the modern diamond.

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Google and Money!

Where the actual online money is centralized, and where Google will have to go to continue chasing it.

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The Future of Advertising

A survey on where the industry is headed. Says one agency veteran: “Marketing in the future is like sex. Only the losers will have to pay for it.”