First some background…Joseph Jaffe is a consultant and former advertising executive who has written a book called Life After the 30-Second Spot. In November, he issued a call to all marketing bloggers to review the book and to show the power of the blogosphere. Without even reading the book, I think this blog review promotion is fabulous and shows the shift from traditional models. In fact, I may steal the blog review for my book. In any case, I’ve read Jaffe’s book and as promised, here’s my review…
Life After the 30-Second Spot
Energize Your Brand With a Bold Mix of Alternatives to Traditional Advertising
The big idea behind Jaffe’s book is a good rant that traditional advertising models are dead/dying, especially the sacred cow of the 30-second television commercial. The death is due to several factors, including changing media and the change in the way people now accept information.
Jaffe sets up the book in sections. Part of the book is spent making a good case that the current model of advertising is broken, why it’s broken, and what that means in the long term. He then offers several “new marketing” solutions to fix these problems. There are sub-sections written by some top marketing practitioners as well…so you’re getting a variety of viewpoints which is refreshing for a book of this type.
I went into the book thinking it would be just another rehash of the old “death of advertising” lecture that everyone has heard over and over. But I was pleased to discover that Jaffe brings up new ideas and passionate arguments that I had not heard/considered before. There’s a lot of new info in the book. Overall, I would say that Jaffe’s book is an alternate view of the Seth Godin TV-Industrial complex example from the ad agency perspective.
I think the overall premise of the book is right on. I’ve been saying the “old ways” have been losing their effectiveness for a while. Consumers are changing. Communication models are changing. Marketing will have to change as well.
Another thing that I liked about the book was the chastising of corporations who don’t target their marketing. They just throw it out there and hope something works with someone somewhere somehow. It’s a great testimony to my idea of thinking small and narrowcasting.
I did find a few problems with the book. Jaffe’s zeal/passion for his ideas made the book a little hard to read. There were a few moments that he went off on a tangent and I had to re-read to get the idea.
However, I think the most glaring negative for the book is its audience focus. I had the haunting feeling while reading it that it was “too-niched”. Jaffe leans the book toward the advertising industry and not the entire business world. If you’re not an ad guy (or gal), you’ll have a hard time following it. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, it is an Adweek book. Someone has to slap Madison Avenue to get their attention and Joseph Jaffe does it.
If you were having a discussion with David Ogilvy about changing the way we advertise, I think the book would be a perfect resource. But, if you want to convince some C-level suits who don’t know anything about marketing (and there are lots of them!), the book will help, but may not sink in.
But I do recommend this book. The problems/ideas Jaffe brings up will not go away. Marketing that worked in 1984 will not work in 2005. The way people respond to advertising is changing and business will have to change the way they market to consumers. This book is a good start to show the way we’ll have to change.
DISCLAIMER: Joesph Jaffe provided me a free copy of the book.