Maybe it’s because the Research Intelligencer staff has been knocked off the grid thanks to a winter storm and we’ve had to rely on more analogue media -- especially printed books -- than normal. Or maybe it’s because we have only a tiny amount of battery power to get today’s edition out, but we find the insight published Thursday by Pew Research to be our current most essential truth.
Absent an electrical power outage, or drained batteries, many people now prefer reading electronic media. In fact, the nationally representative poll of 2,002 Americans conducted in January finds that only four in ten only read printed books, and only two-thirds ever read a printed version anymore.
While that has been a boon for “e-readers” and audio books, why is that an essential insight for people in advertising, media and marketing? Aside from the fact that it also is a harbinger for consumer preferences in ad-supported media, it is a timely insight for us to tease a forthcoming review of a book we currently are reading in analogue form. Actually, we are reading it in “advance uncorrected proofs -- not for sale” printed form, because the book won’t be in stores, on Amazon (and truth be told, on e-reader and audio download platforms) until June.
The book is incredibly relevant to advertising and marketing people, because it’s mostly about them, and it contains some remarkable truths about them and the industry they work in. It’s called “FRENEMIES: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else),” and it was written by one of the best journalists and authors ever to cover the industry -- Ken Auletta.
We’ll save the good stuff for the official “review” next week, but the book is gripping, not just because of the subject matter, but because of Auletta’s wonderful narrative style and the unbridled access he had to sources. Sources who we’d be lucky to talk on “deep background” are, well, transparently on-the-record here.
It begins with a big bang -- Madison Avenue turncoat Jon Mandel’s March 2015 whistleblowing ANA speech about rebates, kickbacks and the non-transparent, underhanded business practices that have become the norm on Madison Avenue in recent years -- and goes on to colorfully profile some of the most central characters in the ad industry’s most recent disruption, especially MediaLink founder Michael Kassan, in ways we all know, think and even whisper about, but rarely ever nail down as explicitly and indelibly as this book does, especially in print.
Well, that's it for today, because we're nearly out of power and if we don't send this newsletter soon, we won't deliver on our promise of organizing truth for you daily.