Parker’s a Mad Man, but he’s written one hell of a book.

February 26, 2009

Parker: Let the buyer beware!

Parker: Let the buyer beware!

A senior colleague at my agency is terrified of George Parker. Prior to joining us, he’d worked at an advertising agency that was regularly taking it on the chin, and elsewhere, from this merciless critic of, what he calls, Big Dumb Advertising Agencies, or BDAs.

For those unawares, Mr. Parker runs the wildly popular trade blog, AdScam/The horror! According to Parker, as many as 10,000 of us visit it daily. To put that in perspective, my blog gets close to 400 visitors a day and I’m damn thankful for them.

But ten thousand? Parker does it by offering content that’s unashamedly caustic, critical, profane and, most of the time, deadly accurate. If you don’t agree with me, take it from Ad God, Jeff Goodby who wrote as much in the preface to Parker’s new book, which I have now just completed.

6a00d8341bfa1853ef01116857d7fc970c-75hiThe Ubiquitous Persuaders…

Meant to be an update of Vance Packard’s bestseller, The Hidden Persuaders, Parker manages to do just that and, surprisingly, sans the massive quantities of “piss and vinegar” pouring from his website.

Those familiar with Adscam may be surprised to find not the hard R Parker from his blog, but rather a more professorial version, cleaned-up and, dare I say, erudite. Could we have a Jekyll & Hyde in our midst? Dr. George the learned author. Mr. Parker the fiendish blogger!

After noticing the lack of four-letter words the second thing you’ll notice about the book is how well the man writes. Unlike his ripping and addictive blog, here we find well-crafted arguments fashioned by delightful prose. Sorry, George, but it’s true. You write like the voice of experience you so clearly are.

In a scant 200 or so pages, Parker has captured our business, filleted it, cooked it and served it right back to us… deliciously. He tells us where we’ve been as an industry and shows us where we’re going. I don’t agree with everything Parker writes but part of me wonders whether it’s more that I don’t want to agree with it. His vision of advertising does not suffer Fools and Asses. Unfortunately, it makes a lot of us look like them.

In a way, I think The Ubiquitous Persuaders is the first legitimate textbook on Modern Advertising: its beginning, middle and perhaps end. I’ve read most of the popular texts written about advertising, as has Parker, and yet this one feels definitive…like there’s nothing else left to say.

That is both a compliment to his book and, scarily, an indictment on our indust


10 Responses to “Parker’s a Mad Man, but he’s written one hell of a book.”

  1. Steffan…
    You are a fucking prince… It takes one to know one.

  2. Be joyous he didn’t call you a douchenozzle.

  3. William…
    Did YOU buy the book… If not, you are a douchenozzle… And you don’t want that, do you?

  4. Andy Webb said

    Only being called a colostomy bag could be worse.

  5. Malcom Z said

    If you go to your nearest library and ask for the book, they are obligated to order it. fun fact for aspiring authors.

  6. SRP said

    I’ve heard this is true.
    A couple of my readers have done this versus dropping a sawbuck on Amazon.
    Maybe hire the homeless to go from library to library…

  7. George,

    Getting the D-Nozzle moniker from you is like being called a hockey puck by Rickles–a badge of honor. So the threat didn’t exactly motivate me to purchase. But Steffan’s review did. I’m a new proud owner.

  8. SRP said

    Good line about Rickles.
    But seriously…
    Parker’s book really does capture the whole beast.

  9. Clover said

    I read george’s first book a while back. It was pretty good, actually. So I guess I’m in for the sequel…

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