Academic journal article Journalism History

Book Reviews -- the Ad Men and Women: A Biographical Dictionary of Advertising Edited by Edd Applegate

Academic journal article Journalism History

Book Reviews -- the Ad Men and Women: A Biographical Dictionary of Advertising Edited by Edd Applegate

Article excerpt

Applegate, Edd, ed. The Ad Men and Women: A Biographical Dictionary of Advertising. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. 401 pp. $75.

This reference volume is a collection of fifty-four short, biographical sketches of "some of the great creative minds in advertising." The entries were written by more than thirty scholars, researchers, and professionals. Each entry includes a list of any works written by the individual, as well as works about them, and also identifies notable clients and campaigns with which the individual is associated. It is particularly useful that client/campaigns are indexed, allowing researchers interested in particular creative efforts to determine if individuals profiled here were involved. Most entries seem to be well documented, although only a few are based on primary sources.

As the title suggests, "advertising greats" profiled include both men and women, which is refreshing since women's contributions to the field have received only passing mention in the past. Additionally, entries include individuals from the nineteenth as well as the twentieth centuries; some of the latter are still active participants in the business.

In the pages of this volume, one encounters many major personalities familiar to those with even a passing interest in advertising history: F. Wayland Ayer, Bruce Barton, Leo Burnett, John Caples, Albert Lasker, Helen Resor, and J. Walter Thompson. There also are many who are less well known -- Don Belding, Chester Bowles, Emerson Foote and Alex Osborne -- and some who may be virtually unknown to most -- Barron Collier, Margaret Hockaday, Maxwell Sackheim, and Victor Schwab.

I suspect the authors were given relatively free rein in their writing, for the entries vary dramatically in focus and approach. Some highlight an individual's advertising philosophy. For example, there is Thomas Burrell's belief that "the most effective way to reach a black consumer is to celebrate the people, not the product"; and Howard Gossage's audience-oriented philosophy which was in part articulated in his observation that "you don't have to bruise an elephant with 100 BB guns to kill him. One shot in the right place will do." One also is reminded of the "Powers-style" of writing copy, and Rosser Reeves' "unique selling proposition." Other entries, such as those of Barton, Earnest Elmo Calkins, David Ogilvy, and Helen Woodward, direct our attention to individual life experiences, career paths and accomplishments. …

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