Anatomy of Humbug

The Anatomy of Humbug

‘The Anatomy of Humbug: how to think differently about advertising’ by Paul Feldwick has been called genuinely original, fascinating and ‘required reading’ by some of the advertising industry’s leading thinkers. It’s also provocative stuff. Here you can find more about the book, read some of the reviews, link through to get your hands on a copy and view photographs from the book’s launch event.

About the book

How does advertising work? Does it have to attract conscious attention in order to transmit a ‘Unique Selling Proposition’? Or does it insinuate emotional associations into the subconscious mind? Or is it just about being famous... or maybe something else again?

In Paul Feldwick’s radical new view, all theories of how advertising works have their uses – and all are dangerous if taken too literally as the truth. The Anatomy of Humbug deftly and entertainingly picks apart the historical roots of our common (and often contradictory) beliefs about advertising, in order to create space for a more flexible, creative and effective approach to this fascinating and complex field of human communication. Drawing on insights ranging from the nineteenth century showman P.T. Barnum to the twentieth century communications theorist Paul Watzlawick, as well as influential admen such as Bernbach, Reeves, and Ogilvy, Feldwick argues that the advertising industry will only be able to deal with increasingly rapid change in the media landscape if it both understands its past and is able to criticise its most entrenched habits of thought.

Thinkbox was delighted to support the launch of Paul Feldwick’s new book ‘The Anatomy of Humbug: how to think differently about advertising’ at the Ham Yard Hotel, London. A glittering array of eminent industry thinkers came along, and you can see the pictures from the evening, right here.

What are people saying about it?

A genuinely original book, unlike anything ever written about advertising …  Feldwick writes with clarity and wit …. His book should be required reading for anyone in the business of communication …

Judie Lannon, Editor of Market Leader

Fascinating, provocative and inspiring

Jim Carroll, BBH’s Chairman

It charts the often wide gulf between how we think advertising ought to work … and how it really does

Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather UK

It’s a great story and I learned a lot

Patrick Barwise, Emeritus Professor of Management and Marketing at The London Business School

In a world seemingly addicted to binary solutions, this book will help you avoid becoming an advertising fashion victim …. it’s the history of advertising theory, but with the added joy of being filtered through the immense wisdom, experience and brain of this advertising guru.

Tess Alps, Chair, Thinkbox

You can buy the book right here.

More about Paul Feldwick 

Paul Feldwick worked in an advertising agency for over thirty years; he became head of the planning department at Boase Massimi Pollitt and later a Worldwide Brand Planning Director for DDB. He has also chaired the APG and the AQR, and was the third convenor of judges for the IPA Effectiveness Awards. Since leaving DDB he has worked as a consultant in the fields of strategy, brands, and organisational change, but retains a strong fascination for advertising itself. He is well known as an author and speaker. His celebrated new book, The Anatomy of Humbug: How to Think Differently About Advertising, was published in February 2015. He has Master’s degrees from the University of Bath School of Management and from Ashridge Business School.





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