Up the Agency: The Funny Business of Advertising

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9780312099305: Up the Agency: The Funny Business of Advertising

Before his glorious retreat to Provence, delightfully chronicled in his best-sellers A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence, Peter Mayle made his career in advertising, beginning as a copywriter and finishing thirteen years later as a creative director ("I think I was also a vice president," he writes "but I never had the cards printed"). Up the Agency is his caustic valentine to the culture of Madison Avenue, where the tribal customs and rituals are as wondrous to behold as the sights on any anthropological expedition.
Treading fearlessly and wittily where no one without a customized BMW and matching Armani suit has gone before, Mayle dissects this odd and endlessly fascinating industry - where the speed of a new talent's ascent can be matched only by his shocking fall months later. Whether describing the perfect ad man, the frenzy and desperation of putting together a new campaign, or the treachery of the fickle product-buying public, Mayle brings his insightful eye to bear on this very funny business, which brings both pleasure and pain to millions - and millions to a few.

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About the Author:

Peter Mayle spent fifteen years in the advertising business before escaping Madison Avenue in 1975 to write books. His work has been translated into seventeen languages, and he has contributed to a variety of newspapers and magazines. "A Year in Provence" won the British Book Awards' "Best Travel Book of the Year." He and his wife live in Provence.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Generalities about advertising by the tireless Mayle, whose first novel, Hotel Pastis, is reviewed above. Rather than offer a riotous nailing-down of idiocies in advertising, Mayle depends more upon dry wit rather detail here and sends up the mast only nameless ad companies and misadventures with flopped accounts so that all may salute their stupidity. We get a series of amusing think-pieces about companies and accounts, accompanied by a laying-out of the guts of building and running an agency. Mayle's largest thoughts hover on a scenario in which today's some 640 ad companies will be gobbled up into 20 or so giants that will devise a new translingual ad-lingo for selling Global Biscuits to any country on Earth and for making biscuit- eaters brand-loyal. A single worldwide campaign will build on one consistent message to establish the ``international biscuit''- -``with all the glamour and excitement associated with international products.'' Historically, Mayle says, advertising ``has attracted individualists, entrepreneurs, and talented misfits.'' They join up because the ad biz promises big money fast, under the rubric ``Get Rich or Die''; because it's fun; because you can leave it after ten years and enter an allied profession at top level. He foresees, though, the decline of the individualist as mammoths merge and each new entity is run by carbon copies who are ``Good at meetings, adroit at politics, prudent, measured, solid, reliable....'' Among his gems, Mayle presents the senior VP who calls his underlings into a meeting, then peels a $20 bill ``from a fist-sized roll of bills and use[s] it to polish his already gleaming toe caps before crumpling it up and throwing it into the waste basket.'' Should hit big among Madison Avenue masochists, less big elsewhere. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Peter Mayle
Published by St Martins Pr (1993)
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Mayle, Peter
Published by St Martins Pr (1993)
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