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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
If you're responsible for your company's advertising budget or its branding efforts, you need to read this pithy, iconoclastic book by marketing gurus Al and Laura Ries. The authors, best known for their acclaimed The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, begin with a blistering indictment of the advertising industry: Its products -- such as TV commercials and magazine campaigns -- are outrageously expensive, of little interest to most consumers, and can rarely be linked to an actual increase in sales. Even buzz-generating campaigns like the Energizer Bunny ads, Nike's "Just Do It" commercials, and Budweiser's "Whassup?" TV spots (the most honored in advertising history) have been unable to prevent significant losses in market share. Advertising, the Rieses conclude, is simply not able to fulfill its most basic mandate -- the creation of brand loyalty.
As an alternative to conventional advertising, the authors prescribe public relations -- and offer dozens of ideas based on the success of products (Krispy Kremes, Starbucks coffee, the Ford Mustang) that have achieved national recognition without ad campaigns. Krispy Kreme, for example, persuaded a local celebrity to be the first customer to sample a glazed doughnut at the opening of its Phoenix store; the resulting free media coverage was far more effective than expensive advertising. Although the Rieses acknowledge exceptions to their rule (Altoids and Absolut vodka are the most obvious), their argument is persuasive. This book is a quick, enjoyable read, and its core message could very well save your company substantial sums of money while earning it the most elusive of holy grails -- sustained customer loyalty. Bill Camarda