Then We Set His Hair on Fire: Insights and Accidents from a Hall-of-Fame Career in Advertising

Overview

According to advertising legend Phil Dusenberry, business ideas may or may not be valuable, but true insights are much rarer than ideas and much more precious. A good idea can inspire one commercial. But a good insight can fuel a thousand ideas, a thousand commercials. An insight gives you an entirely new way of thinking about your business.

Consider just a few of the breakthrough insights that Dusenberry's agency, BBDO, has offered their clients over the years: That General ...

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Overview

According to advertising legend Phil Dusenberry, business ideas may or may not be valuable, but true insights are much rarer than ideas and much more precious. A good idea can inspire one commercial. But a good insight can fuel a thousand ideas, a thousand commercials. An insight gives you an entirely new way of thinking about your business.

Consider just a few of the breakthrough insights that Dusenberry's agency, BBDO, has offered their clients over the years: That General Electric's unifying tagline should be “We bring good things to life.” That Pepsi should be targeting the “Pepsi Generation.” That Ronald Reagan's 1984 reelection theme should be “Morning in America.” That Visa should compare itself with American Express, not MasterCard. Talk about moving the needle!

Dusenberry argues that these brainstorms don't come out of thin air, even at a world class organization like BBDO. They are actually the result of a rigorous and disciplined process of insight generation, one that any manager in any type of business can adopt. Dusenberry explains this process—Research, Analysis, Insight, Strategy, and Execution (RAISE)—in plain English. And he offers examples of some of the greatest business insights of our time, from the birth of Federal Express to the positioning of HBO.

Moving the Needle will help businesspeople get to the heart of their toughest problems.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Dusenberry's practical if sometimes self-congratulatory memoir-cum-handbook, he asserts, "A good idea can inspire a great commercial. But a good insight can fuel a thousand ideas, a thousand commercials." The book is as thick as Campbell's Chunky Soup with instructive anecdotes from his long and storied career as former chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO North America. With illustrations from BBDO accounts including GE, Federal Express, Gillette, HBO and Pizza Hut, Dusenberry stresses the importance of strategic insight for distinguishing your brand and cutting through the proverbial clutter. GE's tag line, "We bring good things to life," which endured from 1979 to 2003, was built on the corporate giant's pervasiveness, for example. Dusenberry addresses the challenges of branding in today's "parity economy," doing research, creating ads that actually "sell more stuff," launching a brand, distilling what it stands for as the starting point for generating insights, and building a superior creative team. Throughout, he strikes an authoritative but conversational tone as he offers behind-the-scenes observations (e.g., on the infamous Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial). Dusenberry's theses are hardly earth-shattering, but his firsthand take on some major campaigns of the past few decades make the book worth a browse for aspiring marketers. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591840824
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/8/2005
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Phil Dusenberry is chairman emeritus of BBDO North America, the ad agency he transformed into a creative powerhouse. He joined BBDO as a copywriter in 1962 and rose through the ranks to become chairman while winning numerous industry awards. Since retiring in 2002, he conducts creative seminars and lectures around the world.

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