Anatomy of Humbug Part 2 – By @Orla27Marie

Orla O'Connor

By Orla O’Connor


Anatomy of Humbug Part 2


Previously on Orla’s summary of Anatomy of Humbug was the creation of the definition of advertising as salesmanship in print.  The development of the AIDA model (attention, interest, desire, action) and introduction of the idea of memory in the prospects attention, which was added to the AIDA model.  


1950s Bill Bernbach went on to remind us that not only do you need attention but the attention your method of grabbing people’s attention has to be informative and make sense- “It would be wrong to attract attention by showing a man standing on his head, unless, for instance, you were advertising a product that would stop small change falling out of his pockets” [p54].


Rosser Reeves then puts forward the idea of the USP (Unique Selling Proposition).  Reeves – “the consumer tends to remember just one thing from an advertisement – one strong claim, or one strong concept” [p61].  He then put forward his addition to the definition of advertising as salesmanship in print:


Advertising is the art of getting a unique selling proposition into

the heads of the most people at the lowest possible cost.


By the 1960s motivational research had been popular and was now a dirty word, but was the opening eye to the fact that not all decisions we make are conscious and rational.  A fact that still has not been fulling figured out to this day.  (Rory Sutherland has some great talk on this kind of stuff).


Bernbach was a believer in Reeves theory and was quoted saying in 1980 “Make sure your proposition is right, than let your people say it incisively, artfully,unforgettably” [p88].  


Mary Tuck famous CW from JWT in the 50s was a believer that “Advertising was to reinforce and nurture preferences for a particular brand, and these preferences were largely based on emotional and nonverbal cues” [p99].


Stephan King then came up with a scale of immediacy that pushes the idea that different kinds of ads might have different response rates.  “Mail order ad invites immediate response in the form of scale, while at the opposite extreme a typical ‘brand image’ ad aims to reinforce existing attitudes in order to defend brand share” [p101].


1963 James Webb Young published his book (How to become an ad man) the proposes 5 ways ads work:

  • Familiarising
  • Reminding
  • Spreading news
  • Overcoming inertias
  • Adding a value not in the product


After all the introduction of all these models Feldwick proposes advertising isn’t jsu salesmanship but a 6 faces cube:

  1. Advertising is Salesmanship
  2. Advertising is seduction
  3. Advertising is salience
  4. Advertising is social connection
  5. Advertising is spin
  6. Advertising is showbiz


And there you have if folks that is my take aways from Anatomy of Humbug by Paul Feldwick.  

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