The art of advertising

Evil or art form? There are as many opinions on advertising as there are ads. Here's a glimpse into the world of mad men (and women).

Hated by many, loved by few. Whatever your views, there’s no getting away from the all encompassing presence and power of advertising in our everyday lives. And it’s not all salacious lies to make you spend money, it’s also fun, creative and, weirdly, comforting.

You don’t have to be in advertising to appreciate the quirky little coffee-table book The Medium is the Message, subtitled "and 50 other ridiculous advertising rules” by BIS Publishers. The book lists the 51 most common and obvious rules of advertising, and then balances the rules with comments from advertising executives, marketing experts, journalists, social commentators and anyone else that ever had a (semi) valid opinion.

Ad industry “insiders” will probably squirm at the transparency of the so-called rules and “outsiders” will have a kind of “aha!” moment. The rules aren’t of the prescriptive variety that every advertising wannabe should immediately memorise, but rather provide a sort of security, joy and giggle-to-yourself moment.

“If advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on” as American advertising executive Jerry Della Femina once said, then this book is probably the most fun you can have with advertising without being in advertising with your clothes on… or something like that.