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Fables, Fashions, and Facts About Advertising: A Study of 28 Enduring Myths

by John Philip Jones SAGE Publications, Inc
Pub Date:
Pbk 328 pages
AU$137.00 NZ$140.87
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The workings of advertising have always remained a bit of a mystery; until about 1960 virtually nothing of the effectiveness of advertising was known. There was even some doubt about whether advertising worked at all. In the absence of facts, theories were developed up to fill the vacuum. These were soon developed into doctrines, which became widely followed—fables that became fashions. Not many of these theories were ever subjected to harsh scrutiny based on factual knowledge, mainly because there was not much factual knowledge available until recently.

John Philip Jones, bestselling author and internationally known advertising scholar, has written a textbook to help evaluate these advertising ''fables'' and ''fashions,'' and also to study the facts. He uses the patterns and trends revealed by the accumulations of data from cutting-edge research to illustrate the occasional incompleteness, inadequacy, and in some cases total wrongheadedness of these fables and fashions. Each chapter then attempts to describe one aspect of how advertising really works.

Unlike most other advertising textbooks, Fables, Fashions, and Facts About Advertising is not written as a ''how to'' text, or as a vehicle for war stories, or as a sales pitch. Instead, it is a book that concentrates solely on describing how advertising works. Written to be accessible to the general public with little or no experience studying advertising, it makes the scholarship of an internationally renowned figure accessible to students taking beginning advertising courses.

Fables, Fashions, and Facts About Advertising is ideal as a core or supplemental text for courses in marketing, communication, journalism, and related disciplines. This volume should also be useful to the tens-of-thousands of business people whose careers are directly or indirectly concerned with advertising.

Table of Contents:




Advertising's Relationship to Business Generally and the Consumer

Chapter 1 Why Advertisers Advertise

Commonsense and Its Pitfalls

Consumer Orientation

One Voice, Many Voices

Chapter 2 Overpromise and Underdelivery

Advertising and the Consumer

Advertising and the Amateur Experts

The Role of Habit

Chapter 3 Added Values

Products and Brands


Added Values - The Result of Planning or Coincidence?

A Lesson from Economics


Advertising Strategy and the Difficulty of Locating Target Consumers: The Development of Creative Ideas; and Facts About How Much Advertising Produces an Effect

Chapter 4 ''Why Exactly Am I Spending All This Money?

Ends and Means

Sources of Business

Knitting Together a Brand's Strategy

Chapter 5 How Many Fish Are There in the Pool? And Where Are They?

Mass Marketing - and the Search for Precision

The Reality of the Marketplace

Where Are the Fish Swimming in the Pool?

Chapter 6 The Advertising Imagination

Advertising's Patchy Performance

The Causes of the Trouble


Two Grab Bags

The Locked Strong Box

Chapter 7 Bursting the Dam Wall

The Imaginary Dam

Measuring How Advertising Produces Sales

The Effect of Increased Pressure

Are Diminishing Returns Universal?

Advertising Investments, Promotional Expenditures, Media Strategy and Media Tactics

Chapter 8 Overspending and Underspending

''Gut'' Feel, Opportunism, Extravagance

Spending What a Firm Can Afford

Fact-Based Judgment

A Balancing Act

Chapter 9 Margins and How to Slice Into Them

The Pipeline

Pull Gives Way to Push

The Balance Tips Below the Line

Why Many Manufacturers Like Promotions - and Why They Are Usually Misled

Chapter 10 Fishing in Different Parts of the Pool

A Branch of Show Business

Do Media That Attract the Most Advertising Dollars Have the Greatest Horsepower to Produce Sales?

Does Television Reach All the Fish in the Pool?

Chapter 11 Regularity and Frequency

Media Planning: Fashions and Anachronisms

Two Traps for the Unwary

The State of the Media Art

How Advertising Works

Chapter 12 The Gatekeeper

Market Research: Transparency and Opacity

Good Cooks Make Biryani

Two Very Different Theories

Chapter 13 The Main Source of a Manufacturer's Profit

Lessons from a Visit to a Supermarket

Added Values - What Advertising Contributes

Researching Advertising - Before and After It Is Run

Chapter 14 Looking Before You Leap

Research and the Creative Process

The Emergence of the Focus Group

A Last-Minute Health Check

Chapter 15 Consumer Perceptions - and the Cash Register

Why Do Advertisers Track Consumer Perceptions?

Consumer Perceptions of Advertising

Consumer Perceptions of Brands

A Footnote on Sales Promotions

Chapter 16 Wheels and Their Reinvention

An Abandoned Heritage

Is Direct Response an Exclusively Specialist Technique?

IMC - Does It Have a Promising Future Behind It?

How Advertising Is Managed

Chapter 17 The Global Village

Different Tribes

A Brand's Position on Its Competitive

The Role of the Advertising Agency

Chapter 18 The Cinderella of Business

Advertising and the CEO - a Faded Relationship

Two Cultures

The Straitjacket

Does Advertising Matter?

Chapter 19 Volcanoes and Their Extinction

A Fascinating and Rather Sinister Business

Agencies on the Big Board Three Items for an Advertising Agencies on the Big Board Three Items for an Advertising Agencies on the Big Board

Three Items for an Advertising Agency's Agenda

Sources of Information

Chapter 20 The Expanding Universe of Information

A Small Corpus of Valuable Literature

Chapters and Sources



About the Author

Epigraph Foreword Acknowledgments Advertising's Relationship to Business Generally and the Consumer Chapter 1 Why Advertisers Advertise Commonsense and Its Pitfalls Consumer Orientation One Voice, Many Voices Chapter 2 Overpromise and Underdelive

"This is a much needed
text that puts misinformation to rest with strong evidence to disprove it. Most
texts simply show how ads are developed, media plans are implemented, and lots
of beautiful advertisements. This book shows how advertising can be and should
be effective."

John Philip Jones Syracuse University