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From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-Line Dispatches from the Advertising War [Audio CD]

3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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3.0 out of 5 stars Mad Men Co-Branding Aug. 9 2011
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Jerry Della Femina's now forty year-old book has been appropriately resurrected with the success of Mad Men. In fact, it is now a text book case of co-branding. Clearly, the original book was fodder for Matthew Weiner's superlative series and, as a result, is now leveraging the television drama on its re-released cover along with an endorsement from Mr. Weiner (the cover art now emulates Mad Men's opening sequence).

Della Femina would be a guy you would want to sit next to on a stool at the Oyster Bar. He would regal you with raunchy stories of Madison Avenue and if you listen carefully enough, you may learn something about advertising. Buried within the stories of drinking, toking, cheating, and playing politics are a few good bon mots like:

"There is no such thing as a bad client. But there is such a thing as bad advertising."

"Most account guys live with fear in their hearts."

"Creative people do not have a business sense about themselves."

"There is a great deal of advertising that is much better than the product. When that happens, all that good advertising will do is put you out of business."

Throughout the book there is high praise for Bill Bernbach and his agency, DDB. In fact, he sites the Volkswagen campaign as the industry game-changer and the people from DDB as the successful archetype for the industry as a whole. A beneficial section is on presenting and pitching where Della Femina accurately likens it to theater.

In terms of the Mad Men antics, he summarizes the industry with: "Crazy? Yes. Romantic and glamorous? Not one bit. The wild stuff, I'm afraid, is very much overrated." Which is true in Mad Men when we see agencies and individuals sow the seeds of their own destruction week to week.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, terrific anecdotes June 4 1999
By Sabu Paul - Published on
Like the reviewer above, I read this book when I was in college and it's one of the reasons I'm an advertising copywriter today. Great anecdotes and the story of modern advertising during its formative years. I must have read this book some five times. Della Femina and George Lois are still my heroes (Alas, The Art of Advertising by Lois is also out of print).
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still laughing after all these years Feb. 19 2001
By HeyJudy - Published on
I read this book when it first was published; I must have been in high school at the time. After all these years--20? 30?--I'm still laughing!
As events would transpire, Mr. Della Femina and I ended up living in the same town. Okay, so maybe I live here and he owns it. My favorite reading in this town is the column that Jerry writes for the weekly newspaper...which he happens to own. I usually make copies of this column and send it to friends. Believe me, we all howl.
Considering his prominence in the place where we both live, there's not a month that passes that I don't tell somebody about this book. It was as interesting as it was funny, a primer on the advertising industry written by a man of integrity. (Did you hear the one about the time he got arrested for displaying pumpkins in front of the gourmet shop he owns? Seriously, folks....) Very simply, I think that Jerry Della Femina is a genius. Of course, I give Jerry full credit for the title of this memoir, both the way he crafted the phrase and the sentiment behind it.
A dear friend was doing a very important business deal with a prominent Japanese firm. He and his wife invited me to dinner to help entertain the company's rep on his trip to NYC. After they had invited me, they remembered my enthusiasm for this autobiography. Then, they started to worry that I was going to tell the client (who spoke perfect English) all about Jerry's book. They prevailed upon me to exercise restraint. It was difficult, but I held my tongue.
There are some books which, as a reader, one just can't understand why a publisher would let go out of print. As far as I'm concerned, WONDERFUL FOLKS heads my list.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Advertising the way it was meant to be April 30 1997
By A Customer - Published on
I read this book in junior high school and it made advertising seem like so much fun and so interesting that I am now, like Mr. Della Femina, a copywriter in Manhattan. It is not as glamorous or as lucrative for me as it has been for him, but I'm not complaining. There are dozens of great anecdotes, one of which provides the title of the book. Unfortunately, I lent it to a work associate, who lent it to a girl at the agency who he was trying to date, and I never saw it again. So if you find a copy, read it and hang on to it
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Ad Lore Still Amuses Nov. 18 2005
By Chris Ward - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Work in advertising? See how little it's changed in the last 35 or 40 years by reading this snarky and cutting look inside the biz. Learn about the pioneering admen (and women, though precious few in those days) who got the account for the first feminine hygiene deodorant spray! Thrill to stories of the first efforts to market Japanese products when everybody KNEW nothing good came from there. Japanese cars?? HA!!

So times have changed a little. But the business remains the same (i.e., utterly absurd), as these backstage stories show.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book that should appear again Aug. 7 1998
By Peter Adler - Published on
Jerry Della Femina claims advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. While I might dispute THAT statement a bit (I've been making similar claims about my own profession, journalism), Della Femina does make his point eloquently and elegantly. The book reads as if you were sitting in the room with the author and listening to him sharing great stories with you, and with you only. I have known most of the insides before, but still, the read was absolutely hilarious. And while I was laughing I almost didn't realize there is a serious message behind all this. What message? Read it and find out for yourselves.
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