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

Jerry Della Femina , Charles Sopkin , Peter Berkrot
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 27 2010
Vividly reminiscent of the goings-on at Sterling Cooper—the late nights, the three-martini lunches, the sex on couches, and, of course, the actual work of plugging products—this is the story of what Madison Avenue was really like in the 1960s. A worldwide bestseller when first published in 1970, this frank, irreverent, and hilarious memoir is a one-of-a-kind cult classic.

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Review

"Reads like the transcript of a tape made at a bar or cocktail party with the recorder propped up next to the raconteur at the center of the crowd." ---Salon

About the Author

Jerry Della Femina has worked in the advertising industry for over fifty years, and he was an adviser on the first season of the hit television show Mad Men.

Charles Sopkin (d. 1994), an author, book editor, and publisher, wrote the books Seven Glorious Days, Seven Fun-Filled Nights and Money Talks!

A veteran of stage and screen, Peter Berkrot held feature roles in Caddyshack and Showtime's Brotherhood. He has recorded over 170 audiobooks, over 100 for children; has been nominated for an Audie Award; and has received a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards and starred reviews.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Mad Men Co-Branding Aug. 9 2011
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
9 of 12 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 Amazon.com
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.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mad Men Co-Branding Aug. 9 2011
By Jeffrey Swystun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.

The book works extremely well as a time capsule but is not a "how-to" (nor is it meant to be). But if you are looking for both great ad industry stories and how to be successful within it, I suggest: "Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising" by Luke Sullivan. But be extremely careful when you read anything on advertising because it has been written by advertisers. As Della Femina cautions, "Part of this business - a big part of it - is illusion."
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, But Dated June 12 2014
By Sulross-Grad - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book many years ago, but lost my copy and decided to read it again. The humor ( as in "torches for dwarfs") is still sharp, but many references in the book are so dated from the 50's and 60's that they lack relevance, especially for younger readers. Still, as a historical insight into the advertising world at that time, I recommend it highly. It is well written by one of the real "Mad Men" in the industry. Had I rated this book in the early 80's when I first read it, I would have given it five stars, but it has lost some of its punch over the years.
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Title, So-So Content May 19 2014
By Kevin L. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had always heard what an iconic character Della Femina was in the advertising biz and decided that I was long overdue for this book. It's really a fairly gritty look at the Madison Avenue scene and not a light read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless. A great read. Definitely not boring. March 13 2014
By Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Another reviewer wrote: "But be extremely careful when you read anything on advertising because it has been written by advertisers. As Della Femina cautions, "Part of this business - a big part of it - is illusion.""

That reviewer makes an excellent point.

I worked in the Advertising Industry in the late 70s to late 80s. During my career, I met and spoke with Jerry Della Femina on a regular basis for a few years. He was a nice man and a compelling story teller. He knew how to keep the listener riveted.

However, toiling in the Advertising and Marketing industry, as I experienced it, was tough work. The industry required its talent to work diligently and often late into the night to meet tight, seemingly impossible deadlines.

A common sardonic response in the industry to the question: "When do you need this work completed?" -- was a deadpan.......,"Yesterday!"

Yes there was gossip about wild antics, and perhaps some of it was true, but such tales were likely not anymore prevalent in the advertising industry than it is in any other business.

This book is an intriguing caricature of the advertising business written by a very accomplished, intelligent, funny, and likely brilliant marketing man.
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