Iconic mistakes

July 6, 2007

The reviewer's remarks on Ads to Icons: How Advertising Succeeds in a Multimedia Age (Books, June 22) illustrates the danger of skimming, not reading, a book.

Winston Fletcher misrepresented the book's subject, thesis and purpose. The subject is overlapping modes of advertising, marketing and marketing communications, which includes digital advertising. The book maps recent shifts in method, from "push" to "pull" communications worldwide - it isn't a history text on British advertising.

The book was informed by over 50 of the world's leading current practitioners, so perspectives and examples are grounded. Leverhulme's much-cited quote was included because it is widely used shorthand that questions effectiveness in advertising. The 17.65 per cent "commission line" mentioned by the reviewer applied to the UK industry only.

The book's 50 cases were selected in consultation with eminent advertisers in the US, Asia and Britain. Case sketches were written with each campaign team to explain creative decisions and media choice. The book defines "icons" as benchmarks of current practices, and the book's structure is explained in a section entitled "How to use this book".

I would be honoured to claim what the review called an "awesome misunderstanding" between marketing and marketing communications, but many other books on convergence got there first. That's why marketing texts can appear on advertising reading lists, and pitches can involve marketing, branding and advertising agencies competing for the same work. Practitioners today cannot afford a closed view of separate practices.

On "mistakes", the inaccuracies highlighted from the reviewer's uncorrected proofs were corrected, but the image illustrating the review has nothing whatsoever to do with the book wrong type of advertising.

Paul Springer

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