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Who'll Read Kenney's 'Truth in Advertising'?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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One thing is for sure about advertising folks: We want to do things other than our jobs. We know creative directors who want to be movie directors. We know several art directors that also do screenprinting. And, of course, there are copywriters who are always working on their next novel.

Every AdMan wants to be an author.

Such is the case with John Kenney, a former copywriter in AdLand and who is now writing humor pieces for The New Yorker. He is currently promoting his book Truth in Advertising, which follows a man named Finbar Dolan through his career at an agency. His biggest client is the world's largest diaper manufacturer.

From one review, the book seems to deal with some of the familiar themes of agency life. The love/hate relationship we have with the job. The work/life/love imbalance we probably all have faced at one time or another. The absurdity and bureaucracy in an "unconventional" agency environment. 

But people want to hear about the craziness of advertising, not the souls within.

Yes, people want to hear about how awful focus groups can be. The public doesn't care about poor Finbar, who is struggling in his personal life; they'd rather hear about what half-truths and hype "AdPeople" come up with in order to sell product. 

People want to know the dirt. So dirt is given.

Being in advertising is a struggle. One constantly faces challenges about telling the truth in creative ways and downplaying faults without telling falsehoods. It can get even more difficult when you find clients who don't mind telling falsehoods.

In all, Kenney's book sounds interesting and funny. On The New Yorker's site, Kenney released a book trailer done with his friend and former art director at Ogilvy & Mather. It shows how bad focus groups can be.

It looks like a good read. We'll look forward to hearing more about it.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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