Monday, June 06, 2005


I suspect if you have already read Bang! You are in one of two camps. Either you loved it, because it addresses some of the important issues and innovations of modern advertising, or you hated it because it had nothing that you could hang your hat on.

Thaler and Koval the CEO and vice-president respectively of the Kaplan Thaler Group advertising agency (KTG) produce a chatty and somewhat breezy memoir of life on the edge in the high stress, high stakes world of large corporate advertising. They were hugely successful after all, they are the creators of many memorable advertisements, including the AFLAC duck you still see during any evening spent in front of the TV. No doubt, in advertising a large amount of creativity is a must or your agency is dust. And these two high energy, highly creative people found a way to keep the critical juices flowing. But just in time creation of advertising concepts is not new. I can remember back in my day…..but that is another story.

The authors present a virtual armamentarium of ideas and tips on how they came to their big bang ideas and how if you followed them, you would too. The book is entertaining to a point, but it is not in fact a realistic account of how much real creative and innovative work gets done anywhere else, except in advertising. Most of us usually never have enough time anyway to meet our project requirements. The idea of having too much time made me laugh. And the concept of living in a small cramped space, well, they obviously never did rat experiments in school!

It is useful if you have never been inside an U.S. East Coast Ad agency to read this book, and then appreciate your own circumstance. True, many of us in entrepreneurial environments do spend a lot of time really close to our co-workers and it is creative and somewhat fun, but most of us will have to admit that after a few years of it, what you want is a place where you can have a private thought. Some real innovations are created by people who have the opportunity to process and think quietly and without the press of a deadline hanging over them. Most of us understand that not all of us are lazy in our project/time management, and not all of us do our best at the last minute.

Innovation and creativity come in many dimensions, one size does not fit all. Bang! Describes a narrow type of creativity applied to a particular type of innovation creation. Read the book with that in mind and you may actually enjoy and learn something from it.

Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World
By Linda Kaplan Thaler, Robin Koval, with Delia Marshall


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