Weekend Reading: “The End of Advertising” by Andrew Essex

For the 127th episode of The Marketing Book Podcast, I interviewed Andrew Essex, author of The End of Advertising: Why It Had to Die, and the Creative Resurrection to Come.

Andrew Essex had a career in the magazine industry as a writer and editor, followed by 10 years on New York City’s Madison Avenue as an ad man.

In his latest book he predicts the creative renaissance of advertising in a post-interruptive era of advertising.

In The End of Advertising, he explains that the ad apocalypse is upon us: millions are downloading ad-blocking software, and still more are paying subscription premiums to avoid ads. The $600 billion industry is now careening toward outright extinction, after having taken for granted a captive audience for too long, leading to lazy, overabundant, and annoying ads.

But his book is no eulogy. Instead, he challenges global marketers to innovate their way to a better ad-free future. With trenchant wit and razor-sharp insights, he presents an essential new vision of where the smart businesses could be headed—a broad playing field where ambitious marketing campaigns provide utility, services, gifts, patronage of the arts, and even blockbuster entertainment.

In this utopian landscape, ads could become so enticing that people would pay—yes, pay—to see them.

The author reflects on having been in two industries that were going through wrenching, permanent change…

I was experiencing a painful feeling of déjà vu. I realized that the same thing that had happened to the magazine industry was now happening to advertising. It was getting elbowed out. The industry was focusing myopically on content, and all around us the context was crumbling.

What was truly painful was the dawning realization, just as I’d seen with magazines, that traditional advertising was slowly but surely becoming obsolete. It was increasingly clear that advertising, at least as we’d come to know it, was inexorably headed down the path of the blacksmith and the typewriter business.

A bit more about the book…


Douglas Burdett

Douglas Burdett is the Principal of Artillery, a B2B marketing agency and is host of The Marketing Book Podcast. He is a former artillery officer, Madison Avenue ad man and stand-up comedian.