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The best advertising books all in one place and MORE.

Updated on September 8, 2013

Must-Have Books for the Advertising Industry

What does it take to make a good ad?

What does it take to be in the creative business?

What does a child dressed as Darth Vader have to do with a Volkswagen commercial?

Being in the advertising business is not as easy as some make it look.

Take a look at some of these books and get in the minds of creative giants in the advertising world.

Learn what it takes to think outside the box in ways that make a lasting impression.

Not in the advertising industry? No worries! Just take a look. There's some great stuff here.

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best advertising books
best advertising books

The Copywriter's Handbook - A step-by-step guide to writing copy that sells

The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells
The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells

"I don't know a single copywriter whose work would not be improved by reading this book. And that includes me." -David Ogilvy


Advertising Today

Advertising Today
Advertising Today

More than a means of moving merchandise, advertising has been increasingly recognized not only as an art form all its own, but also as a central, defining element of popular culture. Together, the 14 chapters of Advertising Today provide a thematic overview of the evolution of advertising around the world over the past 30 years, charting influences from the political and social upheavals of the 1960s, to the appropriation of cinematic production techniques and special effects in the 1980s, to the influence of the Internet in the 1990s. Each chapter includes an interview with a key figure in advertising — including Italy’s Oliviero Toscani of the controversial Benetton campaigns, the award-winning Brazilian Nizan Guanaes, American comedian and American-Express spokesperson Jerry Seinfeld, and British adman John Hegarty of Bartle Boyle Hegarty, creator of the world-famous Levi’s ads.


Top Creative Websites

Keep up with what's going on in the Advertising world today.

Recommended Advertising Books

The Creative Process Illustrated

-- a personal favorite of mine. gets inside the minds of creatives and shows us their individual creative process in a fun and exciting way. very inspiring!

The Creative Process Illustrated: How Advertising's Big Ideas Are Born
The Creative Process Illustrated: How Advertising's Big Ideas Are Born

"A place for inspiration, ideation and raw creativity. Griffin and Morrison bring together some of the greatest creative brains of this generation and let us wander around inside their creative processes. Simply brilliant. I've bought copies for everyone in our creative services studio. "


Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising

In this new edition of the irreverent, celebrated bestseller, master copywriter Luke Sullivan looks at the history of advertising, from the good, to the bad, to the ugly. Updated to cover online advertising, this edition gives you the best advertising guidance for traditional media and all the possibilities of new media and technologies. You’ll learn why bad ads sometimes work, why great ads fail, and how you can balance creative work with the mandate to sell.

The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era

The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era
The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era

A must read for any copywriter and anyone looking to understand the new realities of the brand creativity business.

A memorable slogan has been the cornerstone of every great ad campaign. In the past, writing one great headline could launch a career. But today’s advertising campaigns are interactive, multi-platform and ongoing, and the copywriter’s canvas is vast. At any given time, a copywriter may be conceiving a video game, writing a TV show, maintaining a Twitter feed, creating a mobile app or an interactive installation or, yes, writing a headline or a TV script.

While the best copywriters have always been brand storytellers, now that story can play out anywhere. The digital revolution put control in the hands of the people – the audience – now no longer just consumers, but active participants in a brand’s story.

The art and science of advertising has gone from creating one-way messages to engaging audiences in ongoing conversations.

A new ad landscape means new opportunities for writers who now have the incredible opportunity to push brand narrative to places it’s never been before and to actually create something so useful or entertaining that it generates its own audience. It also means that many of the rules of the past—while exceedingly worthy of study—are insufficient to guide the modern copywriter. Co-published with AdvertisingAge, The Idea Writers outlines the changing landscape of the advertising industry while providing useful how-to advice.

Filled with interviews from top creatives including:

Greg Hahn, Nick Law, Jeff Benjamin, Tim Delaney, Rei Inamoto, Lee Clow, Steve Simpson, Rick Condos, David Droga, Gerry Graf, Ty Montague, Calle and Pelle Sjonell, PJ Pereira, David Abbott and many more!


Cutting Edge Advertising

Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World's Best for Brands in the 21st Century
Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World's Best for Brands in the 21st Century

I think this may be the best book on advertising I've read - it's certainly the best book on print advertising. It made me want to start writing ads again - very dangerous. You've captured the essence - congratulations. -- David Abbott, London

If you believe in advertising, here is your Bible. -- Guido Heffels, Creative Director of Springer and Jacoby Germany

In all the years I've spent interviewing brilliant advertising men and women, never have I seen so much collected wisdom, experience and insight as I have in this single volume. That it's seen through the eyes of a practicing adman makes it that much more valuable. -- Anthony Vagnoni Editor-at-Large, Advertising Age USA


The Advertising Concept Book

How do you write a great ad? Pete Barry, who worked at Ogilvy London and now teaches in New York, goes straight to the basics: work out what you want to say, who you are saying it to, and how you want to say it. No amount of glossy presentation will make a successful ad if the idea behind it is unconvincing.

Structured to provide both a complete course on advertising and a quick reference on particular topics, the book covers every aspect of the business, from how to write copy and choose a typeface to how agencies work, to the different strategies used for print, TV, film, and other types of media, including interactive. In a unique feature, Barry provides his own concept drawings of nearly 400 of the greatest ads of all time.

Exercises throughout will help both students and professionals assess their own work and that of others. Having critiqued and directed over 45,000 student ads, Barry outlines simple rules about where to start and how to "push" an ad to turn it into something exceptional. He explains how to work in a team, or not; how to best present projects; and how to turn an idea into a campaign. 400 illustrations.

The Advertising Concept Book
The Advertising Concept Book

'Sound advice for advertising creatives' --Communication Arts magazine, July 2008

'A solid, fun, informative read' --CMYK Magazine, April 2009

'Invaluable advice' --Creative Review magazine, August 2008

'The book supports our school's philosophy: have a great concept before you run to the computer' --Maria Scileppi, Associate Director, Chicago Portfolio School

`If you're a student you should definitely buy this book. If you are involved in teaching design and media, you should buy three copies, one for you and two for your institution's library. If you are a professional in advertising and are wondering why you haven't yet won any awards, buy The Advertising Concept Book and you might find out why' --The Designer's Review of Books, April 2009


Breaking In: Over 100 Advertising Insiders Reveal How to Build a Portfolio That Will Get You Hired

The only thing separating you from a job at any ad agency in the world is a great portfolio. But what makes a portfolio great? How do you build one? What are creative directors looking for? How should work be presented? This book asks over 100 advertising insiders the questions every aspiring creative wants to know. Their answers surprise, inform, and inspire.

Volkswagen - Darth Vader

#1 commercial spot during the 2011 superbowl.

Volkswagen - Polo

Truly inspiring commercial from Volkswagen.

Cingular - BFF Jill

Sprint - Crime Deterrent

Mentos - Make Art Pop

Volkswagen - Fast Lane

M&M's - I Love You

Tide - Talking Stain

Old Spice - The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

FedEx - Fast Talking Guy

Wendy's - Where's the Beef?

Jimmy Dean - Thunder & Lightning

Swiffer - Keyboard Dust

Mad Men Poster
Mad Men Poster

Mad Men

Set in 1960s New York, the sexy, stylized and provocative AMC drama Mad Men follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell.

AMC’s Mad Men, winner of three consecutive Golden Globes and back-to-back Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series, returns for a new season rife with possibilities. Last season stunned audiences with its cliffhanger finale, as Don Draper’s professional and personal lives unexpectedly imploded. This year, Jon Hamm and the rest of the breakout ensemble continue to captivate us as they grapple with an uncertain new reality. Welcome to a Mad New World.

Created by Emmy and Golden Globe winning executive producer Matthew Weiner, Mad Men Season 4 is anchored by an award-winning ensemble cast, including Golden Globe winner Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Jared Harris, Rich Sommer, Aaron Staton, Robert Morse and Kiernan Shipka.

The Premise: The series revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper (Hamm), the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business, and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Advertising Agency. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels. The series also depicts authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960s traditional family values.

Mad Men Games and Trivia - CLICK THE IMAGE FOR QUIZZES

Don Draper Mad Men
Don Draper Mad Men

Think you know everything there is about Don Draper, Roger Sterling and Pete Campbell? Take your shot at these quizzes and see how you rank up against the rest!

Bill Bernbach
Bill Bernbach

E-Trade - Girlfriend

Volkswagen - Snow Plow


Tell me what you think!

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    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 4 years ago

      Great lens. Solid books and information here. The only thing I can possibly add is that a good copywriter has to be a great story teller too. Therefore don't forget to read some great fiction.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Where is Publicis Worldwide in the list of top agencies?

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 6 years ago

      The best commercial of the the Super Bowl was the VW Darth Vader one. I watched it over and over. However, Where's the beef is a classic that will be recognized forever. Commercials are amazing works of art when done right. Awesome lens.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Enjoyed reading this very interesting lens on the creative aspect of advertising production. Many of the pioneers in the industry has left a legacy of producing awarding winning work that has stood the test of time.

      I enjoyed also the iconic advertising videos, who can forgett the "Where the beef" commercial. The Old Spice ad is my favorite the transitional frames and special effects...captured my attention and held it! I think I will definitely be trying some the Old Spice body wash in the near future.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago


    • MoonMaa profile image

      MoonMaa 6 years ago

      I like your lens and it is very self explanatory.