Bookshelf

Review of <I>Twenty Ads That Shook The World</I>
Magazine Contributor
Writer and Author, Specializing in Business and Finance
2 min read

This story appears in the December 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In Twenty Ads That Shook the World: The Century's Most Groundbreaking Advertising and How It Changed Us All (Crown, $25), James B. Twitchell uses an art historian's approach to showcase his collection of the most memorable and persuasive pitches of all time. "[These ads] may not make you gulp, but they did change the way we swallowed information about the world around us," writes Twitchell.

From the legendary huckster P.T. Barnum to such campaigns as Revlon's revolutionary Charlie woman, The Marlboro Man, Absolut's plays on packaging and Michael Jordan's nearly synonymous relationship with Nike, Twitchell depicts advertising throughout the 20th century. He deftly leads the way behind the seeming simplicity of the ad toward understanding the more complex social and economic issues surrounding the product and its message within the context of its day.

Throughout the text, which is peppered with sociological factoids, Twitchell explains how each effort moved us closer to present-day advertising, for better or worse. His role varies from being an admiring chronicler of the craft to one of its more ardent critics. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable read that will have you humming more than a few jingles you thought you'd forgotten. You might even buy into the author's assertion, borrowed from and credited to adman Earnest Elmo Calkins, that advertising may have more value to historians than editorial content.


Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates and founder of BoostYourBiz.com, a marketing information resource for small businesses. E-mail her at gwen@boostyourbiz.com.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur