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There's a brief history of advertising -- indeed, because advertising occupies the unusual position of both manufacturing and mirroring consumer culture -- and the book finishes with a section that could be titled "What Some of Us Are Doing to Express Our General Displeasure with Consumerism.

McLaren and her band of writers have a great style; her analysis of a Viceroy print ad from the '60s is spot on and one of the few times a book on advertising actually had me laughing out loud. The writing is generally smart, sharp and fast.

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Think of it as a sort of "Daily Show" if the "Daily Show" were fixated only on consumer culture. And if it didn't have any commercials. And were a book. The fifth section of "Ad Nauseam" briefs readers on the history of advertising or more precisely, on the history of how advertisers view consumers. It's one of the most concise, readable and clear-eyed reviews of this industry I've ever encountered.

Few punches are pulled, and as such, one emerges with an honest -- and, at times, embarrassing -- understanding of how we ended up where we are. You may never look at "Mad Men" quite the same way again. Or "Bewitched," for that matter. This section alone is worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, the book ends with perhaps the least satisfying section of the collection. Jul 31, John rated it did not like it Shelves: The book isn't really a guide at all.

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It is a collection of articles mostly from Stay Free! The book reminds me of the girl screaming "Everything Matters! The book rallies against advertising and marketing's hold on the modern word but does so through the same devices and logic of advertising. The book makes some wild claims and never provides supporting information, for example, restaurants stop Laughable.


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The book makes some wild claims and never provides supporting information, for example, restaurants stopped supplying water because Coca-Cola convinced them to upsell soda. They show that Olive Garden did try this, but that's one chain restaurant. They do claim the main reason is due to water shortages, but that's not as interesting as a story about Coke wait, isn't this the exact thing the book complains mainstream media does too well.

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The editors relish their adolescent outlook on the world and the lengths they go to in order to fight the system. There's a section on pranks that would appeal to any year-old boy regardless if they want to fight the system or just cause trouble.

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There are a few articles in the book that are interesting and they are from guest writers or interview subjects. There's a short piece by David Cross on going to a celebrity Nike warehouse, the article "How to Yell You're a Details Reader from the editor that was originally published in Escandalo! Other than these three articles, there's very little in this books that was worth reading. There are better histories of advertising out there and Adbusters and several sites on the internet have more mature and thought-provoking criticisms of the advertising industry. Feb 16, Mary Lou rated it liked it Shelves: Ads are even more pervasive than I'd thought, which is saying something.

Jun 30, Dawn rated it liked it Shelves: This is a book about the advertising industry not community , including its history and the psychology behind advertising. It has quite a few visuals and examples of ads, which make the essays much easier to follow, especially when the progression of ads is being depicted. The format is more like a series of essays than a research book.

Sometimes this is a plus, as it allows more topics to be covered. Also, if you find a certain topic boring, it changes within a couple of pages. Unfortunately, This is a book about the advertising industry not community , including its history and the psychology behind advertising.

Unfortunately, if you find an engaging topic, it also ends rather quickly, without much additional research or explanation. I found the history parts a little dry, but most of the stories were really interesting. I would recommend it. Jan 17, Joan rated it liked it. Evidently, American culture is so embedded in us that it causes all kinds of problems for us and we start to believe that what we see on TV and, in the movie theater, and on the computer, is real and dictate our lives like that.

One thing I will say that I think has affected me from this culture, is that I tend to think subliminally now. I've analyzed this culture so much in terms of reading and movies anyway that I tend to think my way around it and have developed some very real "worlds" that Evidently, American culture is so embedded in us that it causes all kinds of problems for us and we start to believe that what we see on TV and, in the movie theater, and on the computer, is real and dictate our lives like that.

I've analyzed this culture so much in terms of reading and movies anyway that I tend to think my way around it and have developed some very real "worlds" that are based on what I read.


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I guess this is where my creative genius lies, but maybe I'm too creative for my own good? Jan 17, Elizabeth Newell rated it really liked it. An amusing, if somewhat uneven book. Some 'articles' it reads as a collection of articles, I guess originally from the magazine rather than chapters are fairly serious, pointing out the evils of consumerism.

Some are just frivolous,funny stuff, much like The Onion.

Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture

I recommend getting the book from the library, of course, so as not to be guilty of consumerism! Aug 04, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: A collection of articles on the history and psychology of advertising, this includes a number of reprinted essays from the now-defunct "Stay Free! This is a lighter look at advertising than some other recent books on the subject and approaches the topic with a healthy dose of humor -- which is exactly what the modern consumer needs to navigate the daily sea of ads.

Jun 11, Maria Ri rated it really liked it Shelves: This is mostly a great book. It highlights so much of how we have sold out to selling. Carrie McLaren founded Stay Free! A longtime blogger, she speaks regularly on the topic of advertising and media. Carrie McLaren , Jason Torchinsky. Consumer Culture ond Society. The Volkswagen as a Measure.