Selling Creative: Advertising Men & Women in the Hall of Fame by Mary E. Warlick Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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Author Mary E. Warlick takes readers on a journey through the lives of the men and women who popularized American advertising in the book Selling Creative: Advertising Men & Women in the Hall of Fame”. 

The Synopsis

Americans have long enjoyed a fascination with advertising, a complex love-hate relationship. Ads are often connected with childhood recollections of favorite brands and characters―whether they are annoying, entertaining or persuasive, and the messages often lodge in our memories long after the actual product has disappeared from our consciousness.

“Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands.” “Does She or Doesn’t She?”

“Just Do It!” “Where’s the Beef?” These taglines are part of American culture, but few of us know the talented individuals who created the business of advertising.

Selling Creative – Advertising Men and Women in the Hall of Fame is about those extraordinary individuals who built brands with their creative ideas and drove the American economy, individuals who were mavericks in their industry. Their original ideas broke through barriers of what was possible in communication.

Bill Bernbach realized the value of smart creative work―if the ad is noticed you don’t have to keep repeating the same message. Bernbach’s agency led what was known as the Creative Revolution. Lee Clow, a native Californian and avid surfer, partnered with Steve Jobs to launch the first personal computer for Apple, “Why 1984 won’t be like 1984.” Cliff Freeman asked, “Where’s the beef?” and questioned overblown promises in America.

Selling Creativeprovides in-depth profiles of the culturally astute men and women who tapped into their generation’s fears and desires. This book tells the story of advertising’s Creative Revolution through the lives of the people who lived and worked in the era.

Selling Creative – Advertising Men and Women in the Hall of Fame tells the stories of the generation that changed advertising; they elected presidents, discovered affluent activists, and found the magic of persuasion in humor, wit and entertainment. These special men and women are part of our common history, and this book presents their stories for the first time in a cohesive, entertaining and accessible format. helps independent authors bring their creative vision to the marketplace. Sell eBooks online in the biggest retail stores.

The Review

This was such an insightful and captivating read. The author does an amazing job of really honing in on the inspirations and hurdles that these pioneers went through to capture these momentous bursts of creativity. The detail and the knowledge that readers can from the way the advertising business works was defined greatly in this book, and gave the reader a rare insight into what makes the advertising we consume work to the advantage of both businesses and consumers alike.

To me, the heart of this narrative rested in the inspiring stories of these advertising legends and the history associated with them. The way the book harkens back all the way to the 20s and showcases how the advertising world tried to separate itself from post-Civil War era traveling medicine and elixir salesmen was fascinating, and seeing how the business grew and developed, especially in the “golden age” of the 50s and 60s, made this book really engaging and fascinating to read.

The Verdict

Memorable, informative, and inspiring, author Mary E. Warlick’s “Selling Creative” is a must-read nonfiction book on the world of advertising and the legends that made it so compelling. The creativity and passion not only with which the author wrote the book, but that these legends drew out of themselves and put into some of the most catchy and impactful slogans and campaigns of twentieth-century America and beyond made this a masterful book to behold. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Mary Warlick worked in advertising in New York as Chief Executive Officer of the One Club for Creativity, recognizing creative achievement. She witnessed first-hand major shifts and developments in the advertising industry, from 1990 to 2015. She personally inter- viewed most of the people featured in Selling Creative and had unprecedented access to their archives.

Warlick has produced two Emmy award-winning documentaries on creative leaders in advertising, Art & Copy (2009) and The Real Men and Women of Madison Avenue (2012). Her most recent documentary, The City That Sold America (2018) reveals the rich history of Chicago advertising.

Warlick edited Advertising’s Ten Best of the Decade 1980-1990, a compilation of the seminal print, radio and television campaigns that defined an era. She taught advertising history as an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and was a guest lecturer at Minneapolis College of Art.

Warlick graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and earned a Masters Degree from University of New York at Binghamton and a Master of Philosophy from Columbia University in New York


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