But Can You Hum It?

Sun Times advertising columnist, Lewis Lazare, tends to see the industry he’s charged with covering on a daily basis, as one full of posers and hacks. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Lazare finds Steve Karmen’s new book a good read.
In his colum today, Lazare writes, “Karmen had us in his grip right from his book’s blunt introduction, when he admits he was stunned to find everyone he interviewed almost invariably prefaced their remarks with ‘you can’t quote me,’ what the author calls an ‘instinctive, but telling, response.’ Indeed.”
Karmen is famous (inside the industry) for writing several jingles, including “When You Say Budweiser, You’ve Said It All.”
“In their quest to be perceived as art and not commerce, Madison Avenue succeeds in just being bad commerce,” Karmen argues in his book.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Carl LaFong says:

    While I’m not entirely sure I agree completely with Mr. Karmen’s thesis, he does make a fair point. All too often, creatives – myself included – seem to be more concerned with coming up with stuff to impress fellow creatives rather than connecting with the ostensible target audience. (And can I just say that I’ve always wanted to use the word “ostensible” in a sentence?)
    We’re so busy trying to make “art” that we forget we’re in the business of making ads. Which is not to say that ads can’t be both entertaining and effective. But too many of us tend to judge an ad based on whether it has a cool font or a snarky headline rather than if it has a compelling message.
    That being said, what really amazes me is that somebody actually wrote a book about jingles. Is this really a topic of such grave import that it merits an entire book? What’s next? An expos