Ads To Icons: A Great Book But A Misleading Title

It’s really too bad that Dr. Paul Springer, the author of Ads To Icons: How Advertising Succeeds in a Multimedia Age got saddled with, or settled for, a horrible looking book cover and a completely misleading title. Because you can really learn a lot from his book.
If you’re like me, you’ve watched all the new media/viral/buzz/web-based/experiential ad campaigns get lots of fawning press and attention without a lot of explanation or context.
But that’s where Ads To Icons comes in. Springer has taken about 50 or so non-traditional campaigns of the last few years, from ones you know like “Subservient Chicken” to all sorts of others (he’s British so there’s a lot of non-American work here) and outlines everything about them: their planning and execution timelines, project backgrounds, creative direction, marketing mixes, and ultimately, measurable results.
After the case studies, Springer lays out what is needed in the new media landscape, from new job descriptions to new planning techniques, and what can go wrong getting close to consumers using non-traditional means.
The whole book feels a little textbook-like, but that’s primarily because words and case studies don’t do non-traditional efforts justice. But Springer has done a terrific job of capturing the behind-the-campaign thinking of the work that has captivated the ad industry in the last few years. If you work in an ad agency that talks a big game about “new media” or viral this-and-that, or is led by senior management that is completely clueless about it, get a copy of this book. It’ll show people exactly what it takes to be successful doing work that’s non-traditional.
You can check out the book’s website at
Special thanks to Kogan Page who provided me with a copy for review.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.