Rotten Dusenberries

If jolly ol’ Saint Nick stuffed your stocking with an Amazon or Borders gift certificate, our friend George Parker has a word of caution of you.
Seems that last year, BBDO veteran Phil Dusenberry released a book of memoirs called “Then We Set His Hair on Fire: Insights and Accidents from a Hall of Fame Career in Advertising.”
That book has now been re-released in paperback, with a new title: “One Great Insight Is Worth a Thousand Good Ideas: An Advertising Hall-of-Famer Reveals the Most Powerful Secret in Business.”
The catch is that you have to look closely at the paperback’s cover image on Amazon. Only down at the bottom, in tiny type, are the words “Previously published as Then We Set His Hair On Fire.”
Already, one Amazon customer felt duped, and posted this review:

Mr. Dusenberry owes me $14.95. I bought the book twice. Dusenberry titled his first book “Then We Set His Hair On Fire” which I read and loved. Then when I happened to stumble across “One Great Insight Is Worth A Thousand Good Ideas” I was ecstatic that there was a new read by Dusenberry. It arrived and in tiny print at the bottom of the cover it reads ” Previously published as Then We Set His Hair on Fire.” Why would you change the title so quickly? I still respect Dusenberry and his insights but I don’t need both copies. I’m not very happy with his choice to rename his book a year later. It’s ironic that we advertising people are criticized for being deceptive and manipulative in order to garner sales… Dusenberry illustrates this very well. Bad move on your part, Dusenberry. I would love my $14.95 back so I can go buy Ogilvy’s book. That money could have been used to apply to the VCU Adcenter.

Consider yourself forewarned. I suppose there’s more money to be made, and book sales to be had, convincing people that “one great insight” and “the most powerful secret” make for a better purchase than does a title suggesting that it’s a book of gin-soaked reflections on the supposed good ol’ days in advertising.



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.