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In a particularly vigorous online discussion of something I wrote, an anonymous commenter (aren’t they always!) accused me of being an ‘advertising philosopher’. Although […] meant to be an insult, […] I rather liked it.
Faris Yakob, Paid Attention: Innovative Advertising for a Digital World.

The quote above comes from a new book written by Faris Yakob. It comes at the end of the introduction and sets up everything that is to come. Because, like a good philosopher, Faris has packed this book full of incredibly insightful stuff, written in a way that is infinitely quotable, and easy to understand. However, beneath it all is a lot of very smart thinking, ideas that unpack exactly what it means to actually understand digital in all its forms and the role that advertising can play in the world we live in.

Paid Attention cover

Unlike a lot of philosophy tomes, it’s immensely readable. I took two train journeys and raced through the 170 pages. Then I re-read it, so I could underline all sentences and thoughts I wanted to parrot, or build upon, in some work I’ve been doing recently.

I think I’ll read it again. Probably within the year. I suggest you get in on it now, so you can spot if others in the advertising industry are claiming these ideas as their own.

Creative or Strategist
What sets this book apart is the simple fact that Faris has spent time at both ends of the advertising process – doing the planning and strategic groundwork, and creating compelling creative ideas that see it through to completion and release into the world. You can see the benefits of having done this on every page – also where Faris pulls apart case studies to explain the how and why they work.

In fact, I would suggest that everyone look at the advertising around them and try to work out what the strategy is; from here you can usually find a new way of executing the idea, or new ways to unpack the thought – this skill will serve anyone who works in adland well, be they a student or someone with years of experience.

It’s skills like that which Faris shares with his readers – he is brilliantly transparent about how he believes innovative advertising can be created for a digital world. Not ‘in’ but ‘for’. Another key point.

You can buy the book from Kogan Page, or get a Kindle edition from Amazon.

You can find out more about Faris and the company he runs with his wife, Roise, called Genius Steals and sign up for their weekly newsletter.

All of that’s recommended. It’s worth paying attention to what he’s saying.