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Generation Chef by Karen Stabiner
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Inventing Desire Editorial Reviews

Inventing desire book cover
Publishers Weekly

Many critics of consumerism believe advertising "invents desire" for products we do not want or need--be they automobiles or presidential candidates. Stabiner investigated these allegations in this revealing account of the daily operations of Chiat/Day, the firm named "Agency of the Decade" by Advertising Age. Staffed with talented creative personnel often in conflict with the business side of the firm, Chiat/Day was unnerved by the recession, the loss of major accounts, administrative problems and fiscal constraints (often affecting expenditures for creative services and food for the office). Stabiner's candid coverage of the key players, along with material on television, print campaigns and market positioning, enrich this impressive study.
© 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Library Journal

Stabiner finds out what makes Chiat/Day march to a different drummer in the world of advertising. Perhaps the most creative advertising agency in the United States, as evidenced by its work on the Energizer Bunny ads and its famous "Why 1984 won't be 1984" commercial that launched the Macintosh for Apple Computer, Chiat/Day rattles consumers, and often clients, who think they know what to expect from commercials. Stabiner spent 1990 at Chiat/Day's Venice, California, headquarters and had total access to all its meetings and deliberations. Her book reads more like a novel than a business history, with deft characterizations and plot turns leading to an exciting climax. Will the creative people reconcile their differences with the suits? Will the organization continue to refuse to grow up? The agency's creative genius, Lee Clow--the man to whom formal attire means long pants and socks--comes across as the hero of the saga, but all the players are memorable. This is the best book on advertising since David Ogilvy's Confessions of an Advertising Man. - William W. Sannwald.
© 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Kirkus Reviews

A year or so in the life and near-death of a maverick ad agency at the southern California end of Madison Avenue. Stabiner lurked (apparently unnoticed) within the halls of power agency Chiat/Day (where T-shirts and blue jeans prevail over suits and Hermes ties) to reveal feverish doings. Advertising Age named Chiat/Day "Agency of the Decade": The shop had given birth to the renowned Energizer Bunny, among other pop icons, after all. Founder Jay Chiat, planning for future management, reorganized his firm just as the recession curtailed ad budgets worldwide and agencies scrambled to retain old clients and to steal new ones. Chiat/Day accounts defected and, with only Nissan to keep things going, the business of assigning irresistible personality to machines and breathless desirability to merchandise became particularly tough for the agency. Christmas bonuses took the form not of big bucks but of bicycles. Office politics, fervid "pitches" to prospective clients, skittish vanity, and all the evolving events are detailed here with little hint of the outcome, and the result is a text more interesting than it has any right to be. . . . A sharply drawn picture of the tensions between the "creatives" and the account people, and of the frantic personalities who live on 15 percent of ephemera, selling us whatever needs to be sold.
© Kirkus Reviews 20051993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.