Summary of Life Lessons from an Ad Man

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Life Lessons from an Ad Man summary
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8 Overall

7 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


Good marketing is designed to create need. But advertising veteran Rory Sutherland suggests that maybe we would be better off finding the benefits in what we already have. Sutherland’s witty, rapid-fire presentation on embracing “intangible” value succeeds by entertaining and informing. His liberal use of humorous anecdotes illustrates – without obscuring – the substance of his message. getAbstract heartily recommends this presentation to marketing professionals who appreciate the astute, if offbeat, perspective of a seasoned expert.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How advertising and marketing create the perception of worth,
  • Why it’s important to look for value in what already exists,
  • How to find substance in intangibles.

About the Speaker

Advertising guru Rory Sutherland is vice chairman of Ogilvy Group.



Advertising is often criticized for creating “intangible value.” The common perception is that something of real value requires labor, raw materials, engineering and other factors of production, while advertising merely adds false value. However, if the future world is to contain fewer material goods, society needs to adapt to either a poorer world (an unpopular choice) or a world where “intangible value constitutes a greater part of overall value.”

In fact, society can address many problems by viewing them through a marketing lens and “tinkering with perceptions” rather than “trying to change reality.” To illustrate...

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