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The End of Advertising: Why It Had to Die, and the Creative Resurrection to Come by Andrew Essex

Andrew Essex is the Chief Executive Officer of Tribeca Enterprises, the parent company of Tribeca Film Festival. Until 2015, he was the chairman and founding CEO of the advertising agency Droga5, which won multiple awards under his leadership and was commended for its creative campaigns.

Andrew was the executive editor of Details magazine and later served as editor in chief of Absolute Magazine. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Outside and several other magazines.

He has co-authored three other books: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny, with Nile Rodgers; Chasing Cool: Standing Out in Today’s Cluttered Marketplace, with Noah Kerner and Gene Pressman; and A Very Public Offering: A Rebel’s Story of Business Excess, Success, and Reckoning with Stephan Paternot

Andrew has served as a television commentator for ABC, CNN, Anderson Cooper, The View and FOX News, and he is a frequent public speaker on media and marketing strategies.

Interesting fact – he’s not a big fan of Jagermeister

The Host’s Perspective:

Despite book’s title, it doesn’t mean advertising will go away. What will go away, and is going away, is traditional, interruptive advertising.

Will it go away completely? No, but interruptive advertising is already a shadow of its former power and it continues to slide. And all the numbers to back that up are in the book. At the heart of this existential threat to the advertising industry is the amount of content available now, also referred to as the denominator problem.

The denominator problem is an imbalance that occurs when the total amount of content outweighs the total hours in a day, creating a dynamic in which people have no choice but to opt out of advertising altogether, not to mention lots of other content.

The supply of content is crushing demand. This phenomenon is what’s known in the book as “infobesity.” So what’s an advertiser to do?

Well, it’s a wrenching transition for most advertisers who came up during what the author calls “the command and control era of advertising” where there was less content and more captive audiences that couldn’t ignore advertising as they can now.

Successful brands that are making the transition from the interruptive muscle memory of the command and control era are trying to add value to people’s lives. They are trying first and foremost to be excellent, interesting, authentic, or useful. Or as the author says several times in the book: “advertising needs to be the thing, not the thing that sells the thing.”

There are lots of examples in the book like CitiBank’s Citibike program or the Lego Movie. And at the end of the book, Andrew Essex conclude with “Ten Principles For Better Advertising” that will send you forth to do great work.

And on a personal note, The End of Advertising is one of the most entertaining of over 125 books I’ve read for thus far for The Marketing Book Podcast.

Listen to the Interview: 

Show Notes

The End of Advertising: Why It Had to Die, and the Creative Resurrection to Come by Andrew Essex

Within the Context of No Context by George W.S. Trow

Andrew Essex’s Twitter Account (

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