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Book Review: 'Where the Suckers Moon: An Advertising Story'

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Selling catastrophically few cars in 1990, Subaru of America overhauled its image instead of its product — normal procedure for merchandisers. Rothenberg, a former New York Times advertising columnist, reports Subaru’s struggles to get an ad agency to invent a new image — any image, so long as it worked. And he provides a primer on topics like hawking identical products and on the colossal stakes that force agencies into paroxysms to lure and keep clients. He writes authoritatively but with odd lapses of logic and, finally, twice as much as you’ll ever want to know about advertising, unless you work in that panic-driven, appearance-only industry. B