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Innovation and Best Practice
for Business Success

Established 1967

Paid Attention

Paid Attention

Innovative Advertising for a Digital World

Faris Yakob


Harness new models of advertising to create commercial stability within a changing digital landscape.

Buy product Buy now

About the book

As ever, the onus is on brands to find compelling ways to earn the attention of the consumer. Yet content scarcity has given way to overload, fixed channels have dissolved into fluid networks, and audiences have become participants in consumer-driven conversations. This shift requires a new course of action for brands; it demands new marketing imperatives. Paid Attention is a guide to modern advertising ideas: what they are, why they are evolving and how to have them. Spanning communication theory, neuroscience, creativity and innovation, media history, branding and emerging technologies, it explores the strategic creation process and how to package ideas to attract the most attention in the advertising industry.

Packed with real-world examples of advertising campaigns for companies including Sony, Red Bull, HP and many more, Paid Attention provides a robust model for influencing human behaviour. Referencing a wide body of theory and praxis, from behavioural economics and sociology to technology and even science fiction, Faris Yakob maps advertising onto a wider analysis of culture. Containing practical advertising and branding templates, including a new advertising planning toolkit, it is ideal for students and practitioners looking to get noticed in today's cluttered marketplace.

Table Of Contents

  • Section - ONE: Paid attention;
    • Chapter - 00: Introduction: Paid attention – how much is it worth?;
    • Chapter - 01: Logocentrism: What’s in a name?;
  • Section - TWO: Attention deficit disorders;
    • Chapter - 02: Uncovering hidden persuaders: Why all market research is wrong;
    • Chapter - 03: Advertising works in mysterious ways: Modern theories of communication;
    • Chapter - 04: Is all advertising spam? Communication planning in an on-demand world;
    • Chapter - 05: The spaces between: The vanishing difference between content, media and advertising;
  • Section - THREE: Attention arts and sciences;
    • Chapter - 06: Do things, tell people: How to behave in a world of infinite content;
    • Chapter - 07: Recombinant culture: Talent imitates, genius steals;
    • Chapter - 08: Combination tools: How to have ideas: a genius steals process;
    • Chapter - 09: Advertising for advertising: Is the industry paying attention?;
    • Chapter - 10: Integrative strategy and social brands: Be nice or leave!;
    • Chapter - 11: Prospection: Planning for the future we want


Ever been on a roller coaster? They tend to hold your attention well. Slowly scaling great heights, then wonderful views, sharp unexpected turns, fast paced, and great fun. Faris's book is a roller coaster of a book - full of ideas on ideas, it held my attention at every turn. Packed full of theories and evidence to weigh and consider, this is the advertising/communications/ideas book of the year.
Adam Ferrier, Chief Strategy Officer, Cummins & Partners

In today's global, 24/7, hyper-connected environment, our attention is the most prized commodity. New media call for new approaches to strategic communication. Drawing upon a rich and highly interdisciplinary body of scholarship on the links between cognition, symbolic expression and behavior, Paid Attention is a primer for the praxis of persuasion in the 21st century. Clearly fluent in both academic research and marketplace realities, Faris Yakob offers a welcome bridge between theory and practice. Scholars and professional communicators alike should pay attention.
Gwenyth Jackaway, PhD, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Communication and Media Studies at Lincoln Center, Fordham University

Paid Attention is a must read for anyone struggling to understand media's changing relationship with consumers in a world being transformed by digital. Funny and provocative, and packed full of great examples, it'll get you thinking differently, whether you're an advertising professional or a media entrepreneur trying to reposition your business to take on the next generation of opportunities.
David Flynn, Chief Creative Officer, Endemol UK

Reading this book felt a little like intellectual pinball as I was bounced between the worlds of psychology, philosophy, economics and advertising history: always entertaining while also sometimes genuinely profound. At a time when almost every pundit seems to be questioning whether advertising has a future, Faris is offering some answers.
Will Collin, Founding Partner, Naked Communications

In the digital age and beyond, marketers can no longer buy attention. That means how we define strategy, creative ideas, media, and even the role of the consumer has to change. Faris Yakob has spent a career writing and speaking about these topics. Few thinkers better understand the challenges that confront marketers, advertisers and agencies in the years to come. Finally, we have his knowledge --captured in a clear, logical text that offers readers an understanding of the recent changes, and what we can do to prosper.
Edward Boches, Professor of Advertising, Boston University; formerly Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Mullen

Paid Attention gives a comprehensive view of how the advertising industry has evolved and how new technologies and social media have affected what people demand from brands today. Faris covers philosophy, psychology, behavioural economics and social behaviours to look at how planners and creatives can ensure their work is relevant, engaging and appropriate. He covers a great deal of information in an approachable and straightforward way, with stacks of recent examples of successful advertising.
Emily Hare, Managing Editor, Contagious Magazine

Great ideas happen when you ask a lot of questions. If you want to ignite culture, you need to challenge conventions. Faris is one of the brightest and most curious minds in advertising, and in Paid Attention: Innovative Advertising for a Digital World, he asks questions that every advertiser and marketer should be asking themselves today about breaking through in an increasingly on-demand and attention scare world. In the process, he arrives at some revealing brand tactics and strategies that will help you create advertising people seek out not skip. Recommended reading for anyone in the advertising and marketing business.
Winston Binch, Partner, Chief Digital Officer, Deutsch LA

Great ideas, as the book explains, are borrowed bits of other great ideas recombined in new and interesting ways. Paid Attention doesn't just explain the concept, it lives it, combining ideas from economics, psychology, philosophy, media studies, and, of course, advertising, into a coherent narrative for this particularly incoherent time. The book is well worth your attention and you're sure to find a few ideas to steal for yourself and your brand.
Noah Brier, Founder of Percolate

A lively, penetrating, thoroughly intelligent investigation of how content wins attention...or fails to do so. Let Faris be your guide to new ideas and best practice.
Grant McCracken, Affiliate Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

Faris's phaser is set to stun as he reverses the polarity of the ad industry in a cautionary tale against old media thinking. Salvation comes in the form of numerous helpful thoughts starters for those genuinely interested in exploring the future of marketing.
Johnny Vulkan, Founding Partner, Anomaly

Faris managed to eloquently encapsulate the ongoing radical transformations of marketing and communication as a practice. From behavioral sciences to the genesis of creativity, this book keeps on traveling between both sides of our brains in view to intelligently explain the productive tension between arts and sciences, and the recent shift towards a less intuitive, thus more evidence-based scientific approach to marketing... without, importantly, killing creativity, but au contraire, enhance it by rendering ideas more relevant and efficient.
Christophe Cauvy, Regional Director of Digital & Innovation (Europe), JWT

What Faris does a great job at is walking the reader through the recent past to the now in advertising, punctuated by case studies that help add color along with good footnotes. It is the evolution of tools at our disposal that have really changed the way we communicate, and to a degree, what we communicate.
Jane Goldman, Adland.tv

Most useful for those looking for a background on advertising in the digital world, including how people process information and theories behind how advertising works. Packed with ideas drawn from philosophy, science, and literature, the book offers a comprehensive look at the theory behind advertising in the attention economy
Stephanie Bucklin, Foreword Reviews

Faris is one of the smartest people working in marketing and communications, anywhere in the world. This book will only enhance his reputation further. It is a door into his thinking, a door which reveals the breadth of his thinking and the practicality of his answers to 'so what should you do differently?' A joy to read - and not just once. I predict it'll be one of those books we come back to again and again. There are few people today who've thought so deeply about communication and marketing as Faris Yakob. Fewer still who've examined the big issues of the day from such a broad set of perspectives - digging around in the best evidence the industry has produced as well as looking outside to what's happening in technology, in leading-edge cognitive and social science. If you want to fast-track your thinking about what's next and what you need to do about it, this book is for you. And if that doesn't convince you, remember: your competitors will be devouring it, so maybe you should have a look, too!
Mark Earls, The Herdmeister

Faris has hosted sessions for my students on our many trips to New York. His passion and particular lexicon have both challenged and inspired students from around the globe. His new book is about the now and treats digital as the norm that it has become. Unusually for this genre of book, it is light of touch, eminently readable and seamlessly integrates different cultures so as not to appear out of the US. Philosophy, yes in part, but with the common touch.
Bruce Sinclair, Principal Lecturer, Bucks Ad school, Bucks New University

We don't think of it this way, but advertising is an industry with a history of its own, shaped by heroes, epiphanies, disasters and luck. It's not often analysed like other industries, but in his book, Faris has laid out a rich and intricate landscape that not only frames the state of advertising today, but the events that contributed to it, and how advertising should evolve in the face of that fast-arriving future we've heard so much about. Grab a thesaurus and get ready for a Billy Madison-esque learning montage
Amber Finlay, Director of Communications Planning, Converse

The brand communications playbook has changed little in the last century. I think it's safe to say the world we live in has changed dramatically in that time. Paid Attention is a hugely useful playbook to draw from in order to develop communications for the world today, not the world of yesterday.
Gareth Kay, Co-founder, Chapter. Former CSO, GS&P

The most over-asked question by five-year-olds is the most under-asked questions by adults - 'why?' Why do we do things this way? Why do we make certain assumptions? Why don't we try a different method? Faris steps into the role of advertising's irritating toddler in an effort to understand why the industry is in the state it's in and what it can do to regain its relevance. Faris asks the questions the rest of the ad industry are too scared to ask. And now that he's done it, it'll be interesting to see which agencies will make the changes the rest of the industry will be too scared to make. Here lie the nuggets of wisdom you'll hear repeated in ad agency board rooms for years to come. Take a read, collect some quotes and sound like the smartest person in the room before someone else does.
Dave Birss, Editor at Large, The Drum

A new marketing philosophy for our time.
Ben Richards, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Ogilvy & Mather

An interesting and challenging book that allows any person in charge of marketing or advertising a business to rethink their advertising system.
Charles Franklin, Small Biz Trends


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Book Details

  • EAN: 9780749473600
  • Edition: 1
  • Published: 3rd April 2015
  • Paperback
  • Dimensions: 234x156
  • 216 pages

About the Author

Faris Yakob is the founder of Genius Steals LLC, an ideas and innovation consultancy. Previously he was Chief Innovation Officer at MDC Partners and Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Strategist at McCann Erickson. He regularly writes about brands, media, communications and technology in publications such as the Financial Times, Forbes, Advertising Age and Media Week. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences and lectures at MIT and USC. He is also a contributor to What is a 21st Century Brand?, also published by Kogan Page.

Faris Yakob

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