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22 July 2018

Helen Trevorrow’s new thriller In The Wake is set in London’s PR world. Many a hatchet has been taken to a creative idea by clients, bosses and budgets but the creative environment of marketing-land is a hitherto unexplored landscape in novels.

We are all familiar with Mad Men’s stylised vintage New York agency. It’s clever but vastly different to the work world that we are familiar with. Perhaps it is because marketing is seen as being the true commercial heart-land of creativity. To set a story there presents difficulties because the people who dwell there are not always well liked.

Murder in the Marketing Department

Helen Trevorrow’s new thriller In The Wake is set in London’s PR world. Many a hatchet has been taken to a creative idea by clients, bosses and budgets but the creative environment of marketing-land is a hitherto unexplored landscape in novels.

We are all familiar with Mad Men’s stylised vintage New York agency. It’s clever but vastly different to the work world that we are familiar with. Perhaps it is because marketing is seen as being the true commercial heart-land of creativity. To set a story there presents difficulties because the people who dwell there are not always well liked.

To celebrate the launch of In The Wake and Helen Trevorrow’s debut novel we are rejoicing in literature set in the marketing landscape. Whether it’s a thriller, literary novel or even sci-fi here are 5 of the best novels set in the marketing world:

 

Helen Trevorrow, In The Wake, https://tinyurl.com/yc99n3gb

We having boozing, schmoozing, PRs and journalists behaving very badly with questionable morals in a modern feminist crime thriller. Exciting stuff.

 

When a body is found floating in London's Royal Albert Dock, successful public relations expert Kay Christie is sent to quiet the media, but things get complicated when it emerges that she knew the victim.

As events spiral out of control, Kay discovers that those close to her may be harbouring another secret - the story of a missing girl. Can Kay discover the truth before her life unravels and she risks losing everything?

 

 

Douglas Coupland, Microserfs, https://tinyurl.com/yckr4xg4

 

They are Microserfs — six code-crunching computer whizzes who spend upward of sixteen hours a day "coding" and eating "flat" foods (food which, like Kraft singles, can be passed underneath closed doors) as they fearfully scan company e-mail to learn whether the great Bill is going to "flame" one of them. But now there's a chance to become innovators instead of cogs in the gargantuan Microsoft machine. The intrepid Microserfs are striking out on their own—living together in a shared digital flophouse as they desperately try to cultivate well-rounded lives and find love amid the dislocated, subhuman whir and buzz of their computer-driven world.

Beautifully written and funny, a classic work based comedy.

 

Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End, https://tinyurl.com/y87vg3f3

Acutely observed, dazzling American debut. They spend their days - and too many of their nights - at work. Away from friends and family, they share a stretch of stained carpet with a group of strangers they call colleagues.

There's Chris Yop, clinging to his ergonomic chair; Lynn Mason, the boss, whose breast cancer everyone pretends not to talk about; Carl Garbedian, secretly taking someone else's medication; Marcia Dwyer, whose hair is stuck in the eighties; and Benny, who's just - well, just Benny. Amidst the boredom, redundancies, water cooler moments, meetings, flirtations and pure rage, life is happening, to their great surprise, all around them.

Then We Came to the End is about sitting all morning next to someone you cross the road to avoid at lunch. It's the story of your life and mine.

 

Matt Beaumont, e, https://tinyurl.com/y74hecgd

An unforgettable first novel.

Consisting entirely of staff emails, e spends a fortnight in the company of Miller Shanks, an advertising agency that scales dizzying peaks of incompetence. Among the cast are a CEO with an MBA from the Joseph Stalin School of Management, a Creative Director who is a genius, if only in his own head, designers and copywriters driven by breasts, beer or Bach Flower Remedies, and secretaries who drip honey and spit blood.

The novel is a tapestry of insincerity, backstabbing and bare-arsed bitchiness: that is to say, everyday office politics. Oh yes, and there is some work to be done too – the quest for advertising’s Eldorado, the Coca-Cola account.

e is sleazy, scurrilous and scabrously funny. It also contains a first-class joke about the Pope and sound advice on the maintenance of industrial carpet tiles.

 

 

Andrew Cracknell, The Real Mad Men, https://tinyurl.com/yc8lw8x2

 

For those of you who miss Mad Men then here’s a chance to read about the real Don Draper. In New York City in the late 1950s and the 1960s - the era and location of TV's Mad Men - advertising went through a revolution. In a booming market, a punchy and proud new workforce of younger, multi-ethnic writers and art directors gorged themselves on a vibrant and artistic social scene. 


In many ways they were similar to Don Draper, Roger Sterling and Peggy Olsen: confident, driven and ambitious, they lived the three-martini life and worked the machine to their advantage. Also clever, creative and streetwise, they outclassed and outthought the old advertising establishment, implementing a new way of thinking and behaving which spread across the newspapers, magazines and TV screens of America and beyond. 


The story of modern advertising starts here, with these real Mad Men - and women - of Madison Avenue who created the most radical and influential advertising ever, transforming the methods, practice and execution of the business. Their legacy still resounds in the industry today. 
How did this golden age of advertising happen? It is a remarkable, inspiring story of creativity, ingenuity and larger than life personalities who made it up as they went along.