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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great analysis of hip's cooptation in the 60s
Everyone seems to have an opinion about hip but on what authority do they base their judgments? The Conquest of Cool provides the model for hip's cooptation in the 60s and argues that without cooptation perhaps there is no hip. That usually gets the purest going but the truth is that hip starts as art and end up becoming commercial - or you just don't know about it... So...
Published on 22 Feb 2011 by Alice Holmes

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at the origins of "hip" as a sales tool.
In "The Conquest of Cool," reporter Thomas Frank writes of the evolution in the advertising industry from the rigid science and philosophy espoused by past masters like David Ogilvy to the creative, rule-breaking, no-rules era (about 1959 to about 1970) begun by Doyle, Dane and Bernbach's revolutionary Volkswagen print ads, which were introduced in 1959. Frank's...
Published on 16 April 1998


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at the origins of "hip" as a sales tool., 16 April 1998
By A Customer
In "The Conquest of Cool," reporter Thomas Frank writes of the evolution in the advertising industry from the rigid science and philosophy espoused by past masters like David Ogilvy to the creative, rule-breaking, no-rules era (about 1959 to about 1970) begun by Doyle, Dane and Bernbach's revolutionary Volkswagen print ads, which were introduced in 1959. Frank's text shows how advertising's images of consumption evolved from phony promises of a better life for white, nuclear families to the hip-based brand of product cool that still exists today. Eventually, Frank gets to what this reader assumed to be his point: advertising's co-optation of counterculture's cool and the way both groups influenced each other. But he merely asserts this radical shift in advertising (truly the bellwether of contemporary culture) happened overnight and illustrates his points with examples from the cola and menswear industries. But rampant generalization doesn't spoil Frank's fascinating dissertation. He's done his homework, speaks passionately about his subject and maintains an unusual conversational approach (half academic, half deranged fan). Once the reader forgives Frank's multitude of overgeneralizations and the way he casually mixes media (in an era where distinctions became quite noticeable), there is actually a lot to consider and much to enjoy in "The Conquest of Cool." A special bonus for ad-addicts is the 19 print ads reproduced in the center of the book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great analysis of hip's cooptation in the 60s, 22 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism (Paperback)
Everyone seems to have an opinion about hip but on what authority do they base their judgments? The Conquest of Cool provides the model for hip's cooptation in the 60s and argues that without cooptation perhaps there is no hip. That usually gets the purest going but the truth is that hip starts as art and end up becoming commercial - or you just don't know about it... So that's the choice - if it's good and has wider potential, it gets coopted - or the vast majority of the population will never hear about it. Some reviews are negative on the grounds that the author is pointing out the obvious, like I just did - but sometimes the obvious is the most difficult to explain - and this book does that well (for those who like social literature as it is quite academic).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of the unlikely alliance between hippies and the man, 11 Mar 2009
By 
Mr. G. Carroll (LDN | HKG | SZX) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism (Paperback)
The Conquest of Cool looks at the 60's counterculture revolution from the perspective of the advertising and consumer goods industry. Thomas Franks manages to square the circle, showing how the hippies that hated The Man influenced modern society. Frank draws on the parallels of how Bill Bernbach started to think differently about advertising and the new youth obsession reflected in the Pepsi Generation idea which started the famous cola wars. He charted how advertising creatives brought psychadelia into radio, print and television advertising and how the fashion industry lost out when it got on the 'peacock parade' train.

Rather than being a rebellion against the consumer culture, the counterculture rejuvenated the consumer experience. The plenty of America in the 1950s was no longer enough, consumers wanted authentic differentiated items that declared their self-identity.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent history of advertising, 4 Nov 1998
By A Customer
though sometimes wordy, this analysis of the history of advertising in America in the '60s is exhaustive and engrossing. i've never read anything like it. reading this book has made me extra-aware of the advertisements around me and more sensitive to the ways i interact with them. if you enjoy the baffler or have fun laughing along with Fast Company; you will love this book.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Advertising co-opted the counterculture and...?, 9 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism (Paperback)
Frank's work with the Baffler and the Reader has always been enlightening and entertaining. As essays for the casual reader, his writing can do a lot of eye-opening. However, I don't think he can sustain his brand of cultural criticism for a book-length work. The problem, after Frank's thesis is repeated for the umpteenth time, is you finally say "So?" I personally always wind up picturing Frank in clothes he has spun himself, living off beans he is cultivating in a backyard seed plot, entertaining himself by sneering from his garret's window at the shallow "lifestyles" of every human being on the planet (except his own). I've always disliked the hypocritical, distant stance people like Frank (whose views I happen to mostly share)adopt when they tackle these issues. The great problem is how to relate these kinds of ideas without pretensions of immunity to the dominant cultural malaise, without relentlessly stereotyping the middle class, and without the hopelessly easy targeting of lame ducks, ducks that Frank seems to consider strong and insidious. Tom Frank, what are the alternatives? Where are the solutions?
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frank exhibits firm grasp of the obvious, 25 Jun 1998
By A Customer
Dispassionate, thinly-disguised masters thesis filled with 2-dollar words (how many times do you need to use 'hegemony'?) and soft opinions. Like a first book from one of Chomsky's research assistants. Lacks the punch of Frank's work in the BAFFLER. I was disappointed and bored.
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3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well...I thought it was boring, 5 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism (Paperback)
(I read this book for a class at Yale, "The Formation of Modern American Culture: 1920 to the Present.") Frank's insights aren't that insightful and his prose is at times prosaic. Nevertheless, Frank makes the reader more aware of the culture of advertising that has enveloped us and gives us the history of how this has occurred, focusing on the 50's and 60's. He also uses the word "psychedelic" quite frequently, which may or may not amuse you. (It amused me!)
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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trival MBA BS, 17 April 1999
By A Customer
The advertising of the 50's sold more good & services than any previous decade. The advertising of the 60's was again a record for sales of goods and services. The advertising of both decades was successful. The writer likes the 60's more than the 50's. So what?
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