Super Searchers on Madison Avenue

In the high pressure world of advertising, researchers need to be both good and fast. In the most recent addition to the Super Searcher series, some of Madison Avenue’s best information sleuths share their secrets.

Effective advertising involves much more than creative pitches to buy stuff. Successful campaigns are assembled by teams that blend clever messaging with specific knowledge of target markets, demographics, product knowledge, and countless other factors.

In practice, this means using deep, thorough research as a core strategic component of a campaign. Super Searchers on Madison Avenue, by Grace Avellana Villamora, profiles thirteen advertising researchers working at top international agencies such as TBWAChiatDay, Leo Burnett and Interpublic, revealing the search tactics that allow them to survive and thrive in this intense business.

While a core focus of the book is on searching the web, there’s also a ton of useful information related to compiling and presenting results. Culling information and presenting only the most relevant — in effect, reducing information overload for users — is a key skill practiced by all of these searchers.

Villamora’s interviews are wide ranging, eliciting not only tips and techniques for more effective research, but interesting personal information as well. I particularly like the stories related to challenging or surprising requests for information — for example, do top fashion designers like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein wear Levis? What are examples of spectacular product failures?

Some other great tips from these super searchers:

  • Search proactively so that you’ll have the answers, or at least the best resources, at the ready. This is particularly helpful if you’re in a high-pressure situation where you need to find information on deadline.
  • If you’re looking for consumer information, online “complaint” forums such as Planet Feedback,, and even Google Groups are a gold mine.
  • Use specialized directories to search for experts, then contact them directly by email or phone.
  • If you’re looking for information on obsolete or discontinued products, your first stop should be eBay.
  • A great resource to see what’s hot and what’s not in advertising is Ad Critic.

The list of referenced sites and sources is extensive, covering more than 300 resources, and even better, is available online with direct links whenever possible.

Like all of the other books in CyberAge Books Super Searcher series, Super Searchers on Madison Avenue is packed with practical tips useful for anyone who spends time searching, whether you’re involved with the advertising industry or not. It’s a worthy addition to any searcher’s library.

Super Searchers on Madison Avenue
by Grace Avellana Villamora
CyberAge Books – $24.95
ISBN 0-910965-63-3

The Super Searchers Web Page

Disclosure: CyberAge Books is the publisher of my book, The Invisible Web, co-authored with Gary Price. Apart from this, I have no further professional connection with either CyberAge Books or with the author of Super Searchers on Madison Avenue.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

A Few Quick Search Engines Notes…
Research Buzz Jan 6 2004 12:29PM GMT
Google appears ready for IPO…
San Francisco Chronicle Jan 6 2004 11:01AM GMT
Google AdWords Tips & Tricks…
Search Guild Jan 6 2004 10:48AM GMT
Morgan Stanley, Goldman to arrange Google offering…
Boston Globe Jan 6 2004 10:18AM GMT
Yahoo to Drop Google as Main Search Engine, Report Says…
Yahoo Jan 6 2004 8:52AM GMT
2004 the year of search says Yahoo CEO… Jan 6 2004 8:48AM GMT
Yahoo CEO Semel: Search is everywhere in 2004…
CNET Jan 6 2004 2:45AM GMT
AOL, EarthLink Plan Anti-Spying Software…
Washington Post Jan 6 2004 4:08AM GMT Closes Miva Acquisition… Jan 6 2004 6:15AM GMT
20 years ago, world turned for tech, telecom… Jan 4 2004 11:31AM GMT
XML MetaData for Simplifying Web Development…
.NET Magazine Jan 2 2004 11:18PM GMT
In Survey, Fewer Are Sharing Files (or Admitting It)…
New York Times Jan 5 2004 7:45AM GMT
Finding what you want online…
BBC Jan 4 2004 12:45PM GMT
Web surfers shun browsers… Jan 2 2004 3:17PM GMT
30 years of the internet…
BBC Jan 1 2004 5:16AM GMT
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