Winners, Losers in Super Bowl of Advertising

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A recent novel called Truth in Advertising takes place over a few frantic weeks leading up to a Super Bowl. It’s about an ad agency executive who’s scrambling to finish a spot that will run during the big game. The book captures a specific flavor of self-loathing that runs rampant in the ad industry. And it humanizes the faceless creatives who pump all this stuff out: Our hero deals with a pretentious director, a wishy-washy client, and some difficult on-screen talent, but he also faces crises involving a dying parent and a confusing love life.

So, let us not forget (on this national holiday dedicated to advertising) that these Super Bowl ads, good and bad, are crafted by real human beings. People who have hopes and fears very much like our own—but also have $3.8...

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