Terry O'Reilly and Mike Tennant


Terry O'Reilly

"A lively, anecdotal primer...filled with smart and breezy tales told from an insider's perspective."
Washington Post

"O'Reilly and Tennant are exceptionally talented writers...In a straightforward, popular style, The Age of Persuasion is an easy-to-read and often subversive primer on marketing, advertising, and branding."
Globe & Mail

"[A]n instant classic on media literacy."
Movie Entertainment

"O'Reilly and Tennant offer a witty and insightful look at the perpetually evolving advertising industry...Appealing and informative, this ragbag of pop culture references, jokes, anecdotes, solid research, and advice will be indispensable to marketers or anyone curious about the power and ubiquity of advertising in modern culture."
Publishers Weekly

"This book is at its best tracing the evolution of modern advertising."
New York Times

"O'Reilly and Tennant pull back the curtain and show us the backstage workings of some of the most famous and successful brands in the world."
Ottawa Citizen

Terry O’Reilly, who has won hundreds of international advertising awards, is the co-founder of Pirate Radio and Television in Toronto and New York. O’Reilly on Advertising and The Age of Persuasionhave been broadcast on CBC Radio since 2005 and are carried on Sirius radio in the US.

Mike Tennant, the producer/writer of The Age of Persuasion, is also the creator of many award-winning ad campaigns for North American clients.


Terry O'Reilly

Mike Tennant

Knopf Canada 2009 
Counterpoint US April 2010
Cheers Publishing China 2010

The Age of Persuasion

How Marketing Ate Our Culture

 “Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th  Century.”
 Marshall McLuhan

“Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside the swill bucket” 
George Orwell

Witty, erudite, and irrepressibly irreverent, Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant offer a lively social history of advertising and its impact as a major cultural force in modern life.

Terry O’Reilly is the perfect guide to the age of persuasion. As the host, creator and co-writer with Mike Tennant of two wildly popular CBC Radio series on advertising, he is known as a delightful raconteur and scholar of media literature. But unlike academics, his day job as one of the top directors of radio and TVcommercials, affords him a unique perspective on marketing and how it has driven a change in the way we react to media.

The age of persuasion dawned in the 1880s with the rise of ad agencies. In its fledgling years, advertising was defined as “salesmanship on paper.” That concept was left in the dust with the explosion of media and consumerism. Radio in the 1920s and television in the 1950s spawned market research and the idea of persuasion as a “science.” The creative explosion in the 1960s, however, revealed persuasion to be a delicate “art.” In the 1980s, the arrival of a multi-channel universe and MTV’s rapid-fire editing of images and sound, forever altered our attention span and notions of fast and slow, short and long.

The authors also explore such topics as ad clutter, the implied contract advertisers have with consumers and the peril of breaking it. They chart the rise and fall of branded entertainment, disclose new language of persuasion and candidly reveal examples of opportunism and cynicism. But they also appreciate the inventiveness, craft and art in creating the best ads that add colour to daily life.

For more information about Terry O'Reilly's radio show,  The Age of Persuasion, follow the link:


Click here for a Globe and Mail article on The Age of Persuasion radio show:


These two marketing insiders are featured in the New York Times:


Exciting news! A tv version of The Age of Persuasion is in the works:




Follow this link to Mike Tennant's blog:


Here is Terry O'Reilly's website: