PERSONAL: Married Philip Caputo (a writer).
ADDRESSES: Office—Consumer Reports, 101 Truman Ave., Yonkers, NY 10703-1057.
CAREER: Editor and writer. Consumer Reports, Yonkers, NY, features editor.
(With the editors of Consumer Reports) Selling It: The Incredible Shrinking Package and Other Marvels of Modern Marketing, Norton (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: With the help of her fellow editors at Consumer Reports, Leslie Ware provides consumers with a critical look at marketing and the tricks of the trade in her book Selling It: The Incredible Shrinking Package and Other Marvels of Modern Marketing. The book is a collection of a decade's worth of Consumer Reports magazine's "Selling It" columns, which were written or edited by Ware. Basically a review of false advertising claims, many of the columns feature wild product claims straight off product labels that were submitted by the magazine's readers. The columns also look at how new, clever packaging is designed to deceive consumers and investigate outright scams, such as a drink advertised to unclog arteries and a cologne packaged with testimonials from male users about its ability to attract the opposite sex. Some of the marketing items, however, are included merely for their humorous aspects, such as the notorious spray-on paint to hide baldness. In addition to pointing out marketing ploys and scams, Ware includes a dozen brief chapters about dubious advertising tactics throughout history and offers advice on how to avoid scams, including contacting the appropriate government agency when a consumer believes he or she has been bamboozled.
Writing in Booklist, David Siegfried called Selling It "alternately funny and infuriating," while a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the "amusing review of outlandish marketing ploys turns a magnifying glass on advertisements." In a review for Library Journal, Littleton M. Maxwell wrote that "the well-chosen selections are very well tied together, making for enjoyable and stimulating reading," and Karen Sokol noted in School Library Journal that Ware's book serves as "a laughable lesson for consumers young and old."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advertising Age, March 4, 2002, James Brady, review of Selling It: The Incredible Shrinking Package and Other Marvels of Modern Marketing, p. 56.
Booklist, December 15, 2001, David Siegfried, review of Selling It, p. 693.
Consumer Reports, February 2002, Jim Guest, "'Selling It,' the Book," p. 7.
Library Journal, April 1, 2002, Littleton M. Maxwell, review of Selling It, p. 122.
Publishers Weekly, December 17, 2001, review of Selling It, p. 78.
School Library Journal, November, 2002, Karen Sokol, review of Selling It, p. 198.