When asked for their influences, most writers will point to great novelists like Updike or Vonnegut. Maybe they'll mention Norman Mailer and C.S. Lewis and Salman Rushdie. Maybe their tastes are more recent...Dave Eggers or Zadie Smith.
Me? I'd have to go with this guy.
Seth Stevenson's Ad Report Card column first hooked me to Slate.com about 5 years ago. I believe I've read every one. Advertising is fascinating enough, and Stevenson tackles his subjects with wit and straightforward language. He never dawdles or uses more words than necessary. His columns are easy to read and convey his point. Most of all, they are entertaining.
Stevenson was back this week for his annual rundown of Super Bowl ads, and it's an excellent read. The piece explains why I prefer Coke to Pepsi, and it's not because of taste.