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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : CBNAT JAN-FEB 2013
REVIEW: BOOKS CAMPAIGNBRIEF JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 DAMN GOOD ADVICE Gawen Rudder reviews 'Damn Good Advice', a new book from the U.S. ad legend George Lois SOMETIME LAST YEAR, LYNCHY was in New York for the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame Awards, and caught up with a couple of advertis- ing legends - two men who - although separated by more than forty years - have truly earned that over-used sobriquet, 'legend.' Of the elder, he offered me his opin- ion, "He makes a bloody sight more sense than some of today's younger wannabe gurus." Michael was not referring to that younger (well, mid-fortyish) expa- triate recipient David Droga. No. He did however spend some time with the aging but feisty winner of that self-same award back in 1978. His name: George Lois, a Bronx- born, son of Greek immigrants, best known for the 92 brilliant cov- ers he designed for Esquire maga- zine from 1962-1972, but celebrat- ed here for his sage and sometimes salacious advice and strangely endearing profanity. The two men are in good compa- ny. Amongst the distinguished Art Directors laureates, latter and pre- sent day heroes, are advertising greats Alex Bogusky, Sir John Hegarty, Dan Wieden, David Kennedy, Lee Clow and Jay Chiat; plus the likes of Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, Jim Henson and Issey Miyake. All evidence that advertising, art and culture can be clustered together under the umbrella of commercial creativity. If you know anything about George Lois, or have seen footage of him in full flight a few years back in Art & Copy (available from pbs.org), you might have guessed the working title of Damn Good Advice would have been conceived in more explicit language. For all his opiniated genius and self-belief, Lois is a man unafraid of telling it how he thinks adland should be. Number 108 of his 120 pieces of full-coloured and colourful advice reads, "Why the fuck didn't you make it that way in the first place?" - his reference to making the perfect Bloody Mary. A big talker, like our recently departed Bryce, he has been accused several times of taking credit for others' ideas and perhaps exaggerating his participation. His latest book - from which much of this article is drawn - Damn Good Advice is his twelfth; not a scratch on Courtney's prolific twenty-one, but none the less, a pretty decent bibliography. Back in 2008, The New York Times published a correction that stated the 'Think Small' Volkswagen ad campaign was not created, as he had claimed, by George Lois. The article correctly identified DDB's Julian Koenig and Helmut Krone as the authors. Lois has often asserted that he named and designed the New York magazine. In his 1991 book What's the Big Idea? he states, "Let me say right now, with my hand on the Bible, I, George Lois, created New York magazine." Umm ... not so. Not according to the magazine's first editor. Lois was demobbed from the Korean War at about the same age as Droga would have been when he graduated from AWARD School as its top student. Moving from design to advertising, where Lois had been warned, "You can't go out there, the ad world is terrible, they're all Philistines, they're all hacks," he eventually landed on his feet at Doyle Dane Bernbach. And then, as was his wont, did something insane: went to Bernbach and told him he was leaving to start, "The second (great) creative agency in the world: Papert, Koenig, Lois" - two writers and garrulous art direc- tor George. "After a couple, one, two, or three years, coming out of PKL were two other agencies: Carl Ally and his partner Amil Gargano; and then another guy left the agency and went into business with Mary Wells to start Wells Rich Greene. By the mid-sixties I real- ized - that with starting that second creative agency - I had triggered something called 'the creative revo- lution' in advertising. Leaving Doyle Dane Bernbach was a giant part of it obviously, and then with another three or four agencies com- ing out of my agency, it was the most heroic age in media communi- cations since the twelve apostles." Lois wrote a book in 1972 called George Be Careful. Basically, it was about growing up in New York, where he became, in his own words, "One of the wunderkinds of (for people with talent!) Lois is best known for the 92 brilliant covers he designed for Esquire magazine from 1962-1972
CBAT NOV DEC 2012
Campaign Brief May-June 2013