Wednesday, January 23, 2013


The Energizer Bunny, the Apple iPod, “Just do it.”, the Me Generation, Perrier, Ronald Reagan, “I Want My MTV.”,Tommy Hilfiger, “Got Milk?”, the Budweiser lizards, Netflix, “I Love New York”… 

Products become icons because of the insightful and compelling work of advertising.  Fifty years ago, advertising agencies were run by and for account executives, men in gray flannel suits.  The artists and writers – the “creatives” – worked behind the scenes, far from the client.  The art director and the writers may not have been even in the same room.  Like much else in the sixties, that changed when bold and aggressive creatives advocated for a new paradigm.  The goal was no longer to tell your customers about the five key features of your product.  Advertising now made your product integral to their self-identification.  That ultimately changed how companies saw themselves. 

Art & Copy (2009), a film by Doug Pray, is available from PBS and iTunes.  I borrowed it from the city library.   

 “Everything that was done to launch that product is now done differently because of that product. […film editing, sound and music editing, all the production tools of print…] Every computer company on the planet does their ads on a Mac.” – Lee Clow, creator of the Macintosh “1984” ad.

Mary Wells Lawrence rebranded Braniff Airlines
and became  the first woman to paint a jetliner.
Her autobiography is A Big Life in Advertising.
Hal Riney found Crocker Bank needing to replace its aging clientele.  He hired Paul Williams to write "We've Only Just Begun." The Carpenters took it to the top of the charts. Today, it is a standard at every wedding reception. 

Also on Necessary Facts:
The Genius of Design
Start the Presses two films about typography
Documentation is Specification

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