Art & Copy, a film by Doug Pray, introduced me to some of the most inspiring characters in advertising. George Lois, Lee Clow, Rich Silverstein, Jeff Goodby, David Kennedy, Dan Wieden - these are the thinkers and creators behind the advertising I grew up with.
If you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend it. I'm ready to watch it again because there is such a wealth of knowledge and advice packed into an hour and thirty minutes. The growth and transformation of advertising over the past 40 years is overwhelming. According to the film, the average person sees 61 minutes of advertising a day, which I'm sure is even greater today.
One of the most successful campaigns highlighted is Nike's 'Just Do It'. Why was it so powerful? Wieden+Kennedy connected a "likable human emotion - the idea that we can get healthier" to the brand. Consumers found the slogan to be an empowering life motto. "People don't mind being sold to when they know what's happening and they enjoy it".
There are "lots of people in advertising but damn few really good ones". To be successful in advertising, you can't be afraid. Find the product truth, develop a strong idea, and create a simple execution [Carl Alley].
Here are a few more take-aways [if you know who said the first two quotations please let me know!]:
- Fail harder - if you miss, you miss but at least you swung the bat as hard as you could
- Attack advertising in a rebellious way instead of orderly
- "I think the real risk comes in willing to try to be authentic" -Dan Wieden
- "Brutal Simplicity" The sign on Rich Silverstein's door
- And, "if you speak honestly, and use this industry to do that, weird shit can happen" -Dan Wieden