Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer of TBWAChiatDay worldwide is a surfer, a dog fanatic, and the man behind the Apple ads. His landmark “1984” commercial, which introduced the revolutionary Macintosh personal computer without even actually showing the product, aired just once, during the Super Bowl, but is considered one of the best ads ever made. While encouraging a whole new generation of computer users to “Think Different,” he also helped create well-known campaigns featuring the Energizer Bunny and the current campaign for the Apple iPod. For “Art & Copy” Clow was interviewed at the TBWA Los Angeles office and at Media Arts Lab, the inner sanctum for Apple’s advertising team. He is also seen briefly at his Los Angeles home and at a nearby beach chasing seagulls.
In the early ‘80s, Dan Wieden and David Kennedy used their creativity and disdain for traditional advertising to co-found Wieden+Kennedy, now one of the world’s largest independent ad agencies, and one of the few who operate outside the global “Big Four” ad conglomerates. W+K helped turn a little-known athletic shoe company into a cultural phenomenon with the slogan, “Just do it.” Since then, this ground-breaking agency has been creating award-winning work for Nike as well as ESPN, Honda, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and many more major clients. Both men were interviewed at their stunning offices in Portland, OR, although it should be noted that David “has left the building” (as Dan phrased it for us), that is, he’s no longer involved with the day-to-day operations, which might explain why Dan is shown wandering around trying to find his partner’s office.
Phyllis K. Robinson was the first copy chief at the legendary ad firm Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB). A writer, she was at the center of the ‘60s creative advertising revolution and working on campaigns for Levy’s Bread, Polaroid, and eventually Clairol hair products, where her “It Lets Me Be Me” campaigns developed the concept of the “Me Generation.” Interviewed in her home near Central Park, Robinson explains how her work reflected rather than created the mood of the time.
With his folksy style and world-renowned soothing voice, which became the narration for many of his commercials, Hal Riney created some of the most emotional campaigns of the ‘70s and ‘80s for such brands as Bartles and Jaymes, Saturn and Perrier. He also helped re-elect Ronald Reagan in the 1984 Presidential elections with his groundbreaking commercial, “Morning in America.” Interviewed in his San Francisco home before his death in April 2008, Riney offers a rare look into his ideas about excellence in advertising and working relationships.
It could be said that George Lois is one of the original “Mad Men.” This former activist and self-described fighting Greek from the Bronx is known for his in-your-face celebrity advertising. He was the mind behind the seminal covers for Esquire Magazine from 1962 to 1972 and captured the MTV generation with his "I Want My MTV" campaign. Lois’ long career also includes notable work for Tommy Hilfiger, USA Today, ESPN, and CBS. Interviewed in the Bronx and his Manhattan home, Lois describes how advertising can be revolutionary.
With two simple words—"Got Milk?"—Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby revitalized the milk industry and made advertising history. Goodby, Silverstein and Partners was also responsible for the hugely popular Budweiser lizards as well as work for HP, Netflix, and The Wall St. Journal. Interviewed in their San Francisco offices, Goodby and Silverstein show how advertising is best when it’s entertaining and intelligent.
Mary Wells is full of firsts—first woman to own and run an ad agency, first female CEO to take a company public, first person to paint jumbo jets (her high-flying Braniff Airlines campaign in the ‘60s). She and Charlie Moss, a creative director at Wells Rich Greene, created unforgettable ads for Benson & Hedges and the ubiquitous “I Love New York” campaign. Wells remains active in media today, a contributor to the women’s website wowOwow.com. Interviewed in her Manhattan home, dotted with “Why Not Have a Big Life?” napkins promoting her book, Wells discusses what it was like to create her own big life—and big ad campaigns.
Several other advertising greats appear briefly in the film, including Cliff Freeman, creator of such well-known slogans as Wendy's "Where's the Beef ?” and Mounds/Almond Joy's "Sometimes you feel like a nut… sometimes you don't.”; and Jim Durfee, one of the original partners of the legendary Carl Ally agency, who helped launch Federal Express and MCI and wrote the groundbreaking work for Volvo and Hertz.