Book: DAMN GOOD ADVICE
Author: George Lois
The legendary George Lois is the most creative, prolific advertising communicator of our time. Running his own ad agencies, he is renowned for dozens of marketing miracles that triggered innovative and populist changes in American (and world) culture. In his twenties, he was a pioneer of the landmark Creative Revolution in American Advertising.
He introduced and popularized the Xerox culture; he created the concept and prototype design for the New York supplement for the Herald Tribune (the forerunner of New York magazine); made a failing MTV a huge success with his “I Want My MTV” campaign; helped create and introduce VH1; created a new marketing category, Gourmet Frozen Foods, with his name Lean Cuisine; and (by inventing yet another new marketing phenomenon) persuaded America to change their motor oil at thousands of Jiffy Lube stations. He made the totally unknown Tommy Hilfiger immediately famous with just one ad; and saved USA Today from extinction with his breakthrough “singing” TV campaign. In 1994, almost overnight, he changed the perception of ESPN from a “Demolition Derby” sports channel to the number one sports network with his dynamic “In Your Face” campaign.
Additionally, he created the winning ad campaigns for four U.S. Senators: Jacob Javits (R-NY); Warren Magnuson (D-WA); Minority Leader Hugh Scott (R-PA); Robert Kennedy (D-NY). His list of breakthrough ad campaigns goes on and on. The only music video he created, Jokerman by Bob Dylan, won the MTV Best Music Video of the Year Award in 1983. And in 2008, the Museum of Modern Art installed 38 of his iconic Esquire covers in its permanent collection, celebrated by a year-long exhibit: George Lois: The Esquire Covers @ MoMA.
George Lois is the only person in the world inducted into The Art Directors Hall of Fame, The One Club Creative Hall of Fame, with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, CLIO, and the Society of Publication Designers, as well as a subject of the Master Series at the School of Visual Arts.
He is the author of over 5 books and is the inspiration for 'Don Draper' on the Hit TV Show Mad Men. (Source: www.georgelois.com)
1. What sparked your creativity?
It all started with drawing, which led to my public school art teacher sending me to the High School of Music & Art, where I learned to be a designer.
2. What do you believe is the most important contributing factor to your success when it comes to advertising and why? Also, what advice do you have for up-and-coming advertisers in the world today?
Every great art director must have the heart of an artist and the soul of a salesman.
3. What hasn’t changed about marketing and advertising since you first started?
What will never change for me is always going for the Big Idea in Advertising.
4. You are an individual that really understood the pulse of the 1960s, what do you remember most about the tumultuous decade?
I founded the second creative advertising agency in the world, sparking the famous Advertising Creative Revolution of the 1960s. In the decade of the 60s, I also created almost 100 Esquire covers, 38 of which are installed in MoMA’s permanent collections, many considered iconic.
5. What scares you most about our society today?
We live during the period of the worst and most dangerous President in our history, as well as living in a dumb data-driven world.
6. What inspires you most about our society today?
7. You have been around and have worked with many successful people in your life, Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few. Is there a common character trait you’ve noticed that successful people share?
They all believed in their own talent and never accepted advice.
8. You’ve always been an ally of the underserved, misrepresented and socially oppressed. Where does your passion for helping others stem from?
I will forever speak truth to power, and aid the oppressed.
9. Your book “DAMN GOOD ADVICE”, is excellent for any reader who considers themself a creative. What made you decide to write it in short pieces of advice rather than a long drawn out biography?
Every word in DAMN GOOD ADVICE belongs there. Crisp, concise, passionate.
10. What was your writing process like for “DAMN GOOD ADVICE”?
Making sure it was advice that can literally unleash the creative potential of the talented.
11. Do you plan on writing any more books in the future?
My next book will be titled, "FEAR OF THE BIG IDEA".
12. What is the best book you’ve read in 2019?
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Every human should read it.
13. What is the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
The greatest happiness is the joy of the creative process, digging for the answer, and then finally getting the Big Idea.
14. Who has been an important mentor in your life?
When we were young men, Massimo Vignelli and I mentored each other when we said, “Do it right, and it, and you, will live forever".
15. Is all publicity really good publicity?
Bad publicity sucks.
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