There’s a few great campaigns that have been done by advertising agencies – See my marketing notes on some of the finest ones ever created
It’s Lewis a.k.a. Nerd #2.
Today I want to share with you notes I took on a presentation that featured some of the finest concepts mainstream ad agencies have to offer.
These are notes I took FOREVER to take for you from “Art & Copy: Inside Advertising’s Creative Revolution” which is a documentary film directed by Doug Pray
First of all let me say that I believe 95% of the ads that ad agencies pump out suck moose cock. Their main purpose is to please the agency, to not offend anyone with a pulse or to offend unnecessarily, and to get nominated for some kind of advertising agency award – not to get the maximum response from the perfect prospects.
Now this show only features ad men who run famous agencies and highlights major campaigns that got massive attention because they ran nationwide on TV and in print.
And being that I’m in favor of advertising that not only gets attention from precisely the perfect prospect but also gets results, I’ve left out the campaigns where I felt like it seemed like the campaign was all about the agency jerking themselves off in pursuit of winning an award and I only highlighted the ones where there was a direct correlation to the ad running and money flowing in like a motherfucker as a result of it.
Enough talk. Let the show begin . . .
“The frightening and most difficult thing about being what someone calls a “creative person” is having no idea where any of his thoughts come from really and not having any idea of where they’re going to come from tomorrow.”
George Lois (you’ll see his stellar back story below) said, “I was listening to a discussion on what some people at some agency like J. Walter Thompson thought advertising was and my partner saw me making faces and he asked me why I was doing so and I said, ‘I think these guys are in a different business than we are. I think of advertising as poison gas –advertising should tear you up, choke you up, give you the chills and maybe make you pass out when you watch it.’
Phyllis K. Robinson was the original copy chief at Doyle Dane Bernbach. Advertising up until this little 14 person agency started up in the 50’s was the old boys club – ingrown mediocrity. The old boys thought this agency would never catch up but they blew past them and left them in the dust.
Bill Bernbach was the guy who pioneered putting the art director
in the same room as the copywriter. This had never been done before. The way it was done before was the copy was taken to the art department and they made an ad out of it. Art directors had zero input in terms of the thought behind the copy they were handed. When Bernbach told the art director and the copywriter to work it out together it opened the gate for art to actually enhance the message.
I’d never heard of George Lois until I watched this but seeing his animated renegade spirit come alive on scree (which you’ll see in video below) and in his work has led to me LOVING George Lois.
Here’s a snippet from a New York Times piece done on him that gives you a lightning fast version of his back story . . .
GEORGE LOIS, one of the most influential admen of his generation, is the sort of person who has a dozen brainstorms an hour, at least half of them good and only a few really harebrained. Among the better ones were the early Xerox commercials showing a chimpanzee deftly operating a photocopier, the “I want my MTV” campaign and Lean Cuisine.
But among certain groups of people — magazine collectors, veterans of the 1960s, admirers of brilliant design — Mr. Lois is best known for the covers he created for Esquire from 1962 to 1972. There were 92 in all, including one that never ran: an antiwar cover intended for the December 1962 issue, which was dropped because the State Department was insisting that American troops would be out of Vietnam by Christmas. Thirty-one of them are part of an exhibition that opened at the Museum of Modern Art on Friday.
The show looks a little like a tidied-up version of a great many college dorm rooms back in the ’60s. There on the wall, neatly mounted instead of just torn out and stuck up with tape, are Tricky Dick having lipstick applied, L.B.J. holding a Hubert Humphrey dummy, Andy Warhol drowning in a Campbell’s soup can, Muhammad Ali posing as St. Sebastian and a grinning Lt. William Calley, the leader of the massacre at My Lai, with four Vietnamese children. There’s also the image Mr. Lois created for the December 1963 issue, in response to a plea from Harold Hayes, Esquire’s editor, for something “Christmassy.” It shows Sonny Liston wearing a Santa hat — probably the last person white Americans hoped to see coming down the chimney in those days.
Many of Mr. Lois’s covers were controversial, not so say irreverent or deliberately provocative. The Liston cover cost the magazine $750,000 in dropped advertising. But they were immensely successful at drawing attention, on the newsstand especially.
“The covers weren’t the only thing going on in those days,” Byron Dobell, Esquire’s managing editor during many of the Lois years, recalled recently. “We thought there was some pretty great stuff inside as well. But the covers proved to be a very effective way of advertising our kind of journalism. They were way out there.”
That last quote mirrors what Hugh Hefner talks about doing with
Playboy Magazine when it was in it’s prime.
I love what George said about the Sonny Liston cover, “Black Santa Claus was me spooking the whites of America. Everyone was saying, ‘Hey, I’m for negro rights but you’re going a little too far here.’ And I said, ‘Fuck you, this black son-of-a-bitch is gonna come down your chimney and cut your balls off!’
Is it any surprise that I like this guy?
George hated the system. He hated the status
quo. They were out to change the world and people respected it. They were making political and graphic statements that grabbed at the heart and the throat. He believes this is what he’s done all of his life with his advertising. He wanted to sell the product but he also wanted to make a point while doing so.
George Lois believes advertising should be revolutionary, subversive.
I believe Dan Kennedy’s Renegade Millionaire system accomplishes this. Dan makes a statement about what he believes life should be about and I sincerely hope you recorded his 4 launch videos for his re-launch of this packaged course that included his Renegade Time Management program as well so you’d have an idea of how to do this with an information product.
Money To Be Made In Advertising
This movie was released in 2010 and they’d estimated that by the end of the year, the global advertising business would exceed $544 billion dollars.
ü 44% of all satellites launched are for commercial communications
ü 75% of global satellite services revenue comes from television
ü 70% of U.S. TV broadcasting revenue comes from ads
Mary Wells, one of members of the Doyle Dane Bernbach team when they hit the scene says, “I think that people who are loners or have lives where they have to overcome when they are young, I think that they get a strength that’s very useful later on.”
She had the ambition to turn advertising into theater. She wanted her clients to do big dramatic things with their advertising. (I believe the Renegade Millionaire launch fused theater into the direct response outcome they were gunning for beautifully)
Charlie Moss, the Creative Director at Wells Rich Greene (Wells being Mary Wells), says, “Anybody who’s a terrific ad person on the creative side, usually has the two qualities of being a salesman and an entertainer.”
In the 1970’s, the average city dweller received about 1,000 advertising messages every day. Today it’s closer to 5,000.
Hal Riney of Hal Riney & Partners did a campaign for a bank in the late 60’s – an old fashioned bank with old fashioned customers either dying or about to – who was trying to bring in more bidniz.
Hal went to the president of the bank and told him that they should take some of their money and hire a bunch of song writers to write a song about young people and how their lives are changing.
He didn’t tell them what the song was and couldn’t tell them what the commercial would be because he wouldn’t know until the song was written and the guy in charge told him this is some pretty vague advice. Rightfully so. But they went ahead with it and this was the result . . .
The song became one or two in the entire nation so not only did they have a nationwide hit, but it also led them into some commercials that didn’t have to really say anything with ad copy but instead played the chorus of the song and showed images of young people getting married and driving off into the sunset with each other who’d only just begun and the implication of the ad was that you needed help getting to you wanted to go and they understood that and were sympathetic to this.
Only they weren’t.
They touched young people with the message. The young people swarmed the banks asking for money. The bank decided they didn’t want the kids in the bank because they didn’t have any money (Just in case you didn’t know, the most welcome person in a bank is the person who doesn’t need their money).
So deciding that the campaign wasn’t targeted right, they killed it but not before they franchised it to banks all over the country to make the most out of what was an ill-thought out campaign.
This is a primary lesson on why it’s incredibly important to know precisely who your perfect prospect is so that when you spend money to speak, you’re calling out to the people you want to do business with.
The documentary failed to point out this highly important lesson explicitly instead choosing to highlight Hal’s “wise?” decision to have a song written that ended up being a number 1 or 2 hit. He was younger so this was a stepping stone for him and I imagine it stuck with him helping him to nail some big level stuff in the future which you’ll see below.
Look At How People LOVE Their TV…
ü The average household watches over 8 hours of TV per day
ü There are 1353 HDTV satellite channels around the world today – this number will grow 350% by 2013. There are 565 satellite-delivered TV networks in the U.S.
ü 75% of U.S. homes have 3 or more televisions
Lee Clow is the worldwide chairman of
TBWA/Chiat/Day and at his heart he’s a California surf boy.
He’s another guy who wanted to go against the establishment. He started out working for an agency who represented everything he thought was wrong with the advertising business which was milking clients for as much money as you could get and giving the client what they wanted and he believed it was deceitful to allow clients to dictate mediocre work and for them to get paid for it when he knew something more was possible.
He escaped to Chiat/Day which when it was just being born and Jay Chiat and Guy Day were pirate and rebel spirits like he was. His rebellion was in pursuit of the creative people being in charge instead of the suits and he found a home here.
You’ll see some of his famous work coming up.
Now Back To My Rough Rugged Renegade Muthafucker…
George Lois grew up in a strict Irish neighborhood, the most racist neighborhood possible and he had at least 50 fist fights with kids who ended up becoming his best friends. He had to fight his way through the neighborhood because he was Greek.
George has always the reputation of being tough with clients. It’s true in the aspect that he had a big idea and he would show it to them and embark on selling it to them in pursuit of making them rich and he found he had to drag them kicking and screaming into becoming rich and it drove him crazy.
He could get excited about selling a new pen. He’d see a couple of cool features and in his words he’d say, “Let’s sell that motherfucker!” and he’d get excited about almost nothing.
George Lois Sperms the Load That Is MTV Into The Egg That Is American Society
In 1984 George rolled over the slogan for some old timer breakfast cereal called “Maypo” from 1967 and rolled it into Music Tele-Vision – MTV which gave birth to the slogan “I want my MTV”.
George told Bob Pittman, the founder of the channel, that he could get them a rock star to appear in their commercials that he wanted to design with the express intent of getting the 1,000’s of rock fan viewers to call up their cable TV providers and tell them they wanted them to start featuring MTV.
Bob Pittman thought it was a crazy idea because he’d been hearing all kinds of shit from the rock stars because they were showing videos of the stars songs giving the rock stars free publicity and not paying them for doing so.
George went after Mick Jagger and got him and
the rest is history.
They ran the first commercial on a Thursday night and at 8:30 the next morning in New York which is 5:30 in San Francisco the cable operator calls up Bob Pittman and says, “GET THAT FUCKING COMMERCIAL OFF THE AIR!” Pittman told him he’d take it off right away. And the cable operator says, “By the way, I’ll take it.” Pittman says, “Take what?” The operator says, “MTV.” Pittman says, “Why?” and the operator says, “Because I’m getting thousands of phone calls asking for it.”
George’s ad got ‘em by the balls.
How To Introduce The New Kid On The Block So That Everyone Takes Notice
I don’t know if you know this or not, but George Lois is the only reason you’ve ever heard of a guy named Tommy Hilfiger. Here’s why . . .
Tommy Hilfiger calls George a visionary because he sees things that normal people don’t see and he thinks about what people want to see before they know what they want.
George had just finished with the launch ads for MTV when he met him which was based around the same concept/challenge Tommy was facing which was introducing an unknown brand to the world. And like with MTV, he got people to know who Tommy was almost overnight.
George’s idea was to put a picture of Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Ellis, and then we’ll say you’re the next in line. Tommy said, “You can’t compare me to these guys! It would sound like I’m bragging. I like to think of myself of looking at those guys as the gods.”
So George shows him the ad you see here and George says that Tommy’s mother couldn’t even fill in the blanks. George shot that high and told this big of lie. More like a prediction that came true.
Tommy of course didn’t want any part of this. His little Tommy nuts had shriveled into his body into his stomach.
George sits Tommy down and says, “If you want to have any name recognition in this business at all, you’d need millions of dollars worth of advertising over and over and over and it will take you years. If you want your name to be known right away and for people to go and look at your clothes we need something unique like this.”
“Seemingly Outrageous,” is a term George likes to use thinking you should look at something and think it’s a little crazy and within the next 2-3 seconds this is something you want to look into. But as George says, “The product better be good. Because if the product isn’t any good it’ll put you out of business. People won’t keep buying it if it’s a piece of shit.”
Tommy couldn’t sleep because he thought this would be the end of his career. But then, he’d think about what would happen if the name became known and people looked at the clothes and like them.
The ads ran and people went crazy. All of 7th Avenue said, “WHO
DOES HE THINK HE IS?!? He’s no designer! Ralph and Calvin have been working for years and years and years.”
As a result of this campaign Tommy ended up being on the Johnny Carson show the week after he ran the ad. Tommy told Johnny that George was the one who dreamed up the campaign and convinced my business partner we should run. And that it wasn’t his choice to run this campaign. Then he proceeded to say he was a struggling designer and hopes the best for his company but that he was truly embarrassed by the campaign.
Fucking. Rat Bastard. Clients. Gotta love ‘em, right! Hahaha George made sure he ran that ad on 7th Avenue just to piss off Calvin and everyone else. This move put Tommy on the map overnight.
A side benefit is the embarrassment that Tommy felt it drove him to roll up his sleeves and work harder than he ever thought he could. He knew the only way to prove the naysayers wrong was for him to come out with amazing clothes.
So he worked like an animal making sure that every button, every zipper, every button hole, every color, every fit, every fabric was to perfection.
Tommy says, “George turbo-charged my success. The hip-hoppers started wearing it, then the rockers, then the suburbanites, then the dads and the moms and the kids and my business burst into a multi-billion dollar global business.”
“Great advertising makes food taste better, makes cars run better, it changes the perception of everything.”
Mary Wells believes that people who are good at advertising have the ability to sense what will turn you on.
ü Food companies spent $32 billion dollars on advertising in 2009
ü Car companies spent more than $15 billion
ü $2.6 billion dollars was spent on political advertising in 2008
“Brutal Simplicity” is the mantra of Rich Silverstein of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Jeff Goodby believes that advertising is “Art serving capitalism.”
These are the guys charged with making milk popular again. The dairy people had to market milk generically because there are no big flashy brands. Milk sales had been dropping about 4% a year, every year.
With the proliferation of drinks like soda, Gatorade, vitamin flavored water, etc. people were ignoring milk when it came down to choice of what to drink. Milk was becoming something you only used for cereal and cooking.
They were stuck because unlike Snapple who roll out flavor after flavor of sugary tasting delight, milk had three options – chocolate, strawberry or plain.
The intent of the “Got Milk?” ad campaign was
only driven to keep people from running out of milk which was only asking for an incremental increase in sales because people would stay ahead of letting their milk go sour or used up.
Rich looked at the line “got milk?” and hated it. He thought it was clunky and hated that it wasn’t even English. But Jeff liked that it was almost nothing, almost gone before you could say the words. Well, as you well know, it worked like a motherfucker.
$100’s of millions of dollars were spent prior to this on the concept of “Milk does a body good” and this showed athletes in uniforms drinking milk which didn’t connect. Most people don’t want to be healthy, that’s why they’re over or under weight. They say they want to be healthy but their actions tell an entirely different story.
The reason this campaign landed as truth is that they focused on situations where it sucked to be out of milk – like a scenario when you wanted to eat cereal so you poured it into the bowl and you go to the fridge and come to find out there’s just a splash of milk left and it serves like a kick to the balls in the moment where you’d worked yourself up to having your cereal. This was a truth people could connect with and relate to.
Rich believes their company is trying to entertain people using their client’s products. With this thinking the product and the marketing take the back seat to the concept. Jeff tells people all the time he believes advertising is the same as making art. They make stuff and put it in peoples faces and it hopefully it enriches them and makes them feel something and it’s a rush to have this happen to millions of people at once. You can experience an ad as a single person but millions of others are seeing it at the same time. It’s a mass communal happening and not too many things offer this in life.
Here’s how this mass communal effect plays out in numbers . . .
ü In 2009 Time Warner sold $8.8 billion dollars worth of advertising
ü A 30-second ad on American Idol costs $750,000 dollars
ü Michael Jordan’s value to Nike has been estimated at $5.2 billion dollars
David Kennedy of Wieden+Kennedy thinks that most creative people are so damn insecure that they want to think they know everything but they know that they’re in deep trouble from the minute they wake up in the morning and he tells the people who work for him that that’s the way it’s supposed to be and finds they see this as liberating.
They preach the concept that you want to strive to be like Babe Ruth and swing for the fences and be okay with striking out. These are the guys who did the famous Michael Jordan Nike commercial and you’ll see their perspective on failure along with Michael’s along with George Lois’s at the end . . .
George then goes on to say, “My mother told me to be careful. My father told me to be careful. Everybody told me to be careful, schools, coaches, school directors and in advertising that’s where everyone told you to be careful. In meetings people would tell me to be careful. What I try to tell everybody is that you’ve got power in you to do more than you’re doing. Everything should be ambitious.”
I like that.
I believe that even the lies you tell yourself should be ambitious rather than derogatory. The fact of the matter is, we all lie to ourselves. Most of tell the lie of “I’m not good enough and people don’t love me and I’m a failure.” That’s a lie.
Why not instead constantly tell yourself the lie that you’re fucking incredible and that people love the hell out of you and that everything you touch turns to gold,”? They both can come true. One is coming true right now, but more likely than not, it’s the one you don’t want.
When you can lie to yourself in an empowering way and not be attached to wanting it to happen, not care if it’s gonna happen, I believe amazing things can happen for you.
“Strong ideas, simply presented.”
This is a theme Carl Ally stands on. Their company is the one who
introduced Fed-Ex. DOUG 9 HERE
A 30 second ad during the Super Bowl costs $2.7 million dollars
If there’s a truth in it, it’s not a truth about the product and it’s not a truth about your relationship with the product when you buy it. It transcends to your be part of a group of people who “get it” because they own this product.
Harley Davidson ran an ad years ago that was the Harley logo tattooed on someone’s arm and it said, “When’s the last time you felt this passionate about anything.”
That’s what’s crazy when you think about how passionate people can be about a brand if brands are these interesting, fascinating and high-minded concepts that you want to assign to being a part of who you are ala being a Apple fan boy.
The interesting thing about a brand is that you’re not only planting an idea in the minds of your customers but also in the company itself of who they are and what they stand for and a sense of their role and their responsibility to their customers. This is like being a midwife to something.
A few ad men have higher aspirations for what’s possible for their clients than the clients have for themselves. They tell clients they can be more than simply a car company or a pet food company. Why not aspire to loving dogs rather than just supplying them?
Lee Clow says, “Any really competitive person is driven by wanting to prove something. If you’re going to be intense and passionate in business I think that you almost have to say you’re going to attack it in a rebellious kind of way as opposed to an orderly kind of way. The spirit of being the rebellious David vs. Goliath in the form of little clients trying to take on big clients, makes it more fun trying to be the little guy who’s trying to kick the big guys ass. And for some people who couldn’t kick people’s ass in high school but found a way to do it in business with their creativity jujitsu to knock the big guy out, this serves as an outlet.”
This is the premise they operated from when doing the first advertisements for Apple who at the time was going head on with IBM.
People always call Lee around Super Bowl time to ask him why he believes his Apple 1984 ad was such a breakthrough . . .
Some people thinks this ad made such a huge impression because they never showed the product, some people say it was because no one had ever gone with the “dramatic” example for a Super Bowl ad, some people point to the fact that they only ran once but he thinks it’s because they were actually introducing something that was revolutionary.
Macintosh and the mouse graphical interface changed EVERYTHING.
How often in advertising do you get to tell people something new and great is available and you can now buy it?
The other part was that they had a client in Steve Jobs who believed the product was world changing that told them to go do an ad that doesn’t look like anything else that’d been done before. The board saw the commercial and noticed that it didn’t even show the computer and told them to pull it and Jobs and Woz each footed half the money to pay for it and ran it anyways.
Everything that was done to launch that product is now done differently because of this product. The editing of film, the editing of music and sound, all the production tools that go into the television, all the tools that we use to produce magazine ads, print inserts, and Clow believes every computer company on the planet does their ads on a mac.
This is the message of theirs that Clow did that I actually like . . .
The Master Of Connecting To Emotion In Advertising
Hal Riney believes he let advertising be an avenue to express some of the things, like a happy family life, that he didn’t experience in his life having had a dad that been sent to prison when he was very young.
Another person said that what they believe people are buying into when they witness a Hal Riney ad is an experience of what they wish life could be. Riney pouring himself into an ad like this coincides directly with the principle of, “The more personal something is, the more universal it is.”
Here’s the killer ad he wrote for the re-election of President Ronald Reagan . . .
Not only was the copy great at making a bright and sunny case for Reagan but the imagery helped create warm and fuzzy feelings. When Ed Rollins, Reagan’s campaign manager showed Reagan this spot he remembers Ronald tearing up and saying, “I wish I was that good.”
Reagan understood that a presidential campaign was nothing but advertising and the power in tapping into emotion. When they showed 150 of the most cynical reporters in the world this ad, when it ended there was dead silence. They were all moved by it.
Ed says these ads were the best ever made in politics. And they led with emotion.
The Statement That Changed America Forever
Nike’s sole purpose for existing in the market place is to serve the athlete but in the late 80’s Nike expanded the definition of “athlete” beyond the people who participated in organized sports.
Nike is often credited with making jogging and running popular in America. Before Nike people didn’t run to get in shape. Running was something you did if you needed to condition yourself in order to play a sport at the highest level.
Nike’s mission became one of inspiring people to participate in sports.
The inspiration for their most famous ad campaign was fueled by a man who was about to be executed for murder in Utah. His final words to the firing squad were, “Let’s Do It!” and The New York Times ran them in the headline for this story.
This inspired “Just Do It”.
Nike was completely shocked by the impact and resonance this statement had on it’s audience. It’s a concept that applies to every area of your life where you’re hedging.
Think about how big of an impact this company had on women playing sports, not just recreationally but also professionally as a result of an ad like the one above and this one . . .
I can’t imagine how immense of an impact this movement to empower women has had on the reality we live in where women are kicking men’s ass all over from college all the way to the work place as is highlighted statistically in this post here.
This concept allowed the consumer to be okay with Nike’s outcome to sell a ton of shit because at the core of the concept was the belief that you could be and do more and we like people who believe in and inspire us.
People don’t mind being sold to as long as they like the reason that it’s happening. Remember that. Tattoo it on your mind so you never forget it.
Where companies run in trouble is when they treat people like they’re stupid instead of treating them the way they want their spouse or their kid to be treated.
A lot of advertising is trash.
Remember, this realm isn’t exempt from the 95/5 rule that says 95% of advertising is normal, boring, or just plain worthless or worse, dangerous and 5% of advertising is the game changing kind that empowers people.
Most people aren’t aspiring to be in the 5% in any area in life and advertising is no different. This is why most advertising is offensive, intrusive, aggravating, annoying, and intellectually based at the lowest common denominator. They aim low and get low results.
Don’t Fall Victim To The Majority
ü Each year, the average child sees 20,000 TV commercials
ü Americans see 61 minutes of ads each day on the internet, TV, and mobile screens
ü 65% of Americans believe they are constantly bombarded with too much advertising
You see these stats and you know that the majority of the ads people are seeing is horrible and it’s no wonder why advertising and marketing gets a bad rap. The 95% of the apples spoil the entire fruit – the fruit that gives live to the business, to jobs, to income.
But when advertising is done right, it’s a thing of beauty and can be celebrated because of the feeling you love experiencing that they promise to bring you.
Good advertising is a way for big soulless corporations, mid-sized businesses and small businesses to actually have a personality and to enable meaningful interaction with the people who keep them alive.
For the most part corporations are big lonely beasts confined to their cage. Small and medium look to these guys as examples to follow. Good advertisers help release them from this delusion.
George Lois believes creativity can solve anything. Anything. This reminds me of Gary Halbert’s belief that a good salesletter is the solution to any problem that you have in your business.
That’s it for today. Take the major lesson from this entire documentary and run with it – STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM BEING AVERAGE, NORMAL, OR MEDIOCRE WITH YOUR MESSAGE.
Lewis LaLanne a.k.a. Note Taking Nerd #2 a.k.a. L.L. Cool Nerd
PS. IF you want the power to make your advertising/marketing/content to convey an awesome personality people become passionately attached to, you definitely want to click here now and put your hands all over these marketing notes I took on Dan Kennedy’s DNA Game Changer seminar <—–