Entries Tagged 'Art Direction' ↓

Ad Age’s Advertising Century — The 100 Best People

Ad Age has compiled an impressive list of the 100 best ad people. It includes celebs like Steve Jobs, Jerry Della Femina, George Lois, Mary Wells Lawrence*, Shirley Polykoff, Bill Bernbach, but also to me, some odd choices like — yikes — Arthur Godfrey.

I have worked for or met three of these people. The one I merely met was John Caples but with the internet’s enthusiasm for 10,000-word squeeze pages, he seems as contemporary now as he was when started in direct response in the 1920’s. (He wrote, “They laughed when I sat down at the piano.”) The other two were the BBDO powerhouses Allen Rosenshine and Phil Dusenberry. (If this “corrects” his name to boysenberry, I’ll scream.)

Great list to peruse to see which advertising legends you’re familiar with. I’d go into chapter and verse about my dealings with Messrs Rosenshine and Dusenberry, but as my kids already ask me, “What was Professor Shakespeare like in theater class, Dad?” I think I’ll save that for another time.

*Hi, Pam. If this made sense to you, you know who are.

World’s Smallest Movie

It’s done by and for IBM, which claims that the pixels in the commercial are individual atoms. I don’t really believe that, but the Guinness Book of Records says it’s the world’s smallest stop-action movie.

It’s by Ogilvy Mather New York.

The blog where I saw this says this is one of the ten best ads of 2014. Definitely worth visiting. (I’m old school — an ad is print, not video. Oh well.)

Breakthrough visual ads

Creative and funny.

I never knew Denver was all that dry. Please don’t let Tucson Water folks see this. My Arizona trucker’s coffee mug holds four ounces.

This blog has Seventy Creative Advertisements that Make You Look Twice.

The images are terrific, weird and frankly sometimes scary:

Hope no one takes this literally.

This all looks like award-show work.This is from hongkiat.com, a design and webmaster blog with a heavy emphasis on tech. These print ad images are the least tech things discussed. There’s some great SEO advice here too as well as security, like why everything on your smartphone must be erased before you sell it. (Probably because your entire life is on the beeping sucker?)

You mean, the burgers don’t look as good as they do in the ads??

Someone has discovered and proven with photos that fast food looks better in the ads than in real life.


Years ago, I knew a bunch of genuine NYC foodies — not just people who like to cook but people who cover food in the media and promote certain brands in advertising.

Surprisingly, I could eat with them without their tearing every entree to shreds in well-reasoned attacks.

Some were food stylists, who make food look its yummiest in ads and on TV. When you realize that a vanilla custard cone is artfully sculpted shortening due to the need to withstand the effects of hot lights and the drip, drip, drip of a million needed re-shoots, you realize anything is possible. Your idea of a Big Mac won’t quite match reality. Yet The Big Mac may still be a tasty occasional meal, as long as you don’t overdo it.

Anyway, here is the link for the advertisement vs. reality comparison.

The source blog is Alphaila.

Gomes-Loew Neon Sign

It used to be the coolest thing any creative — whether art director or copywriter — could have was a Gomes Loew fire-engine-red neon sign.

Gomes-Loew Productions, founded by Dick Loew and George Gomes, was a TV commercial production house famous for their big-screen movie look and — to a copywriter at least — their technically tricky shots. (I remember one shot where, as they panned right there was a beautiful oak beam — needed I think for a cut — but as the camera moved back over the same area, the cut wasn’t needed and so, magically, the beam was gone.)

Dick Loew directed several of my TV commercials. They looked great then; they look great now. I remember a corner-office executive attended at least one of the TV commercial shoots. Working with Gomes-Loew for a young copywriter, was definitely big time.

Months later, one afternoon in the autumn someone called to check on the spelling of my name. “Grant, G-R-A-N-T” “What’s this for?” I asked. “A Christmas gift” they said. Neither the gift nor the giver was explained any further.

Some weeks later I got another call.

“There’s something for you, here at the front desk.”

“I hope it isn’t breakable” I said, clueless.

“I think it is breakable” the young lady said.

It was yes! my name in neon. A Gomes-Loew neon sign.

Though the sign was kind of cool, it wasn’t something a grown-up would have in their office, was it?

Yes, it is. For my boss, his boss and his boss’s boss all had these in their offices.

And often they were on, blazing fire-engine red in even the most brightly lit office.

Several years later, while arranging a hanging plant?, I moved my arm back and realized I had broken the most valuable thing in the room, maybe the apartment. My Gomes-Loew sign. I immediately had it repaired probably by the same company that had made it, located on the West Side of Manhattan.

“What was your sign filled with, buddy?”

“I don’t know. Neon, maybe.”

What color was it”


“That’s neon, then. If you want, we can fill it with other gases. Helium for green, or argon for blue. There are other colors too: white, pink, yellow, whatever you want.”

I considered refilling the sign with helium for a green St. Paddy’s Day look. Except then it would appear I had ordered my own fake Gomes-Loew sign, and I had not been given a Gomes-Lowe one. Then everyone I worked with would have commented that it wasn’t real. I really had no color choice: I had it refilled with neon.

Mad Women, the Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue*

Yes, Ratazzi’s was the big O&M hangout. David Ogilvy probably didn’t carry cash around with him in his own company. Maybe to Mr. Ogilvy, the print ad was the highest form of advertising craft and TV was the scruffy stepchild. (Reportedly, D.O. hid his TV in his wine cellar.) Copywriters were the idea people at Ogilvy and art directors made it look good.

Apparently, Doyle Dane Bernbach’s idea of creative teams comprised of writers and art directors was big news in the 60’s, and according to Ms. Maas pretty shocking to the old guard. However, due to a comment by someone I respect online, I’m leery of taking this book as gospel. Was Doyle the only major agency using creative teams? I don’t know.

When I entered the business, teams were used everywhere, even by some pretty stodgy agencies.

While the book chronicles her real struggles as a second-class citizen in a sexist industry, the average non-advertising person may read this book quite differently. She had no computer, internet or iPhone. (As the GEICO commercial points out, Paul Revere’s life would have been easier too with a cell phone.)

In fact, only by comparing herself to the super rich like David Ogilvy, does Ms. Maas appear struggling in a cruel world. Striving, yes; struggling, no. She has a live-in maid. Her children go to the best private schools in the city. Her place on Park Avenue sounds lovely. I appreciate her candor, but omitting some of the perks of her life would have made her thesis of struggling working girl in the big scary city more convincing. As it is, it’s kinda “poor little rich girl”– which was the well-deserved nickname for Gloria Vanderbilt. She did not make her fortune from selling blue jeans.

* “In the 60’s and beyond.” Too much title for this post. Ms. Maas is a long copy person.

Rabbits’ Feet Selling What?

I have seen an amazing tv commercial. It’s a commercial that sells the charitable work of veterinarians reattaching rabbit’s feet back to their original owners.Uh-huh. Because?

Because people don’t need luck any more now that they have Traveler’s Insurance.

The ad agency is Fallon in Minneapolis. It’s was realized on film by Tim Godsall at Biscuit Filmworks, as reported in Adweek.

Two Deans, Hanson and Buckhorn, art directed and wrote it. For the complete credits for this creative gem, go to adforum.com.

Some comment on the commercial here and here.

At first viewing, I thought the bunnies were wearing colored bandages. Now that I get it duh! I am a little squeamish myself. (Yep, I know what a lucky rabbit’s foot is,. I just didn’t want to take the clever idea that far.)

New Advertising Agency in NY Outsources to Asia

Remember the outcry over U.S. films being shot in Canada to cut production costs? Or using the Internet to allow programmers in Asia to compete with American programmers — another “world-is-flat” bid to cut costs to the bone?

Now, with the founding of Banerjee & Partners of New York, Bombay and Bangalore, this outsourcing has begun in advertising. Not only is there serious, American-culture-infused, creative talent in India, there is a booming film industry there to implement further cost savings.

Losang Gyatso, the executive creative director in New York, explained in an Adweek article that because Indians speak many different languages, all the advertising is created in English (former British colony) and driven by strong brand-building imagery.

The foreign creative idea has its detractors. Kevin Roddy, ECD at the Bartle Bogle Hegarty ad agency in New York said “It’s incredibly difficult to creatively direct someone who is thousands of miles away.” While he was Creative Director at Fallon in New York, he had to manage creative teams in Minneapolis.

Still the ad talent in the region is undeniable. In the last three years, Indian advertising has won thirteen Cannes Lions.

Popups in newspapers?

Apparently, the dreaded popup print ad is starting to appear offline as well as online.

ComputerAssociates has a watermark ad in the stock pages of The Nw York Times, according to AdRants. When you chck your stocks you are looking right at their CA logo.

Inventive, and not nearly as annoying as the online version.

To tell more the Computer Associates story, a small ad appears at the bottom of the page.

Creative Ad Exec Resigns over Misogynist Remarks

Neil French, the worldwide creative director of WPP Group has had to resign after causing a storm with his remarks about women ad creatives, according to an article in The New York Times.

In a meeting in Toronto on October 6th, he said women “don’t make it to the top because they don’t deserve to.”

Nancy Vonk, Co-Chief Creative Director of Ogilvy in Toronto, writes about this over-the-top evening here. Her agency is part of the WPP Group. She attended the event and has known Mr. French for several years. She is familiar with his attitudes toward women. She writes, “Before us was a big part of the explanation of why more women aren’t succeeding in advertising,” as she believes his ideas are representative of the way top executives in the advertising business think.

Moreover, according to Vonk, Mr. French said most women leave the business to “go suckle something.” Was Mr. French trying to get fired? Was this a $100-a-seat frat party?

From my experience in advertising, listening as a guy to other ad guys talk, I have to say she is right. Often these conversations are straight out of the men’s locker room. I haven’t of course heard the discussions about who gets promoted to the top creative spot, but I can’t imagine their whole good ole boy tone disappears.