Corporate America’s Best Storytellers Tell Some of Their Own

Darby and I went to see Art & Copy this afternoon.
In a film full of interesting and accomplished spokespersons for our industry, Lee Clow’s vision of putting the inmates in charge of the asylum is the one that’s most attractive to me. The film confirms that Clow is the straightest shooter and the most unconventional, fearless leader in advertising.

Hal Riney also has some powerful things to say in this documentary. Like how few people are truly great at making ads and how few people get the chance to do great work.
Considering the cast, which includes Riney, Clow, Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein, Dan Wieden, David Kennedy, George Lois, Mary Wells, Cliff Freeman, Jim Durfee and Phyllis K. Robinson, L.A. Times film critic, Kenneth Turan says:

They couldn’t be more different from each other, but they are all recognizable as members of the same irreverent, iconoclastic tribe, people who could make you walk a mile for a Camel and smile while you’re doing it.

Doug Pray, the film’s director, hopes his film will “inspire artists and writers to strive to make more meaningful, more entertaining, or more socially uplifting ads.” Which is a good thing to hope for, but it’s the left-brained clients (who are holding all the cards) that need to be inspired.
Advertising at its best is much more than commerce. That’s what this film is about and that’s what people will most likely take from it. Why advertising is so rarely at its best is a question that goes unanswered. But the answer isn’t hard to find. The people who pay for the ads want to move product, but for the most part are blind to the fact that to move product you first have to move people.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.