People don’t mind being sold to if they know why it’s happening and they enjoy the process.

I just finished watching Art & Copy – a documentary about advertising and inspiration. Jordan Michael Winn recommended it to me. And he was right, I liked it.

The documentary film interviews a handful of the top advertising minds from the past 40 years. And you actually get to see quite a few of the ads that made these individuals and firms famous (or infamous, depending on your view).

After viewing, there were several thoughts that stuck with me.

Advertising is about finding what people want to see even though they don’t know it.

American consumers recognize a great ad and they respond accordingly. Their actions say, “I like the way you sold me. So, I like you.”

Make your advertising strong in a memorable way. Say the right thing the right way. To get a person to do something you want them to do…it’s all about connection.

Sometimes the most inadvertent things stick with you. Nike’s “Just Do It.” campaign. The origination of this stemmed from a convict about to be executed. As he was being prepared for execution, he said, “Let’s do it.” The ad firm (Wieden+Kennedy) kept the “do it” portion and ran with it.

It’s simple. It’s speaks different things to different people. It’s powerful.

When dealing with a brand, people think to themselves, “I want to be part of that community (brand). Do I want to have that brand over for dinner?” I found this concept really fascinating. That within a short 30 second slot and over time, consumers begin to be drawn to a brand (or pushed away) and it’s all in how that brand is positioned.

For example, several of the firms that worked with Nike discussed how ‘jogging’ was not really seen in America until the Nike campaigns started running (no pun intended) in the late 70’s-mid ‘80s. Prior to this jogging was seen mainly in Australia and New Zealand, but not America.

Through the Nike campaigns, the consistency of Nike saying “We want you to be healthy. We are about health. We have products to help you achieve health. Here’s how to do it.” Jogging became the main exercise habit over the next decade.

At the same time brands can be dangerous – picture an obedient dog following his master. People care so much about a brand that whatever that brand says or stands for, those brand disciples will do.

I watch ads all the time. I really hate bad ads. They hurt. I want run away and scream. It was nice knowing I’m not the only one that feels violated when I see a bad ad (content or production). “The biggest crime in advertising: for you to see bad ads.”

Advertising is a business of rejection. Often times it will take over a year through the process of debating whether a client likes an ad idea or not. Only to then be rejected at the end. This business is not for the faint heart.

“Fear is a very powerful depressant. If you can conquer fear, you can do anything.”
Mary Wells Lawrence

“A lot of people in this business, but very few good ones. And very few that get the chance to do good work.”
Hal Riney

“I don’t think you really succeed unless a great amount of love involved. And affection for the people around you.”
Dan Wiedan

“There will always be someone with a message.”
Lee Clow

“I think creativity can solve anything.”
George Lois

Some Of The Advertising Agencies In This Film:


Pubicis & Hal Riney


Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (DFS), now a part of Saatchi & Saatchi

Wells Rich Greene sold to Boulet Dru Dupuy Petit (BDDP)

Honorable Mentions – Top Ad Campaigns:

Got Milk?” (Goodby, Silverstein & Partners)

Where’s the beef (DFS)

1984 (TBWAChiatDay)

I Love NY (WRG)

Just Do It. (Wieden+Kennedy)

Think Different (TBWAChiatDay)

MJ: Failure (Wieden+Kennedy)