5 Tips for Success from Advertising’s Original Bad Boy
Often billed as the original Mad Man, George Lois could also be called advertising’s original Bad Boy. Since the ’50s he created memorable campaigns brands like VW, the Four Seasons and MTV. In his new book Damn Good Advice (for People with Talent!) the advertising icon provides an inspiring insight on how to communicate big messages with integrity.
Here are 5 Tips for Success quoted directly from George Lois:
1. Think Long, Write Short
“I’m sorry I could not have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time” – Abraham Lincon. Not too long after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivered the iconic wartime Gettysburg Address of 1863 in under three minutes and in just 10 sentences he wrote a long letter to a friend. The apology above, that he didn’t have the time to contemplate, correct, and edit his letter, is a lesson in good writing. Keep it short, informative, concise, and literary, where every single word counts. But remember: It’s not how short you make it; it’s how you make it short.
2. A Trend is Always a Trap
Because advertising and marketing is an art, the solution to each new problem or challenge should begin with a blank canvas and an open mind, not with the nervous borrowings of other people’s mediocrities. Trends are traps. In any creative industry, the fact that others are moving in a certain direction is always proof positive, at least to me, that a new direction is the only direction.
3. A Big Idea Can Change World Culture
MTV, now regarded as a “sure thing from the start,” was an abject failure after its first full year of operation. But in 1982 I got rock fans to phone their local cable operators and yell, I want my MTV. Overwhelmed, the operators called the Warner Amex cable-TV network and begged them to stop running my commercials. MTV was alive and rockin’.
A few weeks before, when I had presented my campaign idea to their execs, they insisted that no rock star would assist MTV. But with one pleading phone call to London, I convinced Mick Jagger to help (for no dough), and I anointed Sir Mick the patron saint of MTV. Within a few weeks of the premier of Jagger picking up the phone and saying I want my MTV, every rock star in America was calling me, begging to scream I want my MTV to the world. The lesson is that great advertising can perform a marketing miracle!
4. Teamwork Might Work in Building an Amish Barn, but it can’t Create a Big Idea
The accepted system for the creation of innovative thinking in a democratic environment is to work cooperatively in a team-like ambience. Don’t believe it. Whatever the creative industry, when you’re confronted with the challenge of coming up with a Big Idea, always work with the most talented, innovative mind available. Hopefully … that’s you. Avoid group grope and analysis paralysis. The greatest innovative thinker of our age remains Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.. Jobs was not a consensus builder but a dictator who listened to his own intuitions, blessed with an astonishing aesthetic sense.
Everybody believes in co-creativity–not me. Be confident of your own, edgy, solo talent.
(Once you’ve got the Big Idea, that’s where teamwork comes in–sellingthe Big Idea, producing the Big Idea, and bringing the Big Idea into fruition.)
5. To Create Great Work Here’s How You Must Spend Your Time: 1% Inspiration, 9% Perspiration, 90% Justification
I don’t care how talented you are. If you’re the kind of creative person who gets your best work produced, justifying and selling your work (to your boss, to your client, etc.) is what separates the sometimes good creative thinker from the consistently great one.
If you would like to talk about how we can create great work for you why not meet us for a chat? Contact us here
Adapted from “10 Tips For Success From George Lois, The Original Mad Man” by Belinda Lanks and featured on www.fastcodesign.com. Read the original article here