Monday, 24 September 2012

George Lois – What’s the big idea?

„“Advertising,“ I replied, „is poison gas. It should bring tears to your eyes. It should unhinge your nervous system. It should knock you out!“ (Lois, 1991, p.4).

„Picasso’s penetrating remark, „Art is the lie that tells the truth“ (...) When advertising is great – when it’s inventive, irreverent, audacious and loaded with chutzpah – it literally becomes a benefit oft he product, and Picasso’s „lie“ becomes the truth. Food tastes better, vlothes feel better, cars drive better.“ (Lois, 1991, p.14).

„Advertising is the art of breaking rules, not the science of making them.“ (Lois, 1991, p.17).

„our great work fell on the deaf ears of a bureaucrat. The Big Idea should be reserved for clients of imagination and chutzpah – who can recognize talent and are determined to milk that talent to its limit.“ (Lois, 1991, p.23).

„Trends can tyrannize, trends are traps.
The fact that others are moving in a certain direction is always proof
Positive, at least to me, that a new direction ist he only direction
Defy trends and don’t be constrained by precedents.
Stay loose.“ (Lois, 1991, p.50).

„People are smart.
I’m convinced this is a minority opinion in the boardrooms of most advertising agencies. (...) it follows as surely as night follows day that bright, witty advertising is verboten because „they“ simply „won’t get it.““ (Lois, 1991, p.59).

„if everything that runs on television has been so thoroughly researched, how come most advertising sucks? And how come most new products bite the dust?“ (Lois, 1991, p.60).

„Intelligent, disarming, fresh, bright work can only be done if you really think people are smart enough and sharp enough to „get it“.“ (Lois, 1991, p.60).

„Conventional wisdom: advertising should be properly „targeted“ so that every dollar spent reaches the ultimate user. Minority dissent: if advertising were a science, that would make sense. (...) When advertising makes a product „famous,“ it makes the whole world aware of what’s out there. „Famous“ advertising reaches the target consumer and the target consumer’s wife (or husband), kids, mother, brother and neighbors. How do you then measure the impact of advertising on the ultimate user? (...) I can say this: in our commercial world, it’s good to be famous. It’s not good tob e invisible.“ (Lois, 1991, p.66).

„Gertrude Stein to Picasso: „I don’t look like that.“ Picasso to Stein: „You will.“ Advertising should never be a mirror. Advertising can be a compass that points ist arrows toward new standard of consumer satisfaction.“ (Lois, 1991, p.69).

„We should portray what we feel in our hearts the product can grow to become. The advertising imagery should be ahead of the product  - literally – not in a way that assails credulity, but in a sensitive way that inspires belief in the product’s benefits and imparts a greater sensitive way that inspires belief in the product’s benefits and imparts a greater sense of purpose to those who produce and sell it.“ (Lois, 1991, p.70).

„We’re keeping the sizzle but adding the steak.“ (Lois, 1991, p.74).

„Safe, conventional work is a ticket to oblivion. Talented work is ipso facto unconventional.“ (Lois, 1991, p.78).

„A source of tension and rage among cretive people is their awareness that everything they do must be approved by the person who pays the bill, the client.“ (Lois, 1991, p.79).

„This is not simply a display of eclecticism for ist own sake; to be in the company of people who are tuned in tot he real world is a powerful reassurance that our work will not be theoretical or „blue sky“.“ (Lois, 1991, p.81).

„The focus during our presentation is never on those audiovisual clutches that telegraph uncertainty, insecurity, or waste.“ (Lois, 1991, p.81).

„Whenever possible I aim for a magical connection with myth and/or popular culture that endows the product with an irresistible aura.“ (Lois, 1991, p.122).

“If 99% of most package goods advertising has been tested, how come 98% o fit sucks?“ (Lois, 1991, p.129).

Why are we advertising? „Advertising that adds value to the product.“ (Lois, 1991, p.141). „By conferring that „added value“ on a product, great advertising makes food taste better, makes cars ride smoother, makes beer taste richer.“ (Lois, 1991, p.141). „Advertising gives one parity product the appearance of being superior to ist peer brands. Appearance, however, often becomes the product’s reality as the brand strives to catch up with ist advertising image, to close the gap between perception and reality.“ (Lois, 1991, p.142).

„the primary „product“ of our business: the advertising.“ (Lois, 1991, p.142).

„I prefer the „seemingly outrageous“. The operative word is seemingly. Advertising should stun momentarily ... it should seem to be outrageous. In that swift interval between the initial shock and the realization that what you are showing is not as outrageous as it seems, you capture the audience.“ (Lois, 1991, p.145).

„Everything I’ve described here is really not outrageous – but all are seemingly so? The „Strategy“ is to get people’s attention by seeming to shock. They then realize quickly that all is not as outrageous as it seems – and they’re ensnared by the unforgettable Big Idea.“ (Lois, 1991, p.157).

„That frequently asked question, „Does humor work in advertising?“ is stupid. Did anyone ever ask, „Does humor work in life?“ (Lois, 1991, p.195).

„Advertising seeks to command attention through inventive imagery; sex is a separate passion, a loose emotional cannon that has no clear direction. (...) It works best in advertising when leavened by humor, which makes it acceptable.“ (Lois, 1991, p.209). „An informed customer is worth much more than an aroused customer.“ (Lois, 1991, p.209).

„Working hard demands that you laugh a lot or you turn into a drone and your work shows it. Advertising is a creative business, but tob e creative, the vital juices must flow unimpeded. I like the phrase loosey-goosey to describe the kind of ambience so essential to mea s I go about my work with gusto and pleasure.“ (Lois, 1991, p.259).„Working under pressure is another reason why having fun us not a luxury but a necessity.“ (Lois, 1991, p.259).

„At the end of each day I’m burned out – and I love that feeling of utter depletion; it is an ecstatic sense of having committed my talents to their absolute limit.“ (Lois, 1991, p.260).

„85% of all advertising is invisible. (...) But none o fit is good enough to stop you in your tracks. 14% of all advertising is terrible – ugly, stupid, patronizing, demeaning. Paradoxically, that’s better than being invisible; at least it might get your attention. The remaining 1% is terrific advertising.“ (Lois, 1991, p.271).

„George, be reckless. (...) We are being paid by our corporate patrons to excite and arouse, not to sedate America.“ (Lois, 1991, p.275).

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