Lee Clow Influence
Creative icon Lee Clow let it be known last October that he would be retiring, and he followed that up yesterday with a goodbye letter to the industry, so I wanted to give him a quick deserved shout-out.
If you’re like me throughout your career (at least more so in the early stages) you actively look for inspiration and competitive drive from industry leading individuals and agencies. For me on the agency side it was W+K, CPB, 2A, and a few other shops; and on the individual side to name a few there was Isaac Tigrett, Alex Bogusky, Phil Knight, Steve Jobs, and Lee Clow.
If you’re not familiar with Lee Clow, well you probably shouldn’t be in the ad/marketing business, but i invite you check out these online features:
Many industry trades covered his goodbye letter, but AdWeek also included an exclusive interview with him, and a few highlights I want to showcase include:
On Steve Jobs:
Nowhere else in my career has the CEO wanted to meet, develop, and talk about advertising every week. When he came back in 1997, he said, we have to meet every week to put out the message that Apple is not going away. And he lived up to that almost until the day he died…Do something great–not something safe, not something that would make the client happy—that was the mandate.
On how Advertising has changed:
The business has since gotten very complicated by all the technology and media platforms that have changed the way messages go out into the world and how brands try and communicate with their customers. We need another creative revolution when people with ideas finally get their heads around the complexity and can leap over the tech to get back to big, bold, brave ideas that can be shared on all these media platforms.
But the reality is, great creative people—particularly in advertising—have to be students of the culture or cultural anthropologists who understand who’s doing what, how people are living their lives, and what messages, styles, and foods are impacting them.
In just those three answers there’s a lot to takeaway, and his last quote reminds me of a similar very important quote from another advertising icon: Mary Wells Lawrence:
"Awareness is at the very core of the advertising business, you have to be aware of what is happening today, now, this minute, to be connected, to be effective, not only about the issues but also about style, trends, art."
One of the many great ad campaigns that Lee Clow gave us was his “Think Different” work for Apple, and his career is a true testament to that. Thank you for helping push the advertising world to places it had never gone before.