Tuesday, February 25, 2014


When I started in the advertising business, I think the greatest praise you could give a creative was to call him "a print guy." Many of the best agencies of the 60s, 70s and 80s had made their reputations via print ads. These agencies include DDB (VW and Avis) Ally & Gargano (Saab, Travelers Insurance, IBM) Scali (Volvo, Nikon, Perdue) Ammirati (BMW) Needham Harper & Steers (Xerox).

Print was prized because it is a great coalescer. There are no special effects. It's just you and your rectangle. A simple expression.

I knew from an early age that there was more money to be made if you worked primarily in TV, but the art and craft of advertising was most purely expressed (this may be snobby) via print.

Along the way, between the literally thousands of print ads I created for Montgomery Ward and Bloomingdale's, and the work I started doing when I got my first job in a traditional agency, I think I got pretty good at print.

In fact, one year when I was in my early 30s, I wrote virtually every print ad the agency produced. The TV guys couldn't be bothered and no one else was willing to stay late.

Today, of course, every one and his cousin has declared that "print is dead."

That is, however, until you're searching for the simplest way to communicate an idea.

Often I feel, as the oldest creative in my agency, like others have found myriad ways to cast me aside. They tell me I don't do the things that are so important and gain such buzz for a brand. Like...

Then, every once in a while something happens.

There's a crisis.

A client meeting and there's no formative idea, nothing that pins anything down.

That's when they call me.

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