Art & Copy: What’s Behind Great Advertising Ideas?

Documentary filmmaker Doug Pray decided to give up his regular beat – places like back alleys and truck stops – to speak to pioneers of the ad industry and see what was behind their best ideas – ideas that resulted in iconic ads that all of us, and especially the creative community, still look up […]

Documentary filmmaker Doug Pray decided to give up his regular beat – places like back alleys and truck stops – to speak to pioneers of the ad industry and see what was behind their best ideas – ideas that resulted in iconic ads that all of us, and especially the creative community, still look up to. The result is Art & Copy. Mr Pray is very clear that his film is not about the 98% of rubbish ads that seem to surface with infallible constancy year after year. Instead, he says

I didn’t want to make a doc that just trashes trashy advertising. Too easy, too obvious, and why bother? Instead, granted access to a handful of the greatest advertising minds of the last fifty years, I felt it could be a more powerful statement to focus the film only on those rare few who actually moved and inspired our culture with their work. And that higher standard made me want to make a film that reflected the same kind of disciplined artistic approach that my subjects used.

Towards this end, Pray, along with director of photography Peter Nelson and editor Philip Owens decided to ignore their usual hand-held, realistic camera style and go for a classier approach. One of the film’s revelations is how much the professional was reflected in the personal for these creative minds, such as “(h)ow Mary Wells’ zany and theatrical ads were a result of growing up in a family that hardly ever communicated. How George Lois spent his youth fighting on the streets of West Bronx and kept right on fighting the status quo in his ads for MTV and Hilfiger. Or how the late Hal Riney’s depression-era childhood robbed him of the very emotions that he spent a lifetime recreating in his ads for Saturn, Gallo, and Reagan.”

Definitely a documentary film to watch out for.

[Via Swiss Miss]

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