Truth be told, I could watch an entire film about the legendary art director George Lois (above) while ticking off every curse word uttered by his outrageous pottymouth (it would be an NC-17 rating). And I would be just as fascinated to sit through a feature-length cultural investigation of the ubiquity of Goodby & Silverstein’s Got Milk? knockoffs. Somewhere in between is the documentary Art & Copy, the advertising documentary about the industry’s creative greats and the campaigns that made them. The film will have its New York premiere at IFC on Tuesday, May 5 as part of the One Club’s Creative Week.
From Bill Bernbach selling the Volkswagen Beetle by telling consumers to “think small,” to Dan Wieden and David Kennedy telling us to “Just Do It” for Nike, Art & Copy is being billed as the “real-life Mad Men” although only a handful of these people were alive then (and Lois has vehemently denied that it was all martinis and misogyny). Given a warm welcome by Sundance earlier this year, the documentary directed by Doug Pray (who previously investigated DJ and surf culture) follows the rise (and fall?) of traditional advertising. Look for these icons in the lineup: Lee Clow (Apple), Phyllis K. Robinson (Clairol), Hal Riney (Ronald Reagan), Cliff Freeman (Wendy’s), and Mary Wells (Braniff).