This video of George Lois was shot by GQ’s Design Director Fred Woodward for the 2004 SPD awards. George conceived and designed all those iconic Esquire covers from the 60’s (cover archive here).
From a story on Lois and the hit show Mad Men over on Fast Company (here):
So what happened to the great advertising of the sixties? It continued into the seventies but slowly got taken over by the Saatchis and guys who were buying up agencies. Before you knew it, all the creative agencies were bought. Most advertising today is group grope. The marketing people decide what a point of view should be, then they go out and test it and they come back with all kinds of opinions about strategy. That’s fed down to the copywriter and art director who are stuck with that whole approach. It’s an art but they’ve made it a science. Every businessperson today has gone to marketing school, business school or communication classes. How are you going to teach advertising? With the way I worked, a client can give me everything they know about something and then I go away and come back with advertising that knocks them out of their chair. They finally understand what kind of a company they are.
…mostly today, I could name you brands that spent a half a billion or a billion a year on advertising and I could say to you, “Okay, give me what they say in their advertising–give me the words or the visual of what their message is, and you couldn’t tell me what the fuck they do. I could name every car in America and I couldn’t tell you what the fuck their advertising is. Every beer brand, you would confuse every commercial for every other.