Global Director of Media Arts, TBWA\Worldwide
Chairman,TBWA\Media Arts Lab
Lee Clow has been making advertising for almost 40 years. He says he loves “telling the stories brands have to tell.”
Lee believes advertising is art—media art. As he says, “It must make you feel something. It can make you laugh or cry or surprise you or inform you, but you must want to watch it.”
Whether it’s the famous “1984” commercial introducing Apple’s Macintosh, or the crazy Energizer bunny still going and going, or Refreshing the World with Pepsi, or the celebration of sport in the adidas “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign, or the love you can feel for dogs in Pedigree’s “Dogs Rule” campaign, or asking “What’s G” for Gatorade, all of this is work people want to watch.
And perhaps there’s no better example of Lee’s impact in the industry than his 30-plus-year partnership with Steve Jobs. They created the now famous work for the rebirth of Apple in 1997. It used walls, pages and films that recognized those who “Think Different.” And, during the past decade, he helped orchestrate Apple’s move into music with iPod and iTunes through the celebrated “Silhouettes” campaign, into phones with the category-redefining iPhone and then creating the “campaign of the decade” — “Mac vs PC,” — before last year forging a whole new category with iPad.
Lee continues to find the business fun and challenging. He believes we are at the beginning of the most exciting time the “advertising” business has ever seen. While lots of people are talking about the challenge of the multimedia future, he believes it is the biggest opportunity for creative minds since the first Creative Revolution of the 1960s.
“Today everything can be considered media,” Lee says. “The Internet has changed the way people interact with brands. If you like a brand, you can seek it out. If you don’t like a brand, you can criticize it publicly. So everything a brand does must tell its story in a disruptive and artful way. Then people will decide whether they like your brand or will ignore it.”
Lee’s goal for TBWA is for the agency to become artists in all media, and create ideas that can orchestrate and define how brands behave in the world.
Lee joined Chiat\Day during its humble beginnings at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles, and since then the agency has grown to be one of the 10 largest global networks and is without dispute one of the most innovative and awarded agency networks in the world.
A member of the One Club Hall of Fame, the Art Directors Hall of Fame and the Museum of Modern Art’s Advertising Hall of Fame, Lee was also honored by the CLIO Awards with a Lifetime Achievement award.