ART & COPY is a powerful new film about advertising and inspiration. Directed by Doug Pray (SURFWISE, SCRATCH, HYPE!), it reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time — people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry. Exploding forth from advertising’s “creative revolution” of the 1960s, these artists and writers all brought a surprisingly rebellious spirit to their work in a business more often associated with mediocrity or manipulation: George Lois, Mary Wells, Dan Wieden, Lee Clow, Hal Riney and others featured in ART & COPY were responsible for “Just Do It,” “I Love NY,” “Where’s the Beef?,” “Got Milk,” “Think Different,” and brilliant campaigns for everything from cars to presidents. They managed to grab the attention of millions and truly move them. Visually interwoven with their stories, TV satellites are launched, billboards are erected, and the social and cultural impact of their ads are brought to light in this dynamic exploration of art, commerce, and human emotion.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about advertising. On the one hand, it’s highly creative and often the master medium for creating change, inspiring, influencing and commenting on popular culture. On the other hand, it’s an industry that can be a slave to corporate agendas, has spurred a culture of over-consumption (buy your way to a perceived happiness) through constant bombardment in our daily lives, and is often, just bad.
I’m excited to see Art & Copy. It’s evident from his director’s statement that Doug Pray has found some distinct connections to the best advertising as subversive, creative, poignant and socially relevant. I missed the San Francisco screening back in April, but see it’s showing in LA in Sept. If you’re in NYC, you can catch it this week through Aug 27 (see screenings).