Barbara Lippert Critiques 'Art & Copy'


But among the seldom-interviewed folks, we get time with Phyllis K. Robinson, an original DDBer, who held the antique but important title of "copy chief." It's a delight to see her -- she radiates intelligence and grace, and hardly looks different today from the old photo to which she points and says, "That's me, in the year I smoked." In recalling the formation of the agency, where Bill Bernbach revolutionized the business by putting copywriters and art directors together, rather than having art come as an illustrative afterthought to the text, she says modestly: "We had no sense of how big and important a move this was."

That's in sharp contrast to the always-amusing George Lois, who gets a lot of face time, because with every impassioned word he utters, he jumps off the screen.
Mary Wells is here too, and reveals that her parents pushed her into the theater. Her knack for knowing "what turns people on" and her theatrical sense led her into advertising. "I've had a big life," she says. "I have the energy. I don't get tired, maybe because I'm not afraid. I think fear is a powerful depressant."

What's interesting for insiders is to see how stars of the contemporary ad scene appear far less excited than the old timers. "It's a business of rejection," Jeff Goodby says. "Things get killed all the time. . . . The process can take a year, and it's very stressful and depressing to have those ideas killed. So there has to be a nurturing environment, so that people can get themselves up off the floor and do it again." 
In the end, I actually learned a lot. Art & Copy provides the definitive inside stories on campaigns ranging from "Think small" to "Got milk?"

Think of it more as a smart survey course of the last 50 years of advertising, and as such should be screened by media students everywhere.