Grey Celebrates Beat Generation

LOS ANGELES WPP Group’s Grey has launched its first campaign for the Beat Museum, which recently relocated to the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco.

The integrated campaign includes bus shelter (with life-size photos of Beat heroes), poster and print ads as well as Web site development of

Among the sepia-toned posters are tributes to Beat author Jack Kerouac and his model for On the Road, Neal Cassady (“When your biggest inspiration is a car thief, you don’t set out to write a children’s book”), as well as placards about censorship. Concerning William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, for example, the headline reads: “In 1966, Boston courts learned their f—ing ruling was no match for a f—-ing book.”

One of the creative themes in the art direction of the copy shows over-strikes “correcting” words in the Kerouac manuscript ridiculed by Truman Capote as being “not writing” but “typing.”

Creative director Brian Clevenger, associate creative director Chaco Daniel and senior art director Juan Contreras all contributed to the campaign.

Jerry Cimino, who founded the museum in Monterey, Calif., in 2003, said, “It’s important that people know that these folks didn’t just influence literature, they influenced an entire generation. While most Americans were living in fear, these individuals encouraged us all to think differently.”

The F-word execution was rejected by San Francisco’s transit authority as inappropriate for a bus shelter, Cimino said, but art was deemed OK for collectible posters and adult-only locales.

Cimino, who had been influenced by Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his youth (only to work for IBM and American Express as an adult) said he’d been approached by Grey about marketing the museum. “We are a small, grass-roots organization that hadn’t really been advertising,” Cimino said. “When we moved the museum to San Francisco, I knew that people loved the concept. People were coming out of the woodwork to support it and folks who’d actually lived it were welcoming us.”