George Lois, the advertising man behind iconic campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger and MTV, has a new big idea.
In partnership with TransMedia Group, Lois is launching a new New York-based advertising agency, which he will head up, called Lois TransMedia, Big Idea Advertising and Public Relations. The agency will be a full-service shop specializing in traditional and online advertising, marketing, PR, social media and film production.
Lois is no stranger to opening his own agencies. After working under William Bernbach at DDB for one year, he decided to leave, believing he could open his own agency—the second creative agency in the world at the time, Lois said—similar to DDB. Papert Koenig Lois opened its doors in 1960. Lois eventually left that shop to found Lois Holland Callaway Agency in 1967.
"I know how to start ad agencies," Lois told Adweek. "Starting an agency like this, at my age, I feel young. I really feel like I'm in my 20s."
The latest venture is another partnership with his son Luke—the two have previously worked together at Good Karma Creative—and Tom Madden from TransMedia Group.
There's no set game plan yet for clients or agency size, but Lois said he's a fan of keeping things small and focusing on the creative work. In terms of clients, Lois said he plans to sit back and wait for the calls to come in. "During my career I sat in my office, did great work and the phones would ring," he said. "If you produce great work … accounts will come to you."
Lois noted that by teaming up with one of the "best PR guys that I know of," paired with his past experience and work in the industry, he expects to spark some client interest. "I don't think you need a game plan. I think great shit happens if you're really good," he added.
Throughout his advertising career, Lois has worked on some of the most recognizable ad campaigns. Lois helped revive MTV with the "I Want My MTV' campaign and introduced Tommy Hilfiger to the world. His work spreads across brands including American Airlines, Xerox and Jiffy Lube. He also created some of the most famous Esquire covers (92 total), including the iconic cover featuring Muhammad Ali impaled with arrows and another picturing Andy Warhol drowning in a can of Campbell's soup.
The agency has yet to officially launch, but Lois noted he and his team are looking for an office space on the west side of Manhattan.