George Lois on emojis, Cannes and the advertising industry today

We had a chance to sit down with legendary art director George Lois, who is known for not mincing words. He is, in fact, a wizard with them. Images, too. Lois was the creative mind behind the “I want my MTV” campaign, which helped turn the fledgling cable channel into a cultural sensation. He’s also famous for creating more than 90 Esquire magazine covers that satirized pop culture and politics — like the cover of Richard Nixon getting make-up applied, a dig referencing his first debate against John F. Kennedy. Lois’ other Esquire covers astutely (and often controversially) observed contemporary society. In one, a woman shaving her face with a razor with the tag line “The Masculinization of the American woman.”

With such a storied career, we jumped at the opportunity to ask Lois about the latest cultural obsession: emojis.  The 84-year-old had strong opinions, “I hate them. I hate everything about them.”

He didn’t have many kind words for the current state of the advertising industry, either. “Ninety-nine percent of advertising today is zero. It’s terrible, terrible advertising that literally doesn’t brand who they are.”

He even suggested that people should turn their backs on the biggest event in the advertising world: Cannes Lions.

But in true grumpy old man fashion, Lois saved his harshest words for presidential candidate Donald Trump, who used to be one of his clients. It didn’t end well, to put it mildly.

https://digiday.com/?p=151789

More in Marketing

Why — and how — ESL/FACEIT Group is spinning up its own esports streaming platform

Esports companies are still trying to figure out how to make competitive gaming profitable, and it’s encouraging news for a major league operator to dip its toes into the livestreaming game in order to more effectively monetize its core product. But EFG’s announcement also raises questions about the technology powering the venture. 

Person gaming

Candy giant Butterfinger doubles down on gaming with streamers and creators to reach younger audiences

Candy brand Butterfinger is making a bigger bet on gaming, increasing its media spend this year on gaming creators and streamers to boost brand awareness with younger shoppers.

Amazon wants a bigger slice of the DSP ad tech market

Over the last year or so, ad execs have noted how much Amazon’s ad tech has changed to become omnichannel in nature — i.e. more of a competitor to the two largest DSPs: The Trade Desk and Google’s DV360.