Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)

How to Unleash Your Creative Potential by America's Master Communicator

George Lois

Publisher: Phaidon Press, 2012, 244 pages

ISBN: 978-0-7148-6348-1

Keywords: Branding

Last modified: July 28, 2013, 12:18 a.m.

Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!) contains no-holds-barred, in-your-face advice and life lessons from George Lois, advertising Guru, the Original Mad Man, and acclaimed cultural provocateur, who has profoundly changed the marketing and cultural world we live in with his unique and inspirational creative thinking.

  1. There are only four types of person you can be. Identify yourself:
  2. "I yam what I yam, an dat's all I yam, I'm Popeye the Sailor Man."
  3. Follow your bliss
  4. My Anti-Slogan: "George, be careful!"
  5. When I was 14, I had an epiphany that inspired my lifer. Maybe it can be yours!
  6. All the tools in the world are meaningless without an essential idea.
  7. But creating ideas without a work ethic to follow through is inconceivable to me.
  8. Always go for The Big Idea
  9. All creativity should communicate in a nanosecond
  10. My first commandment: The word comes first, then the visual
  11. "I'm sorry I could not have written a shorter letter, but I didn't have the time."
  12. "Words can not express how articulate I feel."
  13. Don't expect a creative idea to pop out of your computer.
  14. A trend is always a trap.
  15. Creativity is not created, it is there for us to find — it is an act of discovery.
  16. Why just be a Creative Thinker — whan you can be a Cultural Provocateur!
  17. A Big Idea can change world culture.
  18. "There's a great solution, a Big Idea, buried in every assignment, whether for a new ad campaign, poster, brand name, letterhead, matchbook cover— even a number slapped on a building."
  19. You can be Cautious or you can be Creative (but there is no such thing as a Cautious Creative)
  20. But always remember, you're trying to sell something. So ask for the sale!
  21. "Advertising," I replied, "is Poison Gas!"
  22. You can never learn anything from a mistake!
  23. Never listen to music when you're trying to come up with a Big Idea
  24. Drive your Big Idea to the very edge of the cliff (but if you go to far, it's a fiery death).
  25. Reject Group Grope
  26. Reject Analysis Paralysis
  27. Teamwork might work in building an Amish barn, but it can't create a Big Idea.
  28. To get that first big break, you can't just brag that you're "great."
  29. Your portfolio should Ignite, Provoke, Shock, Kick Ass
  30. I didn't have to be Jewish to love this campaign. So do what I did — get a job at a place that creates work that thrills you.
  31. Work is worship
  32. Throughout your career, be thrilled that you're doing work that you love (and getting a paycheck for it!)
  33. Make your presence felt!
  34. Make one million dollars look like ten million dollars!
  35. If it's a rush job, don't say No… say NOW!
  36. Most people work at keeping their job, rather than doing a good job
  37. Even a brilliant ide won't sell itself
  38. The ultimate act of Scholarship and Theater is the art of selling
  39. Go head-to-head with a prospective client by hitting the nail on the head
  40. "Lois, you can't take yes for an answer!"
  41. Open wide and say "aaah!"
  42. To create great work, here's how you must spend your time: 1% Inspiration, 9% Perspiration, 90% Justification
  43. Tell the Devil's Advocate in the room to go to Hell
  44. When you're presenting a Big Idea, be prepared to answer dumb questions.
  45. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't (occassionally) kiss ass!
  46. If all else fails, threaten to commit suicide
  47. A creative thinker is capable of looking at a business venture and creating a Big Idea that infinitely surpasses the vision of the CEO
  48. When you know a client is dead wrong about a marketing opportunity, create a brand name that blows his mind!
  49. It helps when you have a sharp-eyed client
  50. Research is the enemy of creativity — unless it's your own "creative" research (heh-heh).
  51. When you present an entreprenurial idea, if it takes more than three sentences to explain it to the money guys, it's not a Big Idea!
  52. If you create truly great advertising, you can go far above and beyond the wildest expectations of your client!
  53. Never, ever, work for bad people
  54. Never eat shit. (If it looks like shit, and it smells like shit, and it tastes like shit… it is shit.)
  55. To keep the Big Boys honest, speak Truth to Power.
  56. Don't be a cry-baby!
  57. Don't always expect praise from your client
  58. If you think people are dumb, you'll spend a lifetime doing dumb work.
  59. "Too many notes, my dear Mozart, and too beautiful for our ears."
  60. Woody Allen was right: 80% of life is showing up!
  61. I've been accused of being paranoid. (You'd be paranoid too if everyone were out to get you.)
  62. Any great creative idea should stun momentarily — it should seem to be outrageous.
  63. Sometimes, what the hell, go all out and be totally outrageous.
  64. A truly great ad campaign is driven by a Big Idea that contains: 1. A memorable slogan! 2. A memorable visual!
  65. To constantly inspire breakthrough conceptual thinking, I go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, religiously, every Sunday
  66. "The things that you're liable To read in the Bible — It ain't necessarily so."
  67. Crave immortality!
  68. Picasso was right when he said, "Art is the lie that tells the truth."
  69. Maybe the best way to define your future is to reinvent it
  70. Most great slogans have the brand name in the slogan (even twice!).
  71. When the mayor of New York exceeded his reelection war chest, he begged me to help get the big boys to pay his campaign debts. I hadda be creative. I got it— I'll make Koch beg for it!
  72. Twenty lovely ladies carrying my $10 picket signs stopped the most poweerful politician in New York history.
  73. When the product is as staid and uninspiring as the competition, show your client how to go above and beyond.
  74. $ellebrity: Learn the art of using celebrities to sell a product
  75. What a difference a name makes!
  76. In an age when heroes are villainized and villains are lionized, a creative image can make an iconic statement.
  77. "The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships."
  78. I was never a fan of the David Ogilvy School of Advertising (but this ad as wan eye-opener).
  79. Most designers forget that their work must talk to human beings.
  80. All your ad campaigns must be built-in PR campaigns!
  81. If you're going to criticize something, don't hold back.
  82. Speak up, goddamit!
  83. Present your ideas without saying "y'know," "like," and ""umm" every other sentence.
  84. Sometimes the shocking way to solve a forbidding problem is to simple tell the truth.
  85. I was convinced the conviction of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, sentenced to 300 years in jail for allegedly killing three white people in a New Jersey bar, was an outrageous racial injustice. I had to do something to get him out of the slammer— I got it! I'm an adman, I'll run a tiny ad in The New York Times on page 2!
  86. Keep up the fight against racism, no matter what the cost
  87. "What if we can get Bob Dylan to write a protest song and then perform a concert at Madison Square Garden?!"
  88. Deflate a catastrophic review… with gentle (?) humor.
  89. The talented art director's responsibility is to produce:
  90. A creative person without a sense of humor has a serious problem
  91. "When you got it — flaunt it!"
  92. Why I resent being called the "Original Mad Man" (and why, if you "get it," you have a shot at following in my footsteps).
  93. If you act like one of those lecherous TV Mad Men in your office, you'll wind up getting screwed.
  94. The only thing that gets better when it gets bigger is a penis
  95. Energy begets energy
  96. Three of the cowboy spokesmen in Marlboro Country ads rode off into the sunset and died of lung cancer. Case closed.
  97. When you meet your mate, don't let her (him) get away. (Your creative juices will flow forever.)
  98. A single day without work panics me. How about you?
  99. Don't sleep your life away.
  100. I would feel unarmed attacking a day of creative thinking if I hadn't read The New York Times early that morning.
  101. If you're a man, and you still think a woman can't compete with you, she's about to blindside you, pal.
  102. If you're reading this and you're approaching 50 years of age, remember that oak trees do not produce acorns until they are 50 years old.
  103. Never act cocky. (But you better be cocksure!)
  104. Learn to write one singular, coherent, informative, insightful, spectacular sentence to replace your illiterate, off-the-cuff twittering!
  105. Or better yet, stop tweeting your life away and do something productive: Learn to draw!
  106. You cannot teach a crab to walk straight
  107. Don't get mad, get even (?!)
  108. "Then why the fuck didn't you make it that way in the first place!"
  109. If you don't work loosey-goosey, you're a dead duck.
  110. Work comfortably (as you can see) in a formal setting.
  111. Make your surroundings a metaphor for who you are.
  112. We all need heroes. Mine is Paul Rand, an iconclast who made it big in a constipated business world.
  113. Extoll your Mentors
  114. Creating advertising that is icon rather than con depends on the deep belief that your message is more than the purchase of a product or service.
  115. Is what we do Art?
  116. You're at your happiest when you're creating
  117. You'll never be the creative person you aspire to be if you don't know where it all came from.
  118. "If you do it right, it will live forever."
  119. "A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little couraged."
  120. You are the master of your fate: you are the captain of your soul.

Reviews

Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Excrement * (1 out of 10)

Last modified: July 28, 2013, 12:18 a.m.

This is so bad, and egomaniac, that even I am stunned!

Just a bloody waste of space in my library, as it doesn't contain anything except pure bullshitting about how great the author is. And after reading this diarrhea, I must concur that he doesn't know anything about branding…

Burn, baby, burn!

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