George Lois was a charismatic, hard-selling advertising designer and man of great charm. He created some of the most striking magazine pictures of the 1960s, and helped popularize such catchphrases as “Brand Names” and other brand names. “I Want My MTV” “Lean Cuisine,”He has passed away. He was 91.
Lois’ son, the photographer Luke Lois, said he died “peacefully”Friday in Manhattan at his residence
Nicknamed “The” “Golden Greek”Later, much to his dismay. “Original Mad Man,”George Lois was one of the many advertisers that launched The “Creative Revolution” that jolted Madison Avenue and the world beyond in the late 1950s and ’60s. Provocative and boastful, he was also willing to offend.
His Esquire magazine covers, from Muhammad Ali posing as the martyr Saint Sebastian to Andy Warhol sinking in a sea of Campbell’s tomato soup, defined the hyper spirit of the ’60s as much as Norman Rockwell’s idealized drawings for the Saturday Evening Post summoned an earlier era. As an ad man, he devised breakthrough strategies for Xerox and Stouffer’s and helped an emerging music video channel in the 1980s by suggesting ads featuring Mick Jagger and other rock stars demanding, with mock-petulance, “I Want My MTV!”
Lois reduced it to the essence of what he called “the.” “Big Idea,” crystallizing “the unique virtues of a product and searing it into people’s minds.”His Esquire works were added to the Museum of Modern Art permanent collection in 2008. He was then inducted into several advertising and visual arts halls of glory. His admirers included Tina Brown, Graydon Carter and Martin Scorsese.
Although his legacy is vast, the exact dimensions of it are not. He claimed to have developed the 1960s. “I Want My Maypo”Many people have rebutted the claims that breakfast ads were responsible for New York’s founding. Some former Esquire colleagues would allege that he exaggerated his role at the expense of other contributors, such as Carl Fischer, who photographed many of the magazine’s famous covers. His confidence and overpowering energy were documented well.
Her memoir “Basic Black,”Cathie Black, a former USA Today publisher, recalled how Lois was brought in in the 1980s to suggest a new advertising strategy for a publication struggling to find its identity. Lois’ idea was to champion USA Today’s dual appeal as a newspaper and magazine, proposing the slogan, “A lot of people are saying USA Today is neither fish nor fowl. They’re right!” Before a gathering of the publication’s, including founder Al Neuharth, Lois gave an Oscar-worthy performance, Black wrote, “bounding in like a 6-foot-3 teenager hopped up on Red Bull.”
“He flung his jacket to the floor, tore off his tie, then flashed one prototype ad after another, prancing around the room and keeping up a running monologue sprinkled with jokes and profanity. It was epic, almost scary. I was thrilled. When he was finished, the room sat absolutely silent.”Neuharth, who sat on the sofa at Neuharth’s feet was all that caught everyone’s attention. “absolutely still, his expression hidden behind his dark aviator glasses.”Neuharth stopped, took off his glasses and smiled. “We’ve got it,”He stated.
Lois’ longtime wife, Rosemary Lewandowski Lois, died in September. Harry Joseph Lois was the son of Lois. He died in 1978.
Lois was the child of Greek immigrants and was born in New York City on 19th December 1931. Lois would credit the racism in his Irish neighborhood as his motivation. “to awaken, to disturb, to protest.”He loved to tell people that successful advertisers absorb as many influences and prided his self on being an expert in everything from dance to sport. A compulsive drawer, he spent much of his adult life visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a weekly basis.
After he enrolled at Pratt Institute, he met his future spouse and they eloped before both had graduated. He served in the Army in Korea War and joined CBS’ advertising and promotion team. In 1960, Papert Koenig Lois was founded. He was then recruited by Harold Hayes, Esquire’s editor. Hayes left in 1972.
Esquire was a prime venue for the so-called New Journalism of the 1960s, nonfiction stories with a literary approach, and the magazine would publish such celebrated pieces as Gay Talese’s portrait of Frank Sinatra and Tom Wolfe’s “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson. Yes!” But to read the words, you had to buy the magazine, and Lois’ covers launched countless conversations.
Cover story “The New American Woman,”He featured a naked model stuffed into a trash can. One famous 1970 cover featured Lt. William Calley smiling, who was later found guilty in the My Lai Massacre murders. He had his arms around two Vietnamese children.
Lois led the effort to liberate Rubin in the middle of the 1970s. “Hurricane”Carter in prison. Carter’s conviction for murder was later overturned, and he was released in 1985. Lois wrote many books, and was featured on the documentary Esquire (2014). “Smiling Through the Apocalypse.”
Lois became more popular thanks to the AMC series. “Mad Men,”He was however not humbled, and wrote about it in his book “Damn Good Advice”That was the end of the program. “nothing more than a soap opera set in a glamorous office where stylish fools hump their appreciative, coiffured secretaries, suck up martinis, and smoke themselves to death as they produce dumb, lifeless advertising.”
“Besides,”He added: “when I was in my 30s I was better looking than Don Draper.”
This article was contributed by the Associated Press
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