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Art & Copy at the Art & College

I've been looking forward to this movie for a while and finally got to see it last night at the NUU Art College in Belfast. The theatre in the College is a nice modern facility, but unfortunately they were attempting to show the movie DVD from a laptop. As a result we had a few crash-induced intervals throughout the screening, although to be fair there these problems did appear to be with the supplied disc itself. 

Technical issues apart though I really enjoyed the movie and, although there were many truly larger than life Ad legends interviewed, the movie's measured delivery made a good job of setting the context of those personalities against the environments that created and inspired them. In fact it reminded me of the Helvetica movie - which was excellent.

The creative luminaries interviewed in the movie are a who's who of Advertising legends: George Lois, Mary Wells, Hal Riney, Lee Clow, Dan Wieden and David Kennedy - to name but few.

George Lois was definitely one of the most entertaining, not so much 'in your face' as through your face and out the back of your head!

It was terrific to see that the passion and drive of these creative tribe 'elders' remains undiminished, despite their long years of service in the most high stakes and high-pressure of Advertising Agencies. The creatives interviewed in this movie are the real deal 'Mad Men' and 'Mad Women' responsible for some of the best and most memorable campaigns ever seen. It is entirely believable that they're said to have influenced 20th Century thinking and popular culture more than any president, government or movement has.

Amongst the many highlights of this movie were the shocking origin of the famous Nike 'Just Do It' strapline, the almost dumped classic 'Got Milk' slogan (a familiar theme in Advertising war stories, 'Vorsprung durch Technik' was almost dropped by Audi too) and the creation of the amazing Apple '1984' Superbowl ad.

I particularly loved one of the quotes from Mary Wells when credited with 'inventing' an astonishing new look for one of her high-profile clients (I think it was the Braniff Airlines campaign) her reply was that she did not invent it, rather she discovered it and showed it to the client. Mary's summary of what makes a great Advertising talent is that they're 'born with a gift for sensing what will turn you on.' Art & Copy certainly bears that out.

If you're involved in the creative business in any way I'd recommend seeing Art & Copy, in fact there's so much great work and inspiration in it that it's worth picking it up on DVD copy for occasional future reference.

Also: they had me at 'Art'.