It’s less than a week before the Patriots battle the Giants in a Super Bowl rematch that nearly broke Vegas last time. You may recall the Giants won after entering the big game in 2007 as 12.5-point underdogs. Twenty-six years from now it’s possible you may better remember a commercial than who will win this given Sunday.
Go back 26 years to 1984. Remember who won the Super Bowl? Chances are fewer people will. But most everyone will remember one 60-second commercial that aired just one time on that same Sunday.
Lee Clow, advertising legend, talks about the commercial which set the bar higher for every major TV event that was to follow. Now advertisers unveil their best work during the World Cup, The Oscars, season finales, and especially the Super Bowl.
The day Steve Jobs died everybody had myriad reactions. Users all over the internet, many on iPhones and Macs, shared his brilliant Stanford Commencement speech, others held candlelight vigils throughout the world. As a Creative Director on the Apple account, Lee worked directly with Steve.
Unlike most agency-client dynamics, there was no a chain of subordinates to sell work through. It was Clow and Jobs in a room with the creative team. It was an usually great relationship that was evidenced in an agency-wide email Lee sent out the day Steve died stating how he was the best client they ever had. The synergy and trust between Apple and TBWAChiatDay — Los Angeles helped each other change the freakin’ world. The World of Advertising, the Computer World, even the World of Sports.
The spot claimed, in a clever turn of phrase that 1984 will be unlike ’1984′ because of the Mac.
Clow’s ability to tell a story has brought him and others tremendous success in an industry replete with glorified raconteurs. What Lee Clow did for brands like Nike, Nissan, Taco Bell and Olympia beer are monumental contributions to the economy and pop culture.
When great people are brought together by a single project, the results are not always as awesome. The gestalt of Ridley Scott and these two visionary industry giants rival the greatest musical super group or a baseball team filled with All-Stars.
Here it is, an inside scoop from one of the best ever wearing a sweat shirt (and probably shorts with flip-flops) talking about ‘Steve,’ the same guy who lead the most successful company in American history.
“Steve didn’t want to come to pre-pro meetings or be involved in casting. He just said go ‘Make it great.’” Every agency should be as fortunate. If only every agency had a Clow.
By the way, the winner of the 1984 Super Bowl—the Oakland Raiders.
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