Magazine Cover Advertising Icon Dies At 91 – Billboard

Best-selling advertising man and designer George Lewis, who created some of the most daring magazine images of the 1960s and popularized catchphrases and brand names like “I want MTV” and “Lan’s Cuisine,” has died. He was 91 years old.



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Lewis’ son, photographer Luke Lewis, said he died “peacefully” Friday (November 18) at his home in Manhattan.

Nicknamed “The Golden Greek” and later (to his dismay) “The Original Madman,” George Lewis was among the wave of advertisers who launched the “Creative Revolution” that rocked Madison Avenue and the world in the late 1950s and 1960s. . Boastful and provocative, willing and able to take offense, he was adept at finding just the right image or words to capture a moment or create order.

for him Respected Magazine covers, from Muhammad Ali posing as the martyred Saint Sebastian to Andy Warhol drowning in Campbell’s sea of ​​tomato soup, defined the hyperactive spirit of the 1960s as much as Norman Rockwell’s quintessential drawings of Saturday evening after recalled an earlier era. As an ad man, he devised brilliant strategies for Xerox and Stouffer and helped a budding music video channel in the 1980s by suggesting ads featuring Mick Jagger And other rock stars demand, with a bit of a brusqueness, “I want my MTV!”

Lewis boiled it down to what he called the “big idea,” crystallizing the “unique benefits of a product and sticking it in people’s minds.” He has been inducted into several Advertising and Visual Arts Halls of Fame, and in 2008 he was inducted into Respected The work has been added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Martin Scorsese, Tina Brown and Graydon Carter were among his admirers.

His legacy was enormous, though actual dimensions are disputed. His claims of developing the ‘I want a maipoo’ breakfast ads in the 1960s and inspiring the creation of New York Journals have been widely contradicted. some ex Respected Colleagues alleged that he exaggerated his role at the expense of other contributors, such as Carl Fischer, who photographed many of the famous magazine’s covers. But his tremendous energy and confidence are well documented.

in her diary Basic blackex USA Today Publisher Cathy Black recalled bringing in Lewis in the early 1980s to suggest a new advertising approach for a publication that initially struggled with how to identify itself. It was Lewis’ idea to be a stalwart USA TodayDual appeal as a newspaper and a magazine, suggests the tagline, “Many people say USA Today Not a fish or a bird. They are right! Before publications gathered, including founder Al Neuharth, Lewis gave an Oscar-worthy performance, Black wrote, “jumping like a 6-foot-3 teenager on a Red Bull.”

“He threw his jacket to the floor, ripped his tie, and then one model advertisement after another flashed as he strode around the room and continued a monologue full of jokes and profanity. It was epic, almost scary. I was thrilled. When he finished, the room sat completely silent.” . All eyes turned to Neuharth, who sat “quite still, his expression hidden behind his dark aviator glasses.” Neuharth paused, took off his glasses, and smiled. He said, “We got it.”

Lewis’ longtime wife Rosemary Lewandowski-Lewis passed away in September. His son, Harry Joseph Lewis, died in 1978.

The son of Greek immigrants, Lewis was born in New York City in 1931 and has cited racism in his Irish neighborhood for seeking to “wake up, disturb and protest”. He liked to say that a successful advertiser absorbed as many influences as possible, and he prided himself on his knowledge of everything from sports to ballet. He was a forced drawer and for most of his life made weekly visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He attended Pratt Institute, soon met his future wife and eloped with her before either of them graduated. After serving in the military during the Korean War, he joined CBS’s advertising and promotion department and in 1960 helped found the advertising agency Paper Koenig Lewis. Two years later he was recruited by Respected Harold Hayes editor and remained until 1972, the same year Hayes left.

Respected It was a major venue for the so-called new journalism of the 1960s, nonfiction with a literary approach, and the magazine was publishing such famous pieces as Gay Talese’s Portrait of Frank Sinatra and Tom Wolfe “The last American hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!” But to read the words, you had to buy the magazine, and Lewis’ covers sparked countless conversations.

For a cover story on The New American Woman, it featured a nude model folded into a trash can. The cover of the infamous 1970 show Lt. Cdr smiling. William Calley, a soldier later found guilty of killing unarmed civilians in the My Lai massacre, had his arms around a pair of Vietnamese children, and two other children behind him.

In the mid-1970s, Lewis was among the public figures who led efforts to free boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter from prison. Carter’s murder conviction was later overturned, and he was released in 1985. Lewis has also written several books and appeared in the 2014 documentary about Respected titled Smiling through the apocalypse.

Interest in Lois was rekindled by the popularity of the AMC series mad menbut he was not satisfied with writing in his book Damn good advice wrote that the show was “nothing more than a television opera set in a glamorous office where elegant idiots fill their discretionary secretaries and stylists, suck martinis, and smoke themselves to death while producing a stupid, lifeless commercial”.

“Besides, when I was in my 30s, I looked better than Don Draper,” he added.

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