“Art & Copy” Review

I was hesitant. I didn’t think the documentary “Art & Copy” would be my thing, but I was proven wrong. I was captivated for an hour and a half by the opinions and stories of some of the greatest people in advertising.

The film reminded me of the amazing size of advertising. By size, I don’t mean sheer numbers in dollars spent, but just how much of an impact it has on the world. One of the first parts of the film that caught my interest was when a billboard poster was interviewed. The success of the advertising industry affects more than just the agencies and clients, but also people who produce the ads, put the ads out and even people who work with satellites since advertising has such an impact on TV.

Advertising also has a huge impact on consumers’ daily lives. It’s about sharing a message and connecting with people in a way that influences perceptions, opinions and beliefs. It can change the way people think and act. For example, brands are abstract and intangible, but can have such a strong emotional connection that people want to assign that brand to their own identity. Another example of strong advertising is with Nike. The short phrase “Just Do It” motivated people beyond athletics, but to quit holding back or procrastinating in their daily lives. The power of advertising is exactly why I got into the industry, but such powerful advertising does not come easy. “Art & Copy” made it clear that advertising is a difficult industry. The people in advertising have to be resilient and fearless. As Jeff Goodby said, “you have be able to talk to people that are not like you, and convince them to do things that are not like them.” That’s no small feat, and not a lot of people do it right. One of the hardest parts is that you don’t know where your ideas are going to come from, and you can never really know the results that your ideas will have.

Art & Copy gave me a few more perspectives that I found interesting. One of my favorite quotes from the film was when Rich Silverstein said “We’re trying to entertain society using clients’ products.” There is a lot of clutter out there, but the good advertising is the kind that people want to see. A few decades ago, advertising was entertainment, and people enjoyed it. Today, most consumers believe advertising is a nascence. If we entertain people and sell to them in a way they enjoy, they’ll pay closer attention.

Also, advertising is an art form. Since advertising can be a work of art, I was surprised to hear that art directors and copywriters did not always interact. As a result of integration, some amazing campaigns (like the VW Beetle campaign) emerged. I know that integration across departments of ad agencies is a hot topic today. The integration of art directors and copywriters gave birth to some amazing advertising, so the thought of making advertising a more collaborative effort excites me about future advertising.

Finally, my favorite theme of the movie is that Advertising is about truth. It’s about finding the truth in whatever you’re trying to sell, like the woman who “created the me generation” really just identified it, or the “got milk” campaign found truth in the fact that people don’t want to be without milk. It’s about finding the insight that connect with people, and that’s a challenge I’m looking forward to meeting.

Overall, “Art & Copy” is a good documentary with good themes and perspectives. It’s perfect for anyone in the industry. Watch it.


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