Posted by paulrivas on:
Art & Copy
2008, 89 min., Doug Pray
International Distribution coming soon
After watching the first season of Mad Men, the Santa Barbara Man About Goleta went out and did two things. One was to buy some cufflinks and a shirt with which to wear them. The other was to resolve to see the documentary film Art & Copy at the Fest. This was the movie I most wanted to see, and I rate it higher than any of the other four reviewed herein.
In director Doug Pray's estimation, at least 95% of all ads are bad. Yet as long as we continue to receive our daily shot of 5000 advertising messages, and the global advertising industry will be worth $544 billion in a couple years, the ad men and women who are "making statements from deep within the system" deserve to be documented. These folks are subversives, Pray explained after the film, the last surviving members of the creative revolution in the advertising world of the 1960s, when art directors were first put in the same room as copy writers.
"These guys see themselves as growing flowers in hell," Pray said, a sentiment echoed in the film by the long-hair who came up with the phrase "got milk?": "Our motto here is ‘Art Serving Capitalism.'"
The ad wizards profiled are revered within their world but entirely unknown to the general public. They discuss their gift for knowing what will make us buy things we don't need, their frustration at having to drag stubborn clients into being rich, and the rush comes with knowing a million people just got an anticipated consumption high off a commercial they created.
A fourth-generation billboard worker in the film explains that no member of his family working in the billboard business has ever had to file for unemployment. Billboard work has been steady since the 1930s! Today, four-man crews routinely change billboards in 12 minutes.
When an audience member asked why Pray didn't discuss the lack of ethics involved in so much advertising, the director explained that such a film already exists, called The Ad and the Ego, and that maybe that was the film the audience member had wanted to see. Another audience question came from a guy wearing a t-shirt printed with the words, "Rock concert I attended."
If you ever wondered how Nike came up with, "Just Do It," the slogan that the film tells us inspired women to divorce their husbands, the answer is simple: on the brink of his execution, a man on death row in Utah said, "Let's do it," this was reported in the newspaper, and a Nike man saw it and changed it to the catch phrase that helped Michael Jordan make Nike $5.2 billion.
Art & Copy is full of such insider insight that no American can afford to miss. If you didn't see the film at the festival, keep an eye out for its impending national distribution.
By the way, if you're a jogger, know that jogging was imported from Australia by Nike's Bill Bowerman in the 1960s. Gotcha!