WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA? by George Lois


How to Win With Outrageous Ideas (That Sell!)
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 Famous adman Lois (George, Be Careful, 1972, also coauthored with Pitts), currently head honcho of the Lois/GGK agency, hawks his wares with all the insistence of a rock star bawling, ``I want my MTV'' (a campaign for which he proudly takes the rap). It's Lois's thesis that great advertising requires one ``big idea.'' This is a book about advertising, all right, but don't look for much practical instruction--unless it's this: To be as successful as Lois has been, simply be a genius like Lois. Unstinting in his own praise, Lois proudly recounts each of his many campaigns as ``an extraordinary tour de force,'' a ``brilliant strategy,'' ``skillful,'' and so forth ad nauseam. It's enough to make Muhammad Ali blush. Read about how Lois saved cable TV, the airline industry, Xerox, the Greek tourist business, The New York Herald Tribune, and Dilly Beans. ``Hip'' and ``sassy,'' the ``crazy Greek'' (as he likes to characterize himself) claims it was he who sold a Nazi car (Volkswagen) to New York Jews and kept USA Today on the stands. And don't forget those wonderful Esquire covers. His way of asserting a proposition: ``If you don't agree it's possible, stop reading.'' There are a few anecdotes, but nothing without the headliner Lois. Strangely, he becomes almost engaging in his single-minded devotion to self. In his first few pages, Lois offers a ``distinct break-away from the David Ogilvy `school' of advertising.'' Indeed, he seems to have an attitude about ``the reigning magistrate,'' Ogilvy. It's interesting to note, then, that early in Ogilvy on Advertising (1983), the magistrate asks, in bold-face type (you guessed it): ``What's the big idea?'' An incredibly immodest, modestly credible promotion by a durable ``creative'' huckster, perhaps more revealing than intended.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1991
ISBN: 0-385-41486-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1991


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