Advertising legend Lee Clow on Steve Jobs and brainstorming Apple

By , Jun 7, 2013

Lee Clow (headshot 001)

Lee Clow, the Chairman and Global Director of one of the world’s leading ad agencies, TBWA\Worldwide (and also its former Chief Creative Officer) is something of a living legend in advertising circles.

Advertising Age likened him to “advertising’s art director guru” and he was a personal friend of Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs. This is the guy who co-created Apple’s ‘Think Different’ slogan, the iPod silhouettes ad series and the company’s famous ‘1984’ ad.

The ‘1984‘, as you know, is now widely regarded as one of the most memorable and successful American television commercials of all time.

In this video captured at the PTTOW! summit, Clow talks the challenges of branding Apple and reveals interesting tidbits about his productive 30-year relationship with Steve Jobs…

PTTOW!, an invite-only summit, brings together cultural icons and leaders of the world’s top brands who convene together to showcase the future of advertising.

The video was discovered by Business Insider and runs nine minutes and 51 seconds long.

According to the ad man, Jobs was influenced a lot by Sony’s branding strategy.

The urban legend has it that Jobs, who once worked in an orchard, even in his twenties had dreamed about toppling the Japanese consumer electronics giant and having Apple become a household name akin to Sony.

TBWA/Media Arts Lab – often referred to as the ‘Apple ad factory’ – collaborates with Apple on ad campaigns in much the same secretive way Cupertino engineers its gadgets.

According to a Gizmodo profile, select few execs from the two firms hold meetings in a building completely separate from the main TBWA/Chiat/Day headquarters. The facility, called Media Arts Lab, is solely dedicated to brainstorming Apple ideas and even regular Chiat employees aren’t allowed in.

Not many have seen the inside of the shop, but considering the other, main building is decked out with an old Nissan (they’re a client) on the floor, a meeting room table made of surf boards, a bastketball court in the middle of a sea of cubicles, and a freeway billboard over the lunchroom.

The creative staff that works on the project has never been connected to any leaked info, and access to the building is probably manned by a guard, 24/7. I do know for a fact that a fingerprint swipe is required for entry.

TBWA’s most recent Apple work includes the inaugural iPad mini ad, seen above.

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  • Om

    We miss you, Steve!

  • RyanB

    That iPad mini ad is genius. Simple. Steve would be proud.

  • MDM

    R.I.P Steve Jobs ! :'(