Lee Clow

That’s a picture I took of Lee Clow giving a talk yesterday to my Media Arts Lab chums.

He dropped so much knowledge he made KRS1 look like Flavor Flav

Here are three things you didn’t know about 1984:

1. It was based on a press ad an unsung copywriter wrote a year earlier. The headline was ‘Why 1984 won’t be like 1984‘. It didn’t sell, but when it came time to make a TV ad Steve Hayden remembered the press ad and used it as the strong inspiration for the greatest TV ad of all time.

Moral 1: there might well be some diamonds buried in your unsold work.

Moral 2: some ideas are ahead of their time.

2. When they first wrote the script it involved a woman watching the Big Brother character on a TV in a small room then smashing the TV with a normal hammer. They soon realised this wasn’t going to be big enough and rewrote it to be the size it is now famous for being.

Moral: go big or go home.

3. Then they showed the script to Ridley Scott and he suggested the downtrodden people should live in mud huts and come out of these huts into the scary room to obey Big Brother. Then they realised it was a bit too much like a concentration camp, so they didn’t go there.

Moral: don’t make ads that remind people of concentration camps.

Then we had lunch and chatted about the version of Think Different with Steve Jobs’s VO:

You probably know this already, but it was touch-and-go whether or not they were going to run this version or the one with the Richard Dreyfus VO:

At the 11th hour (not literally; it was actually 8am on the day the ad was due to air) Steve called the agency up and said they should go with the Dreyfus version so that the ad would be about Apple rather than Steve.

Lee also insists DDB prevented World War Three, but that’s another story.