NY1 Movie Review: "Art & Copy"
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If you like the way the TV show "Mad Men" takes a peek at the world of advertising in the early 1960s, a new documentary called "Art & Copy" looks at the real deal.
The documentary zeros in on memorable ad campaigns over the last five decades and the people who created them. Through numerous interviews, key creative people who hatched the campaigns tell in their own words what they think of the medium and how their ideas came about.
Filmmaker Doug Pray starts out with an interesting history lesson. Many decades ago, ad man Bill Bernbach had the innovative concept to put the art director and copywriter at an advertising agency together in the same room to create ads. Prior to this, they worked independently of each other.
This simple idea revolutionized the business. Prior to the 1960s, ads were generally flat and boring, but now they were mini-works of art. They were funny, made audiences sit up and take notice and evoked emotion. But the bottom line is they accomplished what they set out to do: sell a ton of product.
Numerous famous campaigns are looked at, from Tommy Hilfiger and "Got Milk?" to "I Love N.Y."
There's several amusing anecdotes along the way, but there's also a lot of hard knock stories about how the clients had to be sold on these brilliant ideas, and often had to be dragged kicking and screaming. The plug was almost pulled on many familiar favorites at the last minute.
The interviews provide insight into how the creative process of advertising works and how many concepts never see the light of day because of the lengthy approval process involved.
The filmmaker gets a bit too artsy at times, especially with cutaways including empty fields and rocket ships. But when Pray sticks to the subject at hand and lets the protagonists tell their story, the movie comes alive.
The joy that these creative types experience when their work is successful and the seriousness with which they approach their craft comes shining through. Along the way, viewers get caught up in their exuberance.
"Art & Copy" opens in theaters this week.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: 3 Apples