One of advertisingâ€™s all-time greats, Mary Wells Lawrence, shows us the American ad world from the 1950s through the 1980s in all its brilliance, excitement, fun and craziness.She captures the thrill of being a young copywriter in the 1960s at Doyle Dane Bernbach, working for the dazzling, revolutionary Bill Bernbach (â€śThere was something volcanic [about him] . . . a little like being in the company of Mao or Che or the young Fidelâ€ť); how he took on a car rental firm that barely existed, announced to the world it was Number Two and therefore it tried harderâ€”and overnight made the unknown Avis second only to the mighty Hertz; how Bernbachâ€™s â€śThink Smallâ€ť campaign made big carâ€“obsessed America fall in love with the unlikely Volkswagen; how his Polaroid ads explained the mysterious instant camera to the public without saying a word.She writes about leaving Doyle Dane Bernbach (for seven years her Heaven on earth) for a new ad company, and how she made it her own, producing the simple and unforgettable â€śPlop Plop Fizz Fizzâ€ť Alka-Seltzer commercial by getting rid of the cartoon tablet, Speedy, and creating a frothy, luminous commercial composed of nothing but two Alka-Seltzers dropping into a crystal glass of water; how she gave Braniff Airways brilliant visibility by painting its airplanes fresh, vivid colorsâ€”and then fell in love with and married the head of the company.She writes about her campaign for the French tourist bureau and how she used a single imageâ€”a country man on a bicycleâ€”that today is still the symbol of Franceâ€™s rural life . . . how she traveled the world for Betty Crockerâ€™s casserole dishes, how she brought theatricality and fantasy to TV advertising.She tells how she started Wells Rich Greene and ran it like a movie studio. She writes about the clients and the campaigns . . . how she created a new line of cosmeticsâ€”Loveâ€”for a conservative drug company (it became one of the most successful cosmetics launches in history) . . . how she helped save American Motors from bankruptcy, redesigned its cars and put together an ad campaign that did the unthinkableâ€”compared its unknown Javelin with Fordâ€™s beloved Mustang . . . how Midas was â€śMidasizedâ€ť. . . how, when thousands of Ford dealers had gone out of business, the Ford ads focused not on Fordâ€™s cars but on the dedication of its workers, with the slogan â€śQuality is Job Oneâ€ť; how she made New York the place to be when it was seen as a sinking ship, with the slogan â€śI Love New York.â€ťShe writes about taking Wells Rich Greene public and how she became the first woman CEO of a company on the New York Stock Exchange . . . how she made a movie with the last of the Hollywood moguls, Jack Warner. She tells how she transformed a dilapidated, once-famous villa, La Fiorentina, at Cap Ferrat (a Nazi stronghold during the war) into a Mediterranean Eden, and writes about her battle with cancer. She talks about her refusal to globalize Wells Rich Greene and her decision, finally, to sell the company sheâ€™d built into the fastest-growing ad agency in history, and what happened to it afterward.Here is the extraordinary story of how Mary Wells Lawrence lived her life in advertisingâ€”helped shape her profession, was shaped by it and left her mark on it.
Biographies & Memoirs, General,