George Lois

Creative Director, Good Karma Creative

The legendary George Lois is the most creative, prolific advertising communicator of our time. Running his own ad agencies, he is renowned for dozens of marketing miracles that triggered innovative and populist changes in American (and world) culture. In his twenties he was a pioneer of the landmark Creative Revolution in American Advertising. He introduced and popularized the Xerox culture; he created the concept and prototype design for the New York supplement for the Herald Tribune (the forerunner of New York magazine); made a failing MTV a huge success with his “I Want My MTV” campaign; helped create and introduce VH1; created a new marketing category, Gourmet Frozen Foods, with his name Lean Cuisine; and (by inventing yet another new marketing phenomenon) persuaded America to change their motor oil at thousands of Jiffy Lube stations. He made the totally unknown Tommy Hilfiger immediately famous with just one ad; and saved USA Today from extinction with his breakthrough “singing” TV campaign. In 1994, almost overnight, he changed the perception of ESPN from a “Demolition Derby” sports channel to the number one sports network with his dynamic “In Your Face” campaign. Additionally, he created the winning ad campaigns for four U.S. Senators: Jacob Javits (R-NY); Warren Magnuson (D-WA); Minority Leader Hugh Scott (R-PA); Robert Kennedy (D-NY). His list of breakthrough ad campaigns goes on and on. Additionally, the only music video he created, "Jokerman" by Bob Dylan, is still being called (by Kurt Loder) “the best music video ever created.”

George Lois is the only person in the world inducted into The Art Directors Hall of Fame, The One Club Creative Hall of Fame, with Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, The Herb Lubalin Award (Society of Publication Designers), CLIO, as well as a subject of the Master Series at the School of Visual Arts. In 2013, Lois was voted The Most Influential Art Director of the Past 50 Years by Graphic Design USA. Playboy recently called him “The greatest adman who ever lived.”

He is the author of George, be careful (Saturday Review Press, 1972), an autobiography; The Art of Advertising (Abrams, 1976), praised as “the bible of mass communications”; What’s the Big Idea? (Doubleday, 1991), used as a text book in college communications courses all over the world; Covering the ’60s (The Monacelli Press, 1996), presenting his iconic Esquire covers during that turbulent decade; $ellebrity (Phaidon, 2003), a brilliantly reviewed book dealing with his extraordinary campaigns using celebrities in fresh and outrageous ways; Ali Rap, The First Heavyweight Champion of Rap (Taschen/ESPN, 2006), a compilation of over 300 rap rhythms, witticisms, insults and wisecracks from Muhammad Ali, wittily and powerfully visualized; and Iconic America (Rizzoli/Universe, 2007), a roller coaster ride through the eye-popping panorama of American pop culture; George Lois on his Creation of The Big Idea (Assouline, 2008), a mind-boggling archeological dig revealing the influences on 100 of his Big Ideas. In 2008 the Museum of Modern Art installed 38 of his iconic Esquire covers in its permanent collection, celebrated by a year-long exhibit and book, George Lois: The Esquire Covers @ MoMA (Assouline 2010); Damn Good Advice (for people with talent) (Phaidon, 2012), published in seven languages, is a collection of 120 no-holds-barred, in-your-face lessons, explaining, demonstrating, and ultimately teaching how to unleash your potential in any creative-driven industry. His newest book, Lois Logos, The Creative Punch of Big Idea Branding (BIS Publications, 2015), was published in October, 2015.​​

Inductee, 2018 Advertising Hall of Fame

Last Updated: January 2018