Here’s another great real-life MAD MEN story. This Don Draper is named George Lois. He was a Madison Avenue star in the late 50s, early 60s. He came up with the Volkswagen “Think Small” campaign in 1960 (for the nine of you who remember it). He also dreamed up with the name “Lean Cuisine”.
When MTV was launched in 1981 it had a tough time getting off the ground. A few cable outlets in smaller markets like Tulsa carried it but none of the big cities. And without LA, New York, Chicago, and maybe Pismo Beach they knew it would never succeed. They pitched MTV to all the major cable operators and no one was remotely interested.
Looking for assistance they turned to George Lois.
His idea was to take the MTV logo, add loud striking visuals, and end with a voice-over saying, “If you don’t get MTV where you live, pick up the phone, dial your local operator and say…”
(You know the rest.)
“I WANT MY MTV.”
And to jazz it up he suggested Mick Jagger do the tagline. Jagger did.
They bought some commercial time on national networks and lots of time on targeted cable outlets.
The response was otherworldly. Within six months “I Want My MTV” was on the cover of Time magazine. And MTV joined every cable outlet in the land.
So in many ways we have George Lois to thank for the music revolution that was MTV and Boy George.