Video Interviews

Rance Crain: Advertising Hall of Fame Interviews with Living Legends

Industry Leaders Share Their Stories, Insights

Published on .

Rance Crain, editor-in-chief of Advertising Age and president of Crain Communications, has interviewed Advertising Hall of Fame Inductees from the past seven years, capturing the insights and stories of these industry leaders. Now you can watch all the video interviews and learn why they succeeded, and where they see marketing going.

This series is now anthologized in an ebook, "Strategies and Insights from Advertising Hall of Fame Winners." Available on Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, B& and Kobo.

May 5, 2015 - VIDEO

Spike Lee on Clients, the Knicks and the Need for Change in Adland

Writer and Director Inducted into Advertising Hall of Fame

Spike Lee
Spike Lee

Let me set the stage: Spike Lee showed up for our interview dressed for the pages of GQ -- rainbow-colored shoes, a grey coat with bright tie and white shirt, leopard-spotted glasses and a beret. If his vibe sent a signal of accessibility, it would be strictly on his own terms, I soon found out.

My interview got off to a less than auspicious start. "That's not a current quote," he said when I asked him about his observation that advertisers have to slip in the message because consumers don't want ads to dictate to them.

His current thinking is "people seem to be conducive to branded content, long-form instead of the same old 30-second spots. And a lot of these branded pieces, you don't even know who the company is until the credit comes at the end. I've done several of these for Chevrolet and Cadillac."

But whether short-form or long-form, Spike -- who was just inducted into American Advertising Federation's Hall of Fame -- said too many advertisers convince themselves they can reach black consumers with general advertising because they don't know "the code."

June 9, 2014 - VIDEO

AmEx's Aldo Papone on How 'Thinking Real' Can Make Ads That Last

Alex Papone
Alex Papone

Advertising Hall of Fame Inductee Opens Up About His Career

"There is a predilection in corporate America for making simple issues complicated." Making things simple again, in business and in advertising -- that's the philosophy that guided Aldo Papone as he moved up the ranks at American Express.

May 5, 2014 – VIDEO

Ed Lewis on Growing Essence Magazine Empire From Those First 13 Ad Pages

Ed Lewis
Ed Lewis

Media Pioneer Says He Still Believes in Print

Essence's first issue, in 1970, had 13 ad pages. "Thirteen pages of ads is very minimal, as you can truly recognize. … But we just worked hard, told our story, crafted statements about the importance of the market and how it was going to grow and that it should be taken seriously. And over time, with additional financing and making the right decisions and having the right people, we were able to survive and to carry on this journey that's now 44 years old."

March 25, 2014 - VIDEO

R/GA's Bob Greenberg Puts Connectivity at Center of Marketing Ecosystem

Advertising Hall of Fame Inductee Says New Thinking about Data Is Not About Big Data but About Earned Data

The world as envisioned by Bob Greenberg is a connected world: the connected athlete for Nike; the connected community for Hudson Yards in New York; the connected car for Volvo; the connected individual for health. "All these things are going to be a really big passionate part of what I do," says the founder of agency/consultancy R/GA.

November 5, 2013 - VIDEO

Great Advertising 'Resonates in the Heart,' Says Hall-of-Famer Gerry Rubin

Gerry Rubin
Gerry Rubin

Rance Crain Sits Down With the Longtime Adman

Gerry Rubin and his partner, Larry Postaer, founded their agency in 1986 when they left Needham, Harper Worldwide following its merger with DDB. The problem was that Needham handled Honda, and DDB had Volkswagen. So Rubin & Postaer were given the opportunity to form their own agency with Honda as its main account.

October 9, 2013 - VIDEO

Bob Giraldi
Bob Giraldi

Giraldi's Advice to Marketers: Stay Away From Faux Emotion

Bob Giraldi, the world-famous director of more than 3,000 TV commercials, not to mention music videos and short films, is not a big fan of special effects. "We live in a world today inundated by effects. Special effects, post effects. You know, it's always been a faux business but it's more so now because so much of what we see and what young people lean and move toward is fake, is computer-generated."

September 17, 2013 - VIDEO

The Secret of Bob Scarpelli's Success: Keeping Humanity in the Mix

Bob Scarpelli
Bob Scarpelli

Former DDB Chairman Has Been Accused of Personifying the Values of Creativity, and Humanity, and He Pleads Guilty

Here's a simple formula for good advertising, courtesy of Bob Scarpelli, the former chairman and chief creative officer extraordinaire at DDB Worldwide: "A simple idea based on a simple insight into human nature brought to life in a simple, surprising way." The fundamentals have always been the same, "and the best work, the most successful work, have those qualities."

June 18, 2013 - VIDEO

Shelly Lazarus on Bundling, Brands And Her 'Random' Career

'If You Hate It, Tell Me,' the Recent Advertising Hall of Fame Inductee Says

Shelly Lazarus
Shelly Lazarus Credit: Sebastian Mlynarski

With her immaculately coiffed gray hair, matching gray skirt, blue jacket and white blouse, Shelly Lazarus presents herself as a very focused and resolute woman. So it was hard to fathom that the poised and elegant chairwoman emeritus of Ogilvy & Mather at one time didn't have an inkling of what she wanted to do with her life. But after chatting with me about how her early exposure to advertising was entirely serendipitous, Shelly came around to the view that her non-plan might, after all, have been the best plan.

May 7, 2013 - VIDEO

Nike's Phil Knight on How He Became a Believer in Advertising

And Why He Forgives Athletes

Phil Knight
Phil Knight

I was prepared for Phil Knight to be one cantankerous dude, hiding behind those fierce sunglasses you see in pictures of him. But when he arrived for our interview (sans sunglasses), the chairman emeritus of Nike was unguarded and unassuming, still bearing a resemblance to the runner he was more than a few years ago at the University of Oregon. The press clippings said he ran a 4:10 mile back then, but when I mentioned the time he said "close enough." I asked him what the actual time was and he said 4:13. "I like 4:10 better," I said. "Me, too," he said.

October 8, 2013 - ARTICLE

AAF Hall of Famers Grapple With Diversity in Ad, Media Industries

Insight From Advertising Hall of Fame Inductees: Jonathan Rodgers, Rick Boyko, David Kennedy,

When Johnathan Rodgers was a writer for Sports Illustrated, in the late 1960s, he wrote a piece titled "The Plight of the Black Athlete." David Kennedy is co-founder of Weiden & Kennedy, and although he's been retired since 1995, he still keeps busy at the agency, working pro bono on the American Indian College Fund. Another Hall of Fame inductee this year, Rick Boyko, doesn't see much progress anywhere in the advertising business, and believes to promote diversity, the advertising industry needs to focus on high schools.

May 7, 2012 - VIDEO

These Days, He's Carefree, But O. Burtch Drake Still Tells It Like It Is

O. Burtch Drake
O. Burtch Drake

O. Burtch Drake (the O stands for Owen, his father's given first name, although he went by Obie) has always been candid and forthcoming. He was president and CEO of the 4A's in 2007, when I called him for a comment about media commissions. He told me he'd "been waiting for years for some media owner to say it's ridiculous" for the media to continue to pay what amounts to fictitious commissions.

November 28, 2011 - ARTICLE

Ad Pioneer Eduardo Caballero on the Intricacies and Potential of the Hispanic Market

Advertising Hall-of-Famer Talks About the Past Struggles and Future Ahead

Advertisers, ignoring "the reality of this country," hoped at one time that the Hispanic market would disappear. "They had had some experience with the Jewish market, with the Italian market, and they thought it would happen the same with the Spanish market." That's the view of Eduardo Caballero, founder of Caballero Radio & Television, from his perch as operator of the nation's only unwired network of independent TV stations aimed at the Hispanic market.

October 10, 2011 - VIDEO

Jack Connors, on Pitching CEOs, Making Friends and Acting Like a Trapper

A Candid Chat With the Advertising Hall of Famer

Jack Connors
Jack Connors

Willie Sutton robbed banks because that 's where the money was. Jack Connors pitched CEOs because that 's where the decisions were made -- and CEOs lasted longer than CMOs and ad directors. That, in a nutshell, is Jack 's business strategy, and it helped him build Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopulos into the most successful agency in Boston and all of New England.

September 04, 2011 - VIDEO

David Abbott on What It Takes to Attract Talent

Advertising Hall of Famer Says It Isn't About Money; Agencies Must Pick Clients, Too

David Abbott
David Abbott

"Most of the talk in the advertising business is about clients picking agencies. I think it's just as important for agencies to pick clients." That's the view of David Abbott, the retired chairman and creative director of Abbott Mead Vickers in London."Every client we picked and agreed to work with -- it was not only that we wanted their money, but we wanted their company as well. We chose people we liked, for whom advertising seemed to be an important, upfront part of their business."

August 8, 2011 - VIDEO

Earl Graves on the Importance of Black-Owned Media

The Newest Member of the Advertising Hall of Fame on the 'Paucity of Publications' Reaching an Audience Hungry for Information

Earl Graves
Earl Graves

There are definite advantages to publishing a magazine aimed at a black audience. That's the opinion of Earl G. Graves Sr., the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise. "Because there's such a paucity of African-American magazines that are out there, I don't think we are going to have the diminution that some of our fellow publishers might have," Mr. Graves told me in a video interview. There's Ebony and Jet, Black Enterprises and Essence (no longer African-American-owned). And so there's a paucity of publications that are really first class that are reaching an audience more and more hungry for information."

July 11, 2011 - VIDEO

Jack Smith on Making Music and Growing People in the Industry

Advertising Hall of Fame (and 'King of the Jingle') Shares His Musical Memories

Jack Smith, King of the Jingle
Jack Smith, King of the Jingle

Jack Smith has been called King of the Jingle. He's composed music and written lyrics for Leo Burnett clients such as Hallmark, Nestle, 7Up, Schlitz, United Airlines and Heinz, in addition to McDonald's. Jack 's won 20 Clios and three Cannes Lions. He even won Ad Age's song of the year.

May 30, 2011 - VIDEO

Laurel Cutler on How to Win in a Future With No Mass Market

Advertising Hall of Fame Inductee and Futurist on why Marketers Need to Be 'Intensely Pleasing' the Few

Laurel Cutler
Laurel Cutler

Laurel Cutler got into the futurist business by way of marketing planning. She was working for the ad agency Leber Katz Partners (which later merged with Foote, Cone & Belding), and she was the first person to bring marketing planning to the U.S. "I didn't invent marketing planning. It was being done all over the U.K., and being done particularly well by JWT in the U.K. I stole it. I absolutely stole it. I said, 'Why aren't we doing that in the United States? It's a very good way to do advertising, and it would be new and revolutionary in the United States.'"

May 2, 2011 - VIDEO

Herb Kelleher on the Importance of Advertising to Southwest's Success

Airline Founder Explains Why the Customer Isn't Always Right

Herb Kelleher
Herb Kelleher

One of Herb Kelleher's basic tenets was that the customer wasn't always right. "You can't honor your own people," he said, if you allow them to be abused. His credo is that employees come first.

March 28, 2011 - ARTICLE

Bill Cosby Looks Back on His Life in Commercials

Entertainer to Receive AAF President's Award for Contributions to Advertising

Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby Credit: Marketwire

Bill Cosby got into TV commercials because he liked the punchline of a White Owl cigar spot. This was prior to his first series "I Spy," and Mr. Cosby thought the commercial would be an ideal way to get him more exposure and advance his career. He figured that repetition of the slogan -- "We're going to get you" -- would make him more top-of-mind, especially to the broader audiences he was seeking.

July 21, 2008 - VIDEO

Andrea Alstrup Talks Tylenol, Family Fare and the Ad Future

The Former J&J Marketer Says the Business Has a Bit of an Identity Crisis

Andrea Alstrup
Andrea Alstrup

"I don't think you can ever have a successful ad business without having really strong relationships and strong understanding of what your goals are. Do the research, have real, true partnerships. Nobody can do anything alone. I don't care if they tell you that they can. I believe it is impossible." Another ingredient is mutual respect. "You never hire an agency to work for you. You always want to work with an agency, and you want them to work with you."

June 2, 2008 - VIDEO

Reinhard on Culture Clashes, Big Brands and Creative Conservatism

The Newly Minted Hall of Famer Also Weighs in on the Obsession With Quick Results

Keith Reinhard
Keith Reinhard Credit: Rohanna Mertens

DDB Chairman Emeritus Keith Reinhard is one of the 100 most important figures in 20th century advertising. "The most insecure species of our race are the creative people," says the man who penned "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there" and "You deserve a break today" for McDonald's. That's why, the creative community has been slow -- "in some cases the slowest" -- to embrace new media. "Creative people, in this respect, are the most conservative people in the advertising business. And why are they? Because they're the most insecure, and they know very well how to go out and make a television commercial, but they don't know how to do the other thing, so it's a threat."

April 7, 2008 - VIDEO

Hall of Famer Rosenshine Talks Geeks, Brands and the Big Bang

The 'Lead Firecracker' That Sparked the Merger of Three Agencies Still Believes in Brand Building

Alan Rosenshine
Alan Rosenshine

In his acceptance remarks at the Advertising Hall of Fame induction, Allen Rosenshine delivered what he called his equivalent of President Eisenhower's parting shot to "beware of the military-industrial complex." Allen's admonition was: "Beware those who would have us believe that advertising has become irrelevant. It always was, and always will be, as relevant as we make it. The geeks will not destroy us. Only we can do that."

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