Wednesday, November 30, 2022

16050: Agency Leverages Its Native American Heritage To Enhance Culture.

 

Oh look! Advertising Age managed to squeeze in a relevant and authentic cultural perspective before the end of National Native American Heritage Month. Kudos to Redline Media Group Founder and President S. R. Tommie for penning the piece. Of course, Ad Age illustrated the content with royalty-free stock photography.

 

How This Agency’s Native American Heritage Helps Create An Engaging Workspace

 

4 ways to empower teams with a sense of tradition, community and culture

 

By S. R. Tommie

 

As employees continue to return to the office post-pandemic, readjusting to the “traditional” working environment has proven to be an ongoing challenge. As many of us adapt back to the typical work structure, the office environment itself has had to make modifications to accommodate this change in mindset.

 

The average full-time employee works approximately 40 hours per week, totaling more than 100,000 hours in their lifetime. Because we spend most of our time at work, the office environment has a direct impact on our quality of life. Maintaining a healthy and safe workspace promotes good mental health and efficient workflows, but you’ll also find that including fun activations and creative workspace elements stimulate a deeper commitment and dedication toward projects that are above and beyond expectations.

 

As a Native American-owned agency, we’ve found that leaning into tradition, both our cultural and company heritage, has helped foster an environment that is empowering, inspirational and efficient. In observance of Native American Heritage Month, we share our strategies here:

 

Create designated areas for brainstorming

 

Native American culture has historically relied on storytelling as the principal means of passing down vivid narratives that document tribal histories, rituals, customs and legends. In the modern-day office setting, brainstorming and collaborating is a way of calling back to the creativity found in Native American storytelling. By creating spaces for team members to gather, they’re able to easily collaborate and bounce ideas off one another in a way that can’t be replicated through email communication. Establishing “Think Tanks” equipped with whiteboards for jotting down notes and snacks to fuel ideation is a great way to inspire creativity in the workplace. These designated areas give our creatives room to breathe and the opportunity for their stories to come to life.

 

Teamwork makes the dream work

 

The traditional Native American ideal of the shared strength of community can serve as an invaluable foundation for creating a strong, cohesive team. Hosting annual events to honor holidays and celebrate milestones help to establish traditions within your organization and provide a healthy way for team members to get to know their peers outside of work projects. Small gatherings can be as simple as singing “Happy Birthday” to celebrate a team member or creating special moments during holidays with shared meals and decorations. This furthers a sense of community and culture, helping to increase communication and encourage collaboration as team members continue to get to know one another and recognize each other’s strengths. As they continue to work together, they’re also able to learn from each other, connect and grow.

 

Create projects for team members to collaborate

 

As a matriarchal society, Seminole Tribal Citizens inherit an additional layer of kinship from their mother, referred to as their clan. Each clan is symbolic of elements in nature, and imbued with inherent obligations to family, earth and tribe, while possessing clearly delineated strengths and attributes from their namesake. These characteristics collectively contribute to the well-being of the tribe, family unit and surrounding communities.

 

As team members create healthy working relationships, they are exhibiting similar characteristics to Native clans, as they too are working toward ensuring the well-being of their colleagues and the work they produce in a collaborative way. While not every project needs group cooperation, some will require several great minds to work together. When collaborating, team members add elements from each of their suggestions and are able to elevate the project to further heights than if it were worked on by an individual alone.

 

Encourage ideas from anyone, anytime, about anything

 

There are eight Seminole Tribe of Florida Clans—Panther, Bear, Deer, Wind, Bigtown, Bird, Snake and Otter. The various attributes of these clans are a unique reflection of the Seminole Tribe’s tradition of diversity. A variety of perspectives can be the key to unlocking creativity. Good suggestions can come from anywhere.

 

Each team member has a distinct and different background, contributing from their own unique vantage point. Problem-solving for global markets requires global perspective and that perspective is fostered by diversity. While each team member may have their own specialty and job focus, having fresh takes for a campaign revamp or project suggestions provides the ability to see things from different angles.

 

Redline Media Group is a company founded upon and rooted in the traditional Native American ideals of character, shared strength of community, continuous improvement, appreciation for what one has and a dedication to supporting those in need. Collectively, we share the belief that our daily actions can have a significant effect on the world, and that it is our duty to improve it for ourselves and for generations to come.

 

“Love what you do, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” takes on a new meaning when you consider many of us will spend more than 100,000 hours in the workplace. Recognizing and implementing traditions both old and new in the workplace can provide your team with a sense of community and culture, creating ongoing opportunities for them to feel empowered and inspired.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

16049: GSD&M DE&I BS.

 

Advertising Age reported on a new study by Omnicom-owned GSD&M that shows diverse-owned vendors are pissed to be dissed by White advertising agencies like GSD&M and the overwhelming majority of Omnicom properties—as well as all White shops across the globe. The complaints include limited opportunities to create relationships with agencies and rigorous/rigged RFP processes.

 

Why did GSD&M need a study to uncover such painfully obvious common knowledge? Again, the Austin-based shop might be a typical perpetrator preventing diverse-owned vendors from succeeding. And Omnicom has historically engaged in Corporate Cultural Collusion to avoid fair and equitable pitching. There are also consistent accusations that many White advertising agencies routinely steer diversity-vendor dollars to White-woman-owned enterprises, awarding assignments to friendly and familiar females.

 

In brief, diverse-owned vendors face a diversity of deceptive and devilish designs from Adland. No one needs the no-duh details from those wonderful folks who gave you Annie The Chicken Queen.

 

Diverse-Owned Vendors Frustrated By Lack Of Agency Relationships, Survey Finds

 

According to a new study by Omnicom's GSD&M, 46% of respondents report their company does not have enough relationships with agencies

 

By Aleda Stam

 

Diverse-owned vendors are frustrated by their lack of relationships with ad agencies, who they say often work with companies they have an existing relationship with, making it harder for diverse-owned vendors to win business.

 

According to a new study by Omnicom’s GSD&M, nearly three-quarters of diverse-owned vendors say this is the situation they regularly find themselves, with 46% of respondents also reporting their company does not have enough relationships with agencies.

 

Among the key complaints are being hired only to handle African American communication, feeling the time and energy of the RFP process wasn’t worth it, advertising turnover making nurturing relationships tricky, and frustrations with the “triple bid” process—in which three or more agencies compete for a particular job or contract.

 

There’s been a push by the industry to help brands work with diverse suppliers. This summer, advertising trade groups released guidelines for suppliers. Created by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) and the Association of National Advertisers along with its Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM), the guidelines were “designed to help buyers and sellers see the landscape through a more focused lens, advance engagement, and promote greater investment in the diverse supplier community,” ANA CEO Bob Liodice said when they were released. The previous guidelines targeted at marketers were released in May.

 

The study was sent to more than 1,187 diverse-owned vendors in Omnicom’s agency vendor database at the end of October.

 

Of those surveyed, 79% said their company received little or no feedback when they were not awarded a project and 62% said the intent or scope of a project would change during bidding, requiring companies to send out multiple rounds of proposals.

 

“What we heard from the open-ended questions is that the door is not even being open to [diverse vendors],” said GSD&M chief inclusion officer Keisha Townsend Taitt. “People aren’t responding to their emails; there’s just no relationship.” Townsend Taitt was named GSD&M chief inclusion officer earlier this year, rounding out the agency’s nine employee-led resource and affinity groups and the agency’s Vendor Diversity Program.

 

To help build those relationships, the Austin, Texas-based agency is incorporating a matchmaking event to connect diverse-owned vendors with agencies as part of its annual Diverse Partner Summit taking place next month. Agencies will have an opportunity to schedule 15-minute virtual meetings with diverse companies across the country that match the type of work they are looking for.

 

“We want to remove the box that small and diverse partners have been in,” said Townsend Taitt. “They’re more than a box to check when it’s a mandate for the agency or a client. They’re more than just producing work for the communities that they’re a part of, and they’re not any less than any other vendor.”

 

GSD&M is striving to increase the number of diverse vendors used by its clients. During the bidding process ahead of the summit, GSD&M asks all vendors crewing for production to ensure representation equity within the crew by meeting the goal of at least 40% minority talent. So far in 2022, 15.5% of the agency’s total vendor spend was awarded to 45 certified woman- and minority-owned businesses.

 

But in order to see true progress, Max Rutherford, GSD&M’s VP of vendor partner diversity, is calling for other agencies to recognize the importance of including and utilizing diverse suppliers.

16048: Class Dismissed In Adland…?

 

Digiday added another ism—classism—to the growing list of culturally clueless offenses perpetrated in Adland. Technically, this item has always been an inherent element, given that middle- and upper-class Whites rule the industry. And one could argue that it’s really a race issue, as middle- and upper-class Whites enjoy greater privileges than middle- and upper-class minorities. Class dismissed.

 

How classism impacts the workplace and what employers can do to tackle it

 

By Ellen Hammett

 

As a person of color, young woman and hijab-wearing Muslim, Haleema Ali often experiences racism, sexism and Islamaphobia due to these “immediately visible” traits. Like many people, however, what is not always immediately obvious is her socioeconomic background, although the discrimination she experiences as a result of it is.

 

“Classism can manifest in many subtle ways, such as employees feeling left out of conversations in the workplace as they do not understand an inside joke based on the experiences of middle class co-workers, or in more overt ways such as mockery of regional and working-class accents,” said Ali, an activist who has experienced classism across all the sectors she has worked in, from politics and education to charity and the arts.

 

“It can feel like we’re playing class-bingo when we hear of ski holidays or, ‘staycations’,” she added. “For working-class people who couldn’t afford many or even any trips abroad, a short break to Great Yarmouth was a holiday.”

 

Ski holidays have featured among the countless stories of class-based discrimination Common People (an industry forum for working-class people in the advertising sector) has heard, too. Within 24 hours of setting up a WhatsApp group, more than 200 people from the creative ad industry had joined the conversation, which quickly became a safe space to share stories about comments colleagues had made about the way they talk, the types of drinks they choose on nights out, not having the same level of knowledge about food, wine and “highbrow culture.”

 

“We’ve heard some real horror stories of the things people have said to them about their background when they start jobs and people facing quite awful comments – some probably with the intention of being mean but some just a lack of thought and understanding about the world,” said Lisa Thompson, business director of strategy and planning at ad agency Wavemaker North and one of the co-founders of Common People.

 

Another story involved people calling a brand “chavvy” [British slang for describing insultingly how a person is dressed, behaves or speaks, that is thought to show a low social class and lack of education] during a pitch meeting and making derogatory comments about the people who worked there.

 

The stats around workplace classism are equally as stark. Professionals from working class backgrounds earn almost £7,000 ($8,300)(13%) less than their more privileged peers, are 28% less likely to have a management role, and a third less likely to be fast-tracked to a senior position. One in four people have had their accent mocked at work, with bias against working class and regional accents at a similar level to what it was in 1969.

 

While classism isn’t a uniquely British issue, there are aspects that present differently compared with other countries. Betsy Leondar-Wright is a board member, project director and senior trainer at U.S. organization Class Action, and has run classism workshops in both the U.S. and U.K. She notes classist attitudes are more overt in the U.K. and there is a much stronger emphasis on education and parental occupation when it comes to recruitment and promotions. She has also noticed the “ugly” class discrimination that exists around the “chav” stereotype.

 

In the U.S., meanwhile, Leondar-Wright suggests intersections between class and race “perhaps exist to a greater degree,” and in spite of there being “steady progress” in the number of college-educated African Americans working in professional and managerial positions, there remains a stereotype that “equates black and poor.”

 

This was a common experience for one of Leondar-Wright’s African American colleagues, she explained, who people would often wrongly assume was a single mother and change the way they spoke to her as soon as they learned she had a degree.

 

Breaking barriers

 

Social class impacts people at all stages of their careers. People from working-class backgrounds are less able to do unpaid work experience and take financial risks, and less likely to have the same access to professional networks – often afforded by parental occupation – who can provide advice, mentoring and advocate for them as they try to get a foot in the door.

 

“People are generally aware of social mobility when it comes to education, but how that disadvantage persists in the workplace is less well-understood and recognized,” said Sarah Atkinson, CEO of the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF), which recently launched a campaign to raise awareness of the class pay gap.

 

“We see that in evidence of who gets into organizations; very often there’s a recruitment gap between people from low socioeconomic backgrounds and their more privileged peers. A graduate from a higher socioeconomic background has a better chance of getting a job in a competitive environment, and five years after university they’re more likely to be employed in a high-status job,” she added.

 

This disadvantage exists even when people enter the same profession with similar qualifications and experience. Regardless of performance, those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds still tend to progress much quicker, which is what ultimately results in the class pay gap – the “leading indicator” of class discrimination in the workplace. It is significantly worse for women, disabled people and most ethnic minorities.

 

While this is a complex systemic issue for which Atkinson says there are “no quick fixes,” there are examples of employers who are working to identify where the barriers exist and to break them down.

 

Management consultancy Accenture is among the top 10 employers in the Social Mobility Foundation’s Index for social mobility, which ranks organizations on how they are performing in this area. The company is ranked highly for a reason: it offers virtual work experience, an apprenticeship option for those with few or no qualifications, and has provided over 1,300 work placements in the U.K. to people not in employment, education or training.

 

“Addressing social inequalities takes recognition, investment and commitment to do what is fair,” said Camilla Drejer, Accenture’s lead for citizenship and responsible business in the U.K. and Ireland. “This is a human issue, above all else, but that lack of leaders (and future leaders) from a lower socioeconomic background also deprives the organization of fresh perspectives.”

 

Accenture is also a founding partner of Progress Together, a membership body working to drive socioeconomic diversity at senior levels in the financial services industry. Class discrimination is particularly shocking in this industry, with people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds earning £17,500 less, occupying just 11% of senior roles and progressing 25% slower than peers from more affluent backgrounds.

 

Ali believes providing a safe space for employees to actively talk about their lived experiences would be a positive step in the right direction for employers, as well as making sure class factors into all conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion.

 

Thompson, meanwhile, emphasizes the need to break down “automatic barriers which shut people out.” Travel costs, expensive technology and being expected to work for free can deprive people from low socioeconomic backgrounds of the same career opportunities as their more privileged peers.

 

With this in mind, Common People Network has created a line of merchandise to raise money towards a creative bursary, which will go towards helping working class talent start out in the industry.

 

Measurement and transparency

 

Many employers recognize that social mobility is good for business, yet the challenge often lies in knowing where to start.

 

In addition to making sure internships are ringfenced for people from working class backgrounds, Atkinson says a key step for employers is to start measuring socioeconomic background data. The SMF recommends asking current and prospective employees three questions: what the occupation of their parents was when they were about 14 years old, the kind of school they went to, and whether they were eligible for free school meals.

 

“From that, you can start to build the conversations in your organization, see where your gaps exist and set targets around your interventions,” Atkinson explains. However, given the stigma around class and potential discomfort in disclosing this information, she says it is “critical” that employees from all backgrounds understand why an employer wants that information, what they’re going to do with it, and that they trust it will be used for a positive agenda.

 

“Making sure people are confident that it is being used to make an organization more open, accessible and easier to progress, is really important,” she adds. “Leadership committing to how that data will be used is an important part of being successful in that exercise, too.”

 

The SMF is now calling for it to be a legal requirement for companies to measure and publish their class pay gaps, which the foundation says only three companies currently do: accounting giants KPMG and PwC and international law firm Clifford Chance.

 

This kind of reporting is fundamental in holding companies to account and would certainly be a positive step towards making workplaces more inclusive, diverse and fair in future.

16047: Will R/GA Distributed Creativity Lead To Distributing Pink Slips?

 

Adweek reported on the closing of R/GA office spaces in New York City and San Francisco, a move that underscores the dramatic workplace changes ignited by COVID-19.

 

R/GA CEO Sean Lyons declared the company’s newfangled remote structure “will be the standard for a post pandemic creative company. It embraces global talent across multiple time zones and mean we can be faster, better, and less expensive for clients.” Gee, that almost sounds more amazing than R/GA “throwing out the traditional playbook” for DE&I.

 

The shuttering of offices will probably be celebrated with global strippers via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, and FaceTime.

 

R/GA Is Closing Its Current New York and San Francisco Office Spaces as It Continues Restructuring

 

The NYC office opened in 2016 in Hudson Yards

 

By Kyle O’Brien & Jameson Fleming

 

R/GA is closing its current spacious Hudson Yards office space in New York City as well as its current office space in downtown San Francisco as part of a larger structuring under CEO Sean Lyons.

 

Multiple sources confirmed to Adweek that Lyons told the agency the news via email Tuesday night.

 

As part of the restructuring, R/GA is moving away from its city model in the U.S. and instead implementing a country model with five disciplines powering the business. With the emphasis away from cities, R/GA, in partnership with IPG, is opting out of its leases in New York and San Francisco, Lyons wrote in the email obtained by Adweek.

 

“Today, 45% of our US staff live far from our offices, and 80% of our project teams bring together talent from more than one location,” Lyons wrote in the email. “The ability to bring talent together from everywhere is the backbone of our Distributed Creativity model. Now we need the infrastructure that supports it.”

 

Lyons noted in the email that currently only about 40 employees a day, plus a few clients, use the “cavernous” office on a daily basis. Lyons said that the agency will eventually reopen a smaller hub in New York in 2023. With employees all over the country, the agency will consider other physical hubs in the U.S. where employees are concentrated or near clients.

 

“We are increasing our investment in travel so we can bring teams together in our physical locations, or wherever groups of R/GA people are based. (A bar bill in Atlanta is a better use of budget than an empty room in Hudson Yards.),” Lyons wrote.

 

The current New York and San Francisco offices will close on Dec. 23. The New York office, which first opened in 2016, was the subject of Workplace: The Connected Space Documentary. For the film, Gary Hustwit explored the spacious 10,000-square-foot office on 10th Avenue and 33rd Street that originally housed 800 employees.

 

R/GA’s transformation

 

The restructuring first rolled out in late October, according to Ad Age. It will cover staffing, creative practices, office structure and R/GA’s go-to-market strategy under the term “distributed creativity.” The restructuring was apparently planned before R/GA reported losses of up to $10 million this year from crypto and NFT-related work, according to the story.

 

Part of that restructuring means a reduction of staff. Multiple sources told Adweek the agency recently laid off a number of employees. A previous round of layoffs earlier this year reduced the New York staff by 5%.

 

Additionally, Robin Forbes took on the role of global chief client officer. Forbes will play a key role with the roll out of R/GA’s new distributed creativity model. He was previously managing director of the brand design and consulting practice.

 

“With R/GA rolling out its new model built on our creative practices, I’ve been looking for the right person to take on the global chief client officer role. I am lucky to have that person at R/GA. Robin has been instrumental in leading some of our largest and most successful client relationships,” said Lyons in a statement.

 

R/GA’s global CFO Tania Secor is also stepping down at the end of the year to pursue another opportunity.

 

The new country model includes a new structure that will encompass five practices: Products + Experiences, Connected Communications, Brand Design + Consulting, Media + Connections and Brand Relationship Design.

 

Lyons said the new structure will allow the agency to be more nimble and better serve its clients, adding that many employees’ roles will change as the client base changes, especially as the innovation client base in crypto and other areas have dwindled.

 

Lyons also noted the agency is still working through the remaining management changes and practice placements, and anticipated those changes will be complete by the end of the year.

 

“Over the last 45 years we’ve been known to change our model ahead of the industry but we know radical change is difficult and this means not everyone will fit into this model,” Lyons told Adweek earlier this month, during an earlier round of staff cuts. “Our Distributed Creativity model will be the standard for a post pandemic creative company. It embraces global talent across multiple time zones and mean we can be faster, better, and less expensive for clients.”

Monday, November 28, 2022

16046: ADCOLOR® Pencils In Sassiness…?

Is ADCOLOR® actually showing political spirit—albeit in clich├ęd and contrived style—by depicting a shattered White pencil?

16045: DE&I VPs & CDOs TTFN ASAP WTF…?

 

A previous post examined how Chief Diversity Officers—aka DE&I Human Heat Shields—tend to have brief tenures in Adland, prompting cursory exploration on the topic.

 

Apparently, the in-and-out nature of the position is not unique to the advertising industry.

 

Global executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates conducted surveys of the S&P 500 in 2018 and 2021, revealing CDO trivia, trends, and troubles. The analyzed data included:

 

• Between 2018 and 2022, the overall proportion of companies with CDOs grew only slightly from 47% to 52%

 

• The average CDO tenure was 1.8 years in 2021—versus 3.1 years in 2018

 

• About 60% of 2018 CDOs have bailed out of their cubicles—and most of them abandoned the CDO track entirely for other professional pursuits

 

• Roughly 18% of current CDOs have prior experience in the role—versus 26% in 2018

 

It’s hard to guess how the Russell Reynolds Associates survey results might apply to the situation in Adland. But MultiCultClassics reckons that things are probably worse—especially in typical White advertising agencies where first-ever titles are routinely fabricated and awarded for outsiders or resident people of color.

 

Russell Reynolds Associates also recommended key actions, most of which have been echoed ad nauseam by Human Heat Shields and roundly ignored by White advertising leaders. Translation CEO Steve Stoute, incidentally, may have expressed the solutions more succinctly than anyone to date. Although Sanford Moore’s 2009 exposition maintains validity.

 

In summation, CDO is a short-lived job whose death is directly impacted by the level—i.e., lack—of involvement that Whites bring to the proceedings. And for Adland, White clients must be added to the equation too, as they are co-conspirators in perpetuating exclusivity. Delegating diversity remains the diversionary tactic of choice for culturally clueless cowards and latent racists.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

16044: George Lois (1931-2022).

Iconic Adman George Lois passed away on November 18, 2022. Lois strongly represented—and even created—the Madison Avenue Era, yet his social sensitivities and cultural competence seemed unique in an exclusively White industry.

 

The New York Times noted Lois’ “stunning covers for Esquire magazine that rebuked American racism and involvement in the Vietnam War.” Indeed, his book—Damned Good Advice (For People With Talent!)—showed he was a diversity advocate and antiracist activist.

 

George Lois, Visionary Art Director, Is Dead at 91

 

He brought the counterculture to advertising and designed memorable covers for Esquire magazine, many of them wordless critiques of American society.

 

By Robert D. McFadden

 

George Lois, Madison Avenue’s best-known 20th-century art director, who put the counterculture of the 1960s and ‘70s into postwar advertising and created stunning covers for Esquire magazine that rebuked American racism and involvement in the Vietnam War, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.

 

His son Luke confirmed the death, which he noted followed the death of Mr. Lois’s wife, Rosemary, by two months. He did not specify a cause.

 

Irascible and uncompromising, Mr. Lois created witty, irreverent campaigns that shattered the ham-handed advertising conventions that had relied on testimonials and romanticized images. In one campaign, a chimpanzee demonstrated the simplicity of a Xerox machine; in another, the former heavyweight champion Joe Louis, who was deep in debt to the I.R.S., appeared in a brokerage ad asking, “Where were you when I needed you?”

 

Mr. Lois was also known for the Esquire covers he designed from 1962 to 1972, acid-rain critiques on society, race, politics and war, many of them wordless. One showed the boxer Sonny Liston in a Santa Claus hat, suggesting that he was the last person white America wanted to see coming down the chimney on Christmas. Another placed four Vietnamese children with a gargoyle-grinning William L. Calley Jr., the Army lieutenant who ordered the 1968 My Lai massacre. Andy Warhol was depicted drowning in a giant can of Campbell’s tomato soup.

 

In his six-decade career, Mr. Lois founded and led many advertising agencies, wrote books on advertising and art direction, devised award-winning campaigns that sold everything from soap to airlines, and was hailed by colleagues and peers as one of the most influential and creative admen of his era.

 

Some said he was the model for Don Draper, the suave, elegant central character of the long-running AMC series “Mad Men.” It was not likely.

 

Mr. Lois, a bald, bulky, arm-waving tsunami who talked a blue streak with a Bronx accent, scoffed at the idea, and in a CNN report in 2012 he insisted that “Mad Men,” with its depiction of compulsive smoking, boozing and womanizing, grossly misrepresented the advertising milieu he knew.

 

“That dynamic period of counterculture in the 1960s,” he said, “found expression on Madison Avenue through a new creative generation — a rebellious coterie of art directors and copywriters who understood that visual and verbal expression were indivisible, who bridled under the old rules that consigned them to secondary roles in the ad-making process dominated by noncreative hacks and technocrats.”

 

While conceding Mr. Lois’s pivotal role in Madison Avenue’s modernization, some critics called him a brash loudmouth and a shameless self-promoter who was sometimes given credit for the ingenious work of others, or who exaggerated his participation in creative processes that involved many people.

 

In the early 1980s, Mr. Lois, by his own account, almost single-handedly rescued MTV from an early death. The cable channel, launched in New York in 1981 with a 24-hour rock ‘n’ roll format, was in his words “an abject failure” after its first year, scorned by cable operators, advertisers, music publishers and recording companies.

 

Asked to step in, Mr. Lois produced a campaign of commercials with a voice-over ending, “If you don’t get MTV where you live, call your cable operator and say (with a cutaway to Mick Jagger bellowing), “I want my MTV.”

 

In six months, every rock star in the nation joined the parade, and MTV became the most popular phenomenon on television. Today, 90 million households receive MTV. Without it, fans say, generations might never have seen music videos or partied in basements.

 

Mr. Lois began his advertising career in 1956 as an art director with Sudler & Hennessey in New York. Two years later he landed a similar position at Doyle Dane Bernbach, which, under William Bernbach, who liberated art directors and copywriters to brainstorm freely together, was arguably the most creative shop in town in the 1950s.

 

After a year at Doyle Dane Bernbach, Mr. Lois joined two colleagues, Fred Papert and Julian Koenig, to form Papert Koenig Lois in 1960. With Mr. Lois as creative director, it became the first ad agency with an art director as a principal. It went public in 1962, raising its fortunes and starting a trend. By 1967 it was a major agency, with $40 million in billings and clients like Xerox, National Airlines and some Procter & Gamble products.

 

In 1962, Harold Hayes, the editor of Esquire, asked Mr. Lois how to improve the magazine’s covers, which were then conceived and assigned by an editorial committee. “Is that what you do when you assign a story to Talese or to Mailer — you have a group grope?” Mr. Lois recalled saying. “You need to get one guy who understands the culture, who likes comic strips, goes to the ballet, visits the Metropolitan Museum.”

 

Mr. Lois was hired for the job as a freelancer. His covers — photos or montages, sometimes with hand-drawn elements — were often textless, making their point strikingly with a single image. He was credited with 92 in all, though the origins of some were later disputed. Many were controversial — Sonny Liston’s Santa cost Esquire $750,000 in dropped advertising. But 32 of his covers were installed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2008.

 

Mr. Lois pictured Muhammad Ali, who had been stripped of his boxing title and jailed for refusing to submit to the draft and fight in Vietnam, as an arrow-riddled St. Sebastian. Mr. Lois spoofed “the whole idea of a glamorous Hollywood,” as he put it in 2008, by applying smears of shaving cream to the face of the actress Virna Lisi to portray “a woman being manly and still beautiful.”

 

He portrayed President Richard M. Nixon having rouge and lipstick applied for a TV appearance during the 1968 presidential campaign, and, on another cover, Nixon’s rival that fall, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, as a dummy on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s lap. For a 1964 cover article by Tom Wicker, “Kennedy Without Tears,” he had a man’s hand extending a forefinger to wipe away a tear with a cloth from under the left eye of the assassinated President John F. Kennedy in a sepia-tinted official portrait of him.

 

As for the enigmatic Warhol cover that showed the artist falling into his signature Campbell’s soup can, Mr. Lois told Fast Company magazine in 2012: “A lot of people looked at it and said I had him drowning in his own fame. Some people said it was the end of Pop Art. Other people say it’s an iconic celebration of Pop Art. Well, OK!”

 

George Harry Lois was born in Manhattan on June 26, 1931, one of three children of Harry and Vasilike (Thanasoulis) Lois, Greek immigrants. His father was a florist. George and his sisters, Paraskeve and Hariclea, were raised in the Bronx.

 

He graduated from the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan (now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts) in 1949. After a year and a half at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, he dropped out to work for the designer Reba Sochis.

 

He married Rosemary Lewandowski, an artist, in 1951. They had two sons, Harry, who died in 1978, and Luke. In addition to his son Luke, Mr. Lois, who lived in Greenwich Village, is survived by two grandchildren.

 

After being drafted in 1952, Mr. Lois served two years with the Army during the Korean War. He joined CBS-TV in 1954 as a designer of promotional projects and began his advertising career two years later.

 

He was a partner with Papert Koenig Lois from 1960 to 1967. He then founded Lois Holland Callaway and was its chairman and chief executive until 1976, when he joined Creamer/FSR. In 1978, he founded Lois/EJL, which went through several name and leadership permutations in the 1980s and ’90s. He was chairman and creative director when the firm went bankrupt and closed in 1999.

 

Mr. Lois and his son Luke then founded Good Karma Creative, an advertising and marketing venture. He was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame, the One Club Creative Hall of Fame and the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame, and he won lifetime achievement awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Society of Publication Designers.

 

In 2016, Mr. Lois gave the City College of New York a trove of career materials, including recordings of radio and television commercials; copies of print ads, scripts, sketches, correspondence and photographs from his campaigns; and perhaps the last Tommy Hilfiger poster from the pre-cellphone 1980s, when they appeared in Manhattan phone booths and jump-started that designer’s career.

 

“George Lois is extremely important to us because we have a new program, a master’s program in advertising, branding and integrated communications,” Jeffrey F. Machi, City College’s vice president for development and institutional advancement, told The New York Times.

 

Mr. Lois was the author of several books, including “Damn Good Advice (for People with Talent!)” (2012), “George Lois on His Creation of the Big Idea” (2008), “$ellebrity: My Angling and Tangling With Famous People” (2003) and “The Art of Advertising: George Lois on Mass Communication” (1977, with Bill Pitts).

 

Since his heyday, the advertising world that once nurtured individual creativity has vanished, Mr. Lois told the magazine Creative Review in 2012. “What happened finally,” he said, “is these terrible conglomerate, no-talent, so-called marketing monoliths started to buy up agencies, and you have five or six or seven agencies running the world, and if you’re part of them you’ll never be a creative agency. It just doesn’t work.”