Hal & Lee

LEE CLOW is one of the greats, especially for his work with Steve Jobs on APPLE. It took a while for us to work together.



“Why, Hal?”

Back in the day, when Hal was at Botsford Ketchum in SanFrancisco, he did terrific work for Yamaha Motorcycles. We didn’t work together then but kept in touch because he was curious about the work I had done for IRON CITYBEER. Hal did all of his work with his good friend, Dick Snider. We kept loose touch and he contacted me to do a documentary for Yamaha directly, based on the motocross film (experimental ) that I had done.  Nothing ever came of it.

At that time Hal and Lee were the two most creative forces in the industry. They were the only ones doing breakthrough work, Hal in SanFrancisco and Lee in Los Angeles. I had worked with Chiat/Day (Lee’s agency) early on when they operated out of a hotel in downtown Los Angeles. They were just finding their way then and I did  bunch of commercials for a bank with a guy that looked like a chicken and carried a chicken around. I forgot what the campaign was, but it was a feeble attempt at Sedelmaier type humor.

Hal was doing these terrific Yamaha spots that were sort of a harbinger of the Henry’s stuff to come. A bunch of old guys talking about these mysterious ‘things’ they saw in the woods (Yamaha dirt bikes). I don’t think you ever saw the bikes.

Hal was a little pissed at me (although we hadn’t worked together at that time) because I was doing a Kawasaki campaign that won a Clio against his ‘old guys’ stuff.

For some reason Lee got the Yamaha business from Hal. I guess Yamaha wanted to see the bikes. Lee’s work was terrific but the opposite of Hal’s ‘homespun’ approach. Lee also got Yamaha to spend a helluva lot more money.

Time goes by and Hal’s pal Snider passes away (sad). Hal and I begin to work together, and although we never really get along, we maintain a great professional relationship.

Chiat contacts me to do a beer campaign. This is in the middle of the HENRY’S stuff with Hal. There’s no real conflict since the stuff for Clow is a national brand and Henry’s is regional. Nonetheless, Hal calls and asks me not to work with Chiat. So, I don’t work with Chiat- for years.

Eventually, as time goes by (and Riney goes bye) Lee and I do a bunch of stuff together. Lee is, of course, brilliant and eventually he asks why it took so long to get together.

I tell him.

He understands.