Lee Clow announced his retirement last week. Who? What? Who again? Ok, so you might not know his name — It’s not a household name, but if you work in the advertising or marketing world, and especially in an advertising agency and have done your homework or have a passion for creativity, then you will have heard of him.
For nearly five decades, Clow was the creative force at a global ad agency called TWBA. And he was the visionary behind Apple’s iconic commercials and ad campaigns, including a Super Bowl ad often cited as one of the greatest TV spots of all time known. The ad is often referred to as “1984” and it first introduced the Mac.
Clow is a self-described pirate, and he was a product of Los Angeles’s counter-cultural surf culture. He was a surfer and to this day the TBWA agency’s sprawling L.A. office is decorated with dozens upon dozens of surfboards. His rebel worldview shaped his approach to advertising and creativity.