LOIS LANE: Travalo’s Carmit Turgeman is a relative rookie in the beauty and fashion scene, but she is counting on longtime adman George Lois to curb her counterfeiting problem. As part of a $1 million ad buy, he will shoot five commercials for her two-year-old, $70 million brand of refillable perfume atomizers. “Carmit just called me up from Israel. She’d seen a book I’d done called ‘Damn Good Advice’ or this documentary I’m in, ‘Art & Copy.’ I always know where it is running in the world, because I always get four or five calls from people there asking me to work,” said Lois.
Always quick with a jab, Lois signed up after Turgeman told him Travalo gets complaints from shoppers who have unknowingly bought counterfeit atomizers. (He wanted it known — he won all 40 of the fist fights he faced growing up in the Bronx. And he cooked up a “Dear John” letter to then-editorial director John Fairchild from Pauline Trigère, when the designer’s work was blacklisted from WWD.) Having drawn 5,000 storyboards in his career, Lois’ latest includes one with a Shakespeare-quoting airline pilot raving about the TSA-approved Travalo.
As for Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials, Lois said, “I didn’t like any of them. They were kind of a mess except for the farmer one. That was kind of lovely and elegant,” referring the two-minute “So God Made a Farmer” Dodge Ram trucks spot. “I had to say, ‘Hold on now. Shut up, everyone — something is happening here.’”
Lois was still basking in last month’s on-air chat with late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel. “I only said f–k once. Everyone congratulated me — even my wife, Rosie,” he said.
Truth be told, when Kimmel called Lois, he thought it was Jimmy Fallon, since a friend of a friend told Lois he would be giving Fallon the adman’s number because he thought they should have lunch. “In the middle of the conversation, I realized, ‘This sounds nothing like him,’” Lois said. “Jimmy [Kimmel] read my book and then bought 30 copies for his friends. When he asked me if I wanted to be on his show, I said, ‘Damn right.’”
Next spring his 11th book, “Lois’ Logos,” will showcase Aunt Jemima and 139 others he has created. This week his commercials for SuperFocus break, and this month he will shoot ones for Cablevision’s OMGFast’s wireless broadband service. Lois and his son Luke are also hatching new ideas for their weekly “Timeless Whoppers” feature in The Nation. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Major League Baseball’s Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire are current contenders. “We get to nail these guys with their terrible lies. I love it — I feel like God,” Lois said.