MAD MEN: Forget Don Draper — the real-life drama between warring ad men George Lois and Julian Koenig looks like it will never fade to black. Sunday’s “This American Life” rebroadcast of a segment about their feud should only keep the feud alive. Produced and narrated by Koenig’s daughter Sarah, the piece claims Lois took credit for groundbreaking campaigns for Xerox and the New York Herald Tribune, among others, as well as Esquire covers, where credit was not due. Julian Koenig said of his former business partner, “His talent is only exceeded by his omnivorous ego.”
Asked for comment Monday, Lois sounded off via e-mail about “the nut-job piece about Julian Koenig,” whom he said has been making charges that Lois stole his work since 1972. Lois continued, “37 years after publication of [a rollicking autobiography] ‘George, Be Careful,’ he continues to bitch and moan, claiming he has been wronged. C’ la vie [sic]. Meanwhile, since 1964, the last time I did any ads with Julian Koenig, I’ve done 10,000 ads and 2,000 television commercials, all terrific I might add. Koenig probably has done a grand total of a dozen since then.”
Lois also took to task Carl Fischer, the lensman behind his memorable Esquire cover of Muhammad Ali posing as St. Sebastian, for dissing him on air. “No photographer could ever, or has ever, given me an idea, or was capable of giving me an idea, for a George Lois cover,” he said.
Not surprisingly, Sarah Koenig doesn’t expect her 88-year-old father and Lois to ever come to terms about their dispute. But “the record is getting straightened out” now that authors and reporters are interviewing him, she said. Aside from being credited with the “Think Small” Volkswagen campaign and coining “Earth Day” (it first fell on his birthday, hence the name), the elder Koenig insisted he invented thumb wrestling in 1936 and popularized shrimp in America by yelling “shrimp” up and down Broadway, two claims that even made his daughter laugh on air. But his legacy in advertising was not something she cared to leave to chance. “At least my Dad’s side of things is being told though it is a very self-selected group of people interested in the history of advertising who would care,” she said Monday. — Rosemary Feitelberg
CHANGING PARTNERS: Condé Nast International has formed a joint venture with Globo Media Group, a Brazilian publisher and broadcaster, to publish Vogue and other Condé Nast titles in the South American country, one of the world’s fastest growing markets for luxury goods. Vogue has been published in Brazil in Portuguese for the past 35 years under a license agreement with Carta Editorial, which also published titles including Casa Vogue and Homme Vogue, most of which will now be published by the new joint venture, Edições Globo-Condé Nast. In addition, all the titles will have an online version. Under the joint venture the companies also plan eventually to launch Brazilian editions of other Condé Nast titles, along with branded digital and digital TV platforms. The last issue to be run by Carta Editorial will be October.
Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International, said, “Globo is the leading media company in South America and has a reputation for excellence. It is the ideal partner for Condé Nast as we expand our business activities in this key, growing market.” — Nina Jones
ANN TAYLOR’S STAR WATTAGE: Naomi Watts will be the face of Ann Taylor’s fall ad campaign. Watts follows Heidi Klum and, most recently, Milla Jovovich, both of whom are originally famous for being models, as the line’s famous rep. The campaign, which was shot by Peter Lindbergh, will break in September books including Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Marie Claire, More, Vanity Fair and Vogue. — Jessica Iredale
THE HIGHLOW: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Posterous….There is no shortage of platforms off which fashion brands are diving into the exploding social media scene. Now Liz Claiborne Inc. is testing the waters with The HighLow, “a fashion news microsite.” The magazine-style site went live July 19 and its first posts included a story on sewing enthusiast Web site BurdaStyle; an extract from Zappos chief executive officer Tony Hsieh’s book, “Delivering Happiness”; an interview with White Trash Beautiful co-designer Nikki Lund, and a profile on New York-based Swedish clogmaker Nina Ziefvert. Although the latter does make mention of the clog-heavy debut footwear line of Liz Claiborne’s Lucky Brand — accompanied by a disclosure — The HighLow editor Felicity Loughrey insists her content is editorially independent and that corporate plugs will be minimal. “If it read like an ad, would you read it?” noted Loughrey, a New York-based Australian journalist who has shelved freelancing for titles including Vogue Australia to work full time for Liz Claiborne. She added, “The mission is to start a conversation and have a dialogue with people.” Other fashion companies to have recently embarked on similar missions include Dolce & Gabbana, via its online magazine Swide, and Louis Vuitton, which launched Nowness. “It is a very cost-effective way to help encourage greater dialogue about fashion, trends, retail and the consumer,” said a Liz Claiborne spokeswoman. Translation for magazine publishers: Claiborne is taking a chunk out of its marketing budget for print to fund the new Web site. — Patty Huntington