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Three lessons from… Mary Wells Lawrence

Mary Wells Lawrence (1928), gained national attention in the United States for her work as a copywriter for the advertising agency Doyle Dane and Bernbach (DDB). Following her work for DDB, Lawrence worked at Jack Tinker and Partners until she was informed that, despite being given total control over creative content, she could never have her name on the door as she was a woman. Lawrence left.

Lawrence went on to found the hugely successful Wells Rich Greene creative agency (WRG), becoming the first female President of an advertising agency, and the first female CEO of a company on the New York Stock Exchange. She was the creative mind behind iconic campaigns like the ‘air strip’ for Braniff International and Bic´s ‘Flick my Bic’.

Three lessons from Mary Wells Lawrence:

1) – Good advertisers are “salesmen and entertainers in one”-

Use ‘fun’ ideas to stand out. As with the airline strip, Lawrence’s campaigns were known to have a distinct sense of humour and theatrical flair. She was said to have claimed that even kitchen appliances have a personality. Find these personalities and have fun, and your products will come to life.

Braniff airline strip campaign

2) – “You can’t just be you. You have to double yourself”-

To be successful requires staying ahead and being more than is expected. Read books on subjects you know nothing about, be interested, get educated and explore. Good ideas can’t spring from an empty mind.

3) – “The best advertising should make you nervous about what you’re not buying”-

Lawrence used her theatre background to inject drama into all of her campaigns, creating tongue in cheek advertising. She shows us how being bold can make an advertising campaign memorable.

Flick my Bic campaign

If you´re interested in knowing more about Mary Wells Lawrence, here are some interesting resources:


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