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AN INTERVIEW WITH A.D. LUBOW: “May We All Grow Up to Be Children”

Illustration from The Boy and the Boy King by George H. Lewis and A.D. Lubow.

I invite you to read an interview I did for The Boy and the Boy King, which will run in the print edition of CairoWest Magazine. The book, by the way, is available now on Amazon, the Strand website. and other book sites.

The next chapter of AD Lubow continues very happily. I remain active with M+, the successor to AD Lubow run by Nico Marcellino. We’re working on some very interesting and worthy projects. And I’m collaborating now with the animator, Mei Li and Alec Sokolow, one of the screenwriters of Toy Story, on a book that couldn’t be more relevant to times such as these.

Stay tuned.

With warm regards,
Arthur Lubow

P.S. Our publisher is collecting photos of children all over the world reading The Boy and the Boy King. If you have one, please send it to me at: [email protected]


Illustration from The Boy and the Boy King by George H. Lewis and A.D. Lubow.

Illustration from The Boy and the Boy King by George H. Lewis and A.D. Lubow.


The sun rises between the structures we build over a lifetime. New chapters begin. As we pass the baton to our successor company, M+, headed by Nico Marcellino, it’s time now to take stock of what we’ve accomplished and the work still ahead.

Over the years, we have set the stage for Popes, presidents, bankers, educators, labor leaders, fundraisers, filmmakers, environmentalists, artists and all manner of imaginative minds, kind hearts and courageous souls. We have projected a view of the world through the hopeful lens of Inner-City school children, the prophecies of scientists and the art of masters no less than Kurt Masur, George Balanchine and Natalia Osipova, to name only a few. The Juilliard Quartet came to our offices to play for our 25th Anniversary.

The enterprise, when still called William Altman Advertising, helped Philippe de Montebello become the voice of the Metropolitan Museum. Its print and radio ads promoted two of the top three most attended exhibitions at the Met — The Treasures of Tutankhamun and also the Vatican Collection: The Papacy and Art.  The Tut show alone was enjoyed by 1,360,000 visitors. Our “Art of Diplomacy” ads, sponsored by Sara Lee Corporation, promoted the first exchange of art between the Soviet Union and the United States. Could art be a way to wage peace instead of war? We’ll continue to work on that. Toward that end, please read The Boy and the Boy King available now on Amazon.

We’ve kept above politics. Yet, we wrote the funniest two jokes at the 2016 Trump/Clinton Al Smith dinner. We’ve celebrated the mighty and the meek.  We reminded the world of Roosevelt and Rockwell’s four freedoms. A widely-viewed video created for Marymount Manhattan College honored the women of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility who had the courage to earn their College degree while still in prison. By the seat of our pants and the flight of our imagination, we kept MMC from closing back in the ’80s; and stuck with them for 40 years. For a wide assortment of clients, we raised hundreds of millions of dollars via thousands of gifts, but none more important than the $25 sent from prison to the Inner-City Scholarship Fund accompanied by a note too troublingly touching to get into right now. We were there when Misty Copeland, as both the White and Black Swan in Swan Lake, fluttered onto and, as it seemed, beyond the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House. Ms. Copeland had gone from living in an SRO apartment as a child to an SRO performance at the Met.  The stage was alight with the drama of high art and everyday life.

We’ve had a forty-two-year relationship with Columbia University, beginning with Columbia Business School and continuing with Columbia School of Professional Studies, SIPA Columbia School of the Arts and others. We created highly effective films for Columbia film School as well as Columbia’s graduate programs in Writing and Acting. We were with The New York Philharmonic for three highly successful years until 9/11 when even paid ticket holders stopped attending. We were in our 53rd floor offices on September 11 when the planes passed by our window. It was a time when fear and terror seemed to defeat hope and inspiration. It passed. But the loss of loved ones lingers.

We created the first joint marketing effort in Lincoln Center’s history: The Performing Arts Sampler Series (PASS). And we took great delight in promoting new audience initiatives and young people’s concerts. We marketed American Ballet Theatre during a stellar decade leading to its 75th anniversary and beyond.  We presided over golden ages for the likes of The Jewish Museum, The Brooklyn Museum of Art and Tilles Center for the Arts. Along the way, we did beautifully designed exhibition advertising for The National Museum of the American Indian and Liberty Science Center. And we helped bring Swann Auction Galleries to the fore.

At a certain point, we decided that advertising could and should no longer look or feel like advertising. We pioneered the concept of 3-D Branding — where readers could go deeper into the subject through useful video and multimedia content. Producing more than 40 instructional videos for the College Board and The National Association of Secondary School Principals, we travelled to eleven cities to chronicle the best practices of principals who had turned their troubled schools around. We illustrated what these practices looked like in everyday life. We proved that ideas, more than money, make change happen.

We went beyond merely promoting exhibitions. We began creating them. For Liberty Science Center’s gala honoring Ernö Rubik, Temple Grandin and Oliver Sachs, we coined the name, Genius Cubed. It stuck.  The name led to the “Genius Gallery” a permanent interactive wall exhibition created so that visitors could access the many biopics we made about the honorees who graced the gala over the years.

We were involved with a number of successful Two-and Three-Hundred Million Dollar Capital campaigns for the Bicentennial of the Archdiocese of New York, Columbia University Teachers College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In short, we learned and professed a simple dictum: “Great fundraisers don’t fundraise. They simply share a vision.” The full-page Inner-City Scholarship Fund ads created for The New York Times featuring the remarkable Cartier-Bresson-like photos of agency partner, Anne van der Does worked like magic. Just by looking at these transcendent pictures, readers were able to see the pure and honest potential of the children. They made that vision their own. Millions of dollars in donations large and small came in. We’d realized another basic tenet of our approach: “Donors have needs, too.”

During all the years, we’ve invented more than a few expressions. We’ve lived by our motto: “Say Less. Tell More.” In a subway ad, we coined the phrase “Do Good. Do Well.” How fulfilling to see so many large corporations not only using the expression, but also doing their best to live up to it. We, for our part, were everywhere doing everything. When, for example you arrived at Sands Point Preserve Conservancy because of a logo identity and a website we created, you walked into a Visitor Center we designed. Through the next door, you moved into an exhibition we created called “May We All Grow Up to Be Children” based on a book by George H. Lewis and A.D. Lubow.

Which leads us to the next chapter in our story.

We are now passing the torch to M+, the successor agency under the leadership of Nico Marcellino. AD Lubow for its part is scaling back and moving up to tell and animate the stories of the real and imagined heroes we hope will help humanity evolve into a more peaceful, spiritual and sustainable world. In an age of dangerous polarity, we will be a voice for “fervent moderation.” Remember what William Butler Yeats wrote when the world was caught up in the noise of overzealous conceit:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

In these most troubled times, the world needs to take a breath. And good-natured people must speak up with fervent calm on behalf of enraged innocence.

The Boy and a Boy King will point you to the majesty of childhood and imagination—hopefully for the benefit of all adults. Be on the lookout, too, for After the Race: A Tale of Two Olympians, the story of two boys who grew up in WWII America and Germany who made a hero’s journey from enemies to Olympic competitors to friends and ultimately teammates, proving that in the end one’s generation and humanity mean so very much more than nationality. And if you simply need to brighten your day, see the animation: The Chipmunk and the Violin.

Today, we turn the page and walk gladly into a new chapter, guided only by ebullient thoughts and the airy clouds of gratitude.

Introducing the Mini Doc

From Rehearsal to Stage: The Columbia School of the Arts Thesis Production of “Where Do We Live”

Scene fro "Where Do We Live"

In keeping with our longstanding belief that advertising communications should be the opposite of hype and the apotheosis of hope, we are now exploring the Mini-Doc, a documentary format much shorter than the norm, but longer than the typical internet video. The aim is to show potential students a slice of life of the theatre program they’ve dreamed of; and to get them to imagine themselves in the role of an acting student studying in New York at Columbia with the likes of the legendary director and master teacher, Ron Van Lieu.

There is another level to our method. The film has been produced and directed in cooperation with Daniel Fermín Pfeffer, a graduate of the Columbia School of the Arts MFA in Film Directing. For the past few months, Daniel has been embedded in our company, learning from us… and teaching us, too. One can’t imagine a more organic approach to promoting a client’s work.

It’s just another stage in the AD Lubow commitment to selling by telling the truth. Have a look at the mini-doc here.

And if you or someone you know has always dreamed of studying acting at a world-class University in the heart of the theatre capital of the world, please watch, get inspired and learn more.

Singing the Praises

Pope Francis at Madison Square Garden

For more than a quarter of a Century, our company has been singing the praises of educators and students, maestros and musicians, public service unions and private bankers, CEOs and rank and file workers, conservationists and water treatment workers, research scientists and home care nurses, young activists and seasoned actors—on the world stage as well as the New York stage, prima ballerinas and members of the corps, chorus girls and choir girls, local pastors and yes, even Popes.

From soup kitchens to grand hotel ballrooms and massive arenas, from local classrooms to celebrated lecture halls and world-class museums, our platform primarily has been the 395-year old experiment in cacophonous harmony known as New York. Like birds in the thick of the forest, we sing not because we’re happy. We are happy because we sing.

Happy Holidays to all!

Our Wish for the Holidays: Harmony and Understanding

You may be noticing a pattern in our work this year. Whether the medium be film, animation, multimedia, website, a children’s book, a lullaby, an ad or even a holiday card, it’s all about finding harmony and understanding, singing with our hearts and minds as one. We hope you enjoy the magical wish inherent in this lovely animation by Mei Li and the creative staff at AD Lubow.

The moving holiday card we created for the President of Barnard College encapsulates our wish for all our clients and friends.

Happy Holidays!

Congratulations to Greta Thunberg

Congratulations to Greta Thunberg on being named 2019 TIME Person of the Year; and to our very own superstar, Mei Li, for this remarkable animated tribute to Greta’s courageous United Nations speech. Schools all over the world are showing this animation. Please let us know if you’d like to play this for your class and or conservation organization. PLEASE SHARE IF YOU CARE ABOUT OUR PLANET.

What will the winners of the Regeneron Science Talent Search Award do in the Future? Let’s see.

In 1976, Don Harless, director of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search handed a first prize to Bronx High School of Science prodigy, George Yancopoulos. Fast forward three decades. George has become the co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, now the sponsor and namesake of the Science Talent Search. Harless, in his eighties by now, shows up at the latest Regeneron Talent Search Award ceremony to shake the hand of George Yancopoulos. Why? Because the year before, Harless was nearly blind, and a Regeneron drug called Eyelea® reversed his macular degeneration.

This year, George Yancopoulos was honored with Columbia University’s Hamilton Award, the most prestigious prize given to an alumnus. As George, in our short film, says: “Columbia changed my life… It’s the spirit of asking questions, it’s the challenging of the status quo, it’s the wondering about the science. If you ask questions to Professors — and they may not have even thought about the question before — and they say: that’s a great question — that is the basis of promoting new thought and creativity.”

What might the winners of the Regeneron Talent Search Award do for George down the road? Let’s see.

Fervent Moderation

See our film for the New York Bankers Association:

When we were asked to write and produce a video for the 125th Anniversary of the New York Bankers Association, we asked CEO Mike Smith whether we could make the piece not only about what happens when rivals work together for the common good, but to advocate for what we call “fervent moderation.” To our delight, Mr. Smith and his Public Affairs Director, Karen Armstrong, said: “Yes, that’s exactly the message needed right now.” The film was shown to great acclaim at the NYBA convention last week. And the featured guest speaker, Doris Kearns Goodwin, remarked several times about why the film resonated. The author of “Team of Rivals” should know.

Respect for other people’s views makes for civil discussion. Civilized discussion makes for problem-solving. Problem-solving makes for progress. Our message to the body politic of our nation: Moderates, speak up, Fervently!

A Climate for Change: A Tribute to Greta Thunberg

On September 23, 2019, Greta Thunberg, gave an impassioned speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. We created this piece not only to celebrate Greta’s valor, but also to encourage young people everywhere to stand up for what they believe.

Toward that end, the animator Mei Li and the writer, A.D. Woods are making their piece available to schools and conservation groups for use on social media and for projection at assemblies and special conferences. For information, e-mail here.

If you are as moved by Greta’s plea for the planet, please share this with your friends and colleagues.

©2019 AD Lubow and Mei Li.

Out of the Woods

Again in the spirit of our 25-year quest to do some good for the Earth, with Dakoit Pictures, we’ve co-written a documentary on the three years it took to plan, design and build the new Mountaintop Arboretum Education Center in the highest part of the Catskill Mountains. We salute Larry McCaffrey, Byron Knief and the other Board Members who made this beautiful building happen. Please enjoy this 7-minute short version of the film.