On May 11, 2009, in a fit of social media experimentation, the message "I've yet to hire a writer who uses ellipses in an ad." echoed across the Twitterverse to approximately five followers. Three years later, the Twitter account @leeclowsbeard had grown to 27,000 followers with over 775 daily tweets served, including these:
Every client wants something new. And three examples of where it's worked before.— Lee Clow's Beard (@leeclowsbeard) August 28, 2009
Fight the proliferation of mediocrity.— Lee Clow's Beard (@leeclowsbeard) August 16, 2010
If you're not promoting a truth, you're accelerating a failure.— Lee Clow's Beard (@leeclowsbeard) November 29, 2010
Safety last.— Lee Clow's Beard (@leeclowsbeard) October 21, 2010
You cannot become the person or agency you wish to be by doing the type of work you wished you never had to do.— Lee Clow's Beard (@leeclowsbeard) July 5, 2011
When writing copy, start with the one message you absolutely have to get across. Then stop.— Lee Clow's Beard (@leeclowsbeard) February 24, 2012
A few months into LCB's existence, Rob Schwartz started following. Rob was (and is) the Chief Creative Officer at TBWA\Chiat\Day's L.A. office. Someone who worked with Lee Clow on a daily basis, and who obviously knew that LCB was not authored by Lee. Not wanting to open a can of cease-and-desist orders, I refrained from harassment for several months. When I finally inquired as to Lee’s knowledge of LCB, Rob confirmed that he was aware of my existence, and that he approved of my hijinks. Eventually, they flew me out to L.A. for a day and lunch (and this photo) ensued:
It was during this lunch that the idea of a book emerged. Within hours after the lunch, Rob had designer Bill Hornstein busting out comps. Then the joy of book publishing really took hold. Tracking down and securing photo rights. Finding a publisher. And a printer. Fortunately, I did not have to do this work, and I am forever grateful to those who did.
At long last, an advance copy arrived at my door and, a few weeks later, the book offically launched at an event at the Chiat offices in L.A. Here are a few snaps of the book and interior spreads:
The book being the analog derivative of a digital source, we obviously decided on a digital derivative of the book in the form of an iOS app:
Naturally, TBWA\ authored a website based on their Projeqt presentation technology:
And Bill and I turned out some posters promoting the book and the app:
Response to the work was very positive, with articles on Mashable.com, FastCoCreate.com and NOTCOT.com among others. Additionally, revealing the truth of LCB's provenance did not hinder follower growth one bit. In fact, the account gained followers at a rate 500% the norm in the week following the launch.
Here's The Man himself recounting his own take on the LCB saga:
Finally, here's a live feed of @leeclowsbeard. It only moves once a day, so don't stare at it too long: