3 of the Best: Paula Green

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According to a bio on The One Club’s website, Ms. Green started her advertising career as a copywriter at Seventeen Magazine, where she worked for two years before joining LC Gumbinner Agency.

After that, she went to Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), and then decided to go out on her own. Unfortunately, Paula Green passed in 2015 at the age of 92. She’s best known for her work showcased in episode 3 of this series – Avis ‘We Try Harder’.

Paula Green was no one trick pony. In 2012 she was inducted to the Advertising Hall of Fame. Saying:

“I guess I was part of the first real revolution in advertising in the 60s when Bill Bernbach started it and that was an enormous revelation, an enormous change in what advertising was, what it could do, who could practice it. [It became] an art of aesthetics and of advocacy and of great boldness and honesty. Although there were a few agencies that did a few creative things, although not to the extent with the huge changed that Bernbach brought.”

We Try Harder

One of the most enduring taglines of all time, and the basis of Craftsmen of Creativity Ep.3, the “We Try Harder” line was developed for at-the-time second place, Avis.

Having been in fierce competition with Hertz for many years, Avis CEO Robert Townsend reached out to DDB and offered them a carte blanche. So much trust had Townsend in the work produced by DDB, that he offered to run anything they produced. Everyone thought it was going to fail. Not Paula though. Nor Bernbach. And as it turns out they were right. Practically overnight, Avis was able to overturn their luck as they embarked on a ‘We Try Harder’ tour to many cities around the USA.

American Cancer Society (1969)


Paula Green’s copywriting involved well-written sentences to back up her buzz-words and intelligent methodology in expressing her ideas. The examples here are no different. Stylistically, many creatives at the time – Ogilvy and Bernbach included – opted for longer copy to help hit points home. This ad was written for the American Cancer Society in 1969, and for Green, was a particularly pertinent subject, having suffered from breast cancer and survived a few years before this was made.

As is the case with the majority of her work, much of Paula’s choice of client was cause-driven. She rarely advertised products she didn’t believe in, and when she did, insisted on getting to know products as much as she possibly could. She had a moral standard that ran across the breadth of her work. For the American Cancer Society, Green wrote a poem to convince women of the importance of regular self-examination in the ongoing battle against breast cancer. 

Union Label Song (1975)

The Union Label Song is just another example of Paula Green’s cause driven work. Working alongside the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), this song would be another one of her other great successes. We agree, a song as an example of great creative work may seem unorthodox, but when a quote surfaces from President Jimmy Carter saying, “Sometimes I have a hard time deciding which I like best, ‘Hail to the Chief’ or ‘Look for the Union Label,’” you begin to understand the impact this song had. Not to mention the pick-up in newspapers and various TV shows. The song represented an enormous collective effort of the American fight for local jobs.


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