Creative talent comes in many guises. In the case of Mike Lazur it was as an award-winning Worldwide Creative Director with a passion to continually find new and innovative ways to build clients’ brands.
Mike wanted to be a creative advertising person as long as he could remember, as evidenced by the ads he created while lying on his parents’ living room floor at nine years of age. He studied art and advertising and graduated from the School of Visual Arts. Fresh out of art school during the recession of the seventies, he was lucky and talented enough to land a full time job as Assistant Art Director with the consumer agency Papert, Koenig, and Lois (PKL) in NYC. It was there that he got his advertising feet wet and helped work on notable brands such as Triumph sports cars (namely the TR6, TR7 and Spitfire), Prince Matchabelli perfumes (Cachet, Windsong) and British Leyland’s Land Rover.
In 1976, Mike was hired away from PKL to work for a fledgling new agency startup in New Jersey called Thomas G. Ferguson Associates. Ferguson’s agency was Mike’s entrée into the healthcare marketing field, and for four-and-a-half years he helped Ferguson build his brand.
In 1981, Clyde Davis, Creative Director for Klemtner Advertising in NYC, hired Mike as Senior Art Director to work on brands from Pfizer, Ayerst, E.R. Squibb and USV. Mike’s first successful campaign was for the antihypertensive Lozol from USV Labs. In 1983, he received a call from Joe Torre to come work for his new agency, Salthouse, Torre, Ferrante. In 1992, after building the art department from scratch, and having a great number of successful new product launches under his belt, Mike’s contributions to the agency’s success and growth were recognized by making him a partner, and changing the name of the agency to Torre Lazur.
Mike’s creative expertise and executive skills were the driving force behind an unprecedented string of successful product introductions, helping to build the firm’s reputation as “The Launch Agency.” Over a 20-plus year period Mike contributed to some of the industry’s major successful new product launches and re-launches. Among the many successful launches Mike creatively spearheaded were: Paxil, Tagamet 300, Voltaren, Anafranil, Diovan, Habitrol, and Dyazide.
With this new position, more successful new product launches than any other agency and nine-time winner of Med Ad News’ prestigious “Agency of the Year” award, the agency was poised for global growth, which prompted Mike and his partner, Joe Torre, to find a qualified suitor to help them. They partnered with McCann Erickson, one of the largest consumer agencies in the world. It was there that Mike became Chief Creative Officer worldwide for the healthcare extension of McCann and helped to build the company into a worldwide success.
Mike is noted for his ability to nurture and grow young talent. Through his easygoing management and mentoring style, he has been responsible for many young creative people now enjoying leadership positions in our industry. He is known for always giving credit to the people who did the work and came up with the ideas. While Mike contributed much to the creative side of the business, he would always take a back seat to getting the credit for the award-winning work.
Mike attributes his personal success and that of the agency to constant creative innovation, mentoring his creative staff and always closely guiding the creative people and the agencies creative process to do the best possible work with the utmost in client service. Torre Lazur’s creative culture today is a reflection of Mike’s easy going manner, his creative spirit, his mentoring and managing abilities and his absolute attention to clients’ needs. Mike never managed with a heavy hand, but rather guided and coaxed the best from his subordinates.
Mike’s talent can be witnessed through the many awards that line the shelves of Torre Lazur. Because of that talent, Mike was asked and has served as Chairman of The Global Awards for many years. Under his leadership and while carrying clout with the title of Chief Creative Officer Worldwide for Torre Lazur McCann, The Global Awards flourished, especially on the international scene.
Mike has lectured numerous times to both industry creatives and clients alike regarding the importance of honesty in creativity and strategy so that the ultimate audience, the practitioner, will learn, understand, prescribe and use the brand safely.
After 35 years in the industry, Mike has left an indelible mark and a legacy of creative and business success.