I first saw this ad as a double page spread in this week’s Economist. My first thought was, "how sad". It’s not as if he needs the money and it felt like a sell out by one of the few who have never sold out. However, it’s a fantastic photograph – by Annie Leibovitz – with great depth and detail. A great portrait. And, as it did with me, it will stop readers in their tracks and make them read, so I guess it serves its purpose. I get the "emotional journey" tag, I understand the connection they’re trying to make but does it work? Well, despite myself, at the very edges of my mind I can here a small voice saying, "well, if it works for him…"
And he is donating his fee to charity. And it is the first ad he has ever done, so he must have seen the value (not pecuniary) himself.
When all is said and done (and there is plenty being said), it is a great portrait.