Mad Men: Coming Thursday

Once upon a time, advertising was glamorous hucksterism…for white people in suits living the dream on Madison Avenue, growing fat on three-martini lunches and TV media commissions.

From the AMC website:

Mad Men is AMC’s provocative new original series from writer and executive producer Matthew Weiner of The Sopranos. Set in 1960 New York, Mad Men pulls the viewer into an unexpected new world – the high-powered and glamorous “Golden Age” of advertising – where everyone is selling something and nothing is ever what you expect it to be.

I know I’m interesed in seeing this. Do you think it’ll be good? Bad? Ever wish you were born 40 years earlier? Do you know any codgers who were around back then who can vouch for the series’ authenticity, or lack thereof?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. telecom says:

    That Amy Winehouse tune is dynamite. You could sell urinal cakes with it. No harm in trying.

  2. i think it looks great. already received some nice reviews. i worked with one of the actors (rich sommer) on a spot last year, he’s really good. already have the tivo set for it.

  3. I’m really hoping it’s good.
    But recent-historical dramas have a spotty track record.
    Here’s a question: How many episodes before the first article about how sexism is alive and well in the industry and hasn’t evolved much since the 1960s?
    Advertising seemed like a more “glamorous”/high profile profession back then. The flip is it was much whiter/WASPier (no ethnics allowed) and tended to recruit from the Ivy schools and similar.
    And yes, I’d have loved to have been one of those people who’d worked at Y&R or BBDO for 25 years when they were bought out by WPP and Omnicom so I could retire in great comfort and luxury.

  4. It definitely was WASPier, but there was no shortage of Italian and Jewish folks making it in the biz back then.

  5. @Yikes: Not true, my friend. Study your ad history.
    The whole Creative Revolution of the 1960s was fueled by all those Jews and Italians who were shut out of the creative departments of big agencies and found a home at an upstart called Doyle Dane Bernbach.
    It was only after the success of DDB and its ilk that other agencies started opening their doors to white ethnics.

  6. I saw a behind-the-scenes look on Mad Men this past weekend and it looked good enough where I’ll at least watch the first episode.
    I’ll be interested to hear other’s opinions on the authenticity as well – they were going on and on about it (right down to towel bars and corsets) in the program.

  7. DDB is what I was referring to. It opened in 1949, if my ad history recollection is correct.
    Well before the 60s.
    Their 60s successes then caused BBDO, Y&R et al to pinch their talent with more vowels in their last names, then the fine folks who spun off such as Ally & Gargano got their starts.
    Pre-DDB, liliest of whites. Agreed on that.

  8. Guys…
    My first job in the US was at B&B in 1964 and my Art Director was Gene Frederico… And if you don’t know who he was, you should be shot. You’re also forgetting that long before Ally & Gargano (who’s AD wife I also worked with at B&B, there was PKL… The L being the legendary (I’ll punch you on the fucking nose) George Lois. There were quite a few hot shops in the sixties… DeGarmo and Jack Tinker were classic examples, and I eworked at both. Yes, I am an old fart, and yes, I will be reviewing Mad Men on Friday on AdScam… So stay tuned.
    Oh, and all the people I worked with in those days were Americans. I don’t understand the American obbsession with calling themselves another nationality. If you are born here… You’re an American. Live with it.

  9. @Yikes: Yes- we are both talking about the 1950s. DDB didn’t really hit their stride until the early 60s though- maybe the late 50s.
    @Parker: As I posted on Madscam, you’re not as old as you think: the era of exclusivity was over by the time you got here.

  10. george hath spaketh!
    he was there!
    not everyone can appreciate the nuance of what he said. carl ally. PKL. de Garmo. Gilbert. and oh yeah, DDB.
    am i right george?

  11. @Veedub (and George): I’ll be curious to see your take on whether MadMen reflects the “Creative Revolution” era in advertising or the time immdiately before that. Given that television shows have been known to play fast and loose with timelines and all that.

  12. toad,
    i’m guessing the AMC went for the waspy pre-ddb/carl ally, man in the grey flannel suit vintage nyc ad scene. with a bit of Putney Swope thrown in for fun.
    it’s going to be interesting to watch either way though.

  13. @veedub: Seems you’re correct. Check out Alessandra Stanley’s review in today’s NY Times:
    I’ve blogged on it as well.