Not Mad Men & Women

Washington Post business section editors thought it might be fun to gather some present day ad people in a room and ask them about AMC’s “Mad Men” while taking their photos.

The writer on the job also had a good time, as evidenced by this nostalgia-laden missive.

In 1960, the ad industry was a Gotham-based priesthood. Advertisers bowed before the adman’s implied knowledge of consumer desire, bolstered by his expertly delivered rap, peppered with trendy pseudo-psychology.
Today, improved consumer research — including instant and deep feedback on the Internet — has sapped much of the priesthood’s power. Advertisers and consumers are both savvier, the Washington ad execs said.

That damn internet screws everything up. Someone pull the plug.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. anderson harlow says:

    Racial diversity may prevail in Washington, but in Los Angeles, it is no where to be found. Looking at the top 10 agencies, there is NO color. And less can be said for females. At least creatively. Given the amount of minorities in this city, you’d think to see a few different shades. There are very few female creative directors and no black or latinos. I’m talking at a top 10 shop, not a “minority boutique.” Mad Men is a show about advertising in
    the late 50’s where white males ruled. What’s the difference now?

  2. anderson harlow says:

    Correction. Chiat announced today the hiring of 2 new creatives. Both are African American. Bravo. Two out of 18 or so CDs ain’t bad.

  3. copy2go says:

    OMG…finally someone said it. I’ve worked in NY for a number of years and am somewhat new to Cali. Vanilla as far as the eye can see. Creative is where you really notice it. I think the ladies work in account svs. or media alone.

  4. anderson harlow:
    The creatives hired by Chiat included veterans from shops like W+K and BBDO New York. It’s hardly progress to simply steal someone else’s stars. Overall industry increase of diverse talent in this scenario: Zero percent.

  5. the reality says:

    the truth-
    So, what was Chiat supposed to do? Bring in a 22 year old African American kid to be a creative director?
    “Stealing someone else’s stars” is how it works at that level. Hopefully, by bringing in these two new guys, they’ll bring in whatever young talent is out there–white, black, whatever–and groom them to become the CDs of tomorrow.

  6. the reality,
    No, I didn’t mean to indicate there was anything wrong with Chiat’s move. I was simply reacting to another comment that seemed to imply some sort of progressive act had taken place versus the standard shifting of talent.

  7. advergal says:

    So Chiat hired 2 African Americans, lets have a parade. The fact that it’s making news is disgusting. It’s 2008 and to look at the face of advertising agencies (creatively) and see white males is a very sad state of affairs. I have 15 years copy writing experience and know of 3 female creative directors in “name” agencies. What we’re saying is that for Los Angeles to be so void of anything other than white frat boys is a shame. I thought I’d see this in Des Moines, but not California.

  8. So much for the so called “diversity” programs.
    I am a graduate of Art Center and have been awarded through various student shows. I work in an agency (I’m in media) where in a creative department of 24, all are white and the only females are the assistants. NOT jr’s, but secretaries. The only people saying racism does not exist in advertising are employed and white.

  9. The show speaks about the good ole days of advertising. It was good ole days for good ole boys and that’s about it. I agree with Anderson. Not much has changed since 1960.

  10. In defense of what’s going on right now. I don’t believe it’s outright racism. There is a void of color seeking jobs in this field to begin with. I have witnessed misogynistic behavior on an hourly basis. That’s just how it is.

  11. When it comes to period dress, Red Tettemer will not be outdone.

  12. Ray-
    Get a friggin clue. At Art Center a quarter of classes are black and latino. Half asian, easy. In most LA agencies the color is in any department besides creative. Misogny, I agree. We can’t even deal with a chick president. Maybe a black president will help people of color get into a business that remains snow white. Alot of people my age (24) consider advertising to be an old white guy business and choose to go into interactive, which is perceived to be fresh.