It’s a ‘Mad’ World

On Sunday night, one of my favorite TV shows of all time premiered its third season. For those of you who haven’t already caught ‘Mad Men’ fever, the show is set on Madison Avenue in the early 60s at the fictional Sterling Cooper ad agency, and provides a glimpse of the “good ‘ol days” way before email, social media and political correctness. It also showcases the industry when it was largely male-dominated, clients and bosses were happy according to how many martinis were consumed at lunch, and budgets were seemingly sky-high – a stark contrast to today’s world.  Competitiveness is revered and the few women who get ahead struggle with being taken serious compared to their male counterparts.

Every time I watch, there is a part of me that wishes it was still as simple as it was back then – sexism aside, of course. I mean, how great would it be to get a client to agree on a campaign strategy over a three-martini lunch instead of battling over creative briefs and budget constraints? And to breeze into a meeting 5 minutes late, paint a picture of how the ad might look and leave in an air of confidence, a la Don Draper.

But of course, we’re very far away from that world now. TV ad sales are declining and the focus is on user generated content and getting more bang for the buck via social media platforms. Twitter is a recognized verb and noun, and the facebook phenomenon is still rampant (just think how happy would Don Draper and his cronies would be if they could have selected their secretaries using facebook!).

Although set in the 60s, the show has crossed generations to leverage these new marketing techniques to its advantage. You can take a personality quiz online to find out which Mad Men character you’re most like, or MadMenYourself and create your own Mad Men avatar. You can follow Mad Men on facebook and get constant updates on the show and its story lines.

My 'MadMenMyself' Avatar

 All of the Mad Men characters even have twitter accounts, and tweet completely in character – something I still haven’t totally wrapped my head around…I mean, they are supposed to be in the 60s! @PeggyOlson recently tweeted: “I swear @JoanHolloway gave me the worst secretary in the office. I’d rather work w/ @SecretaryPool than listen to @Lola_Secty gossip all day.” And @Roger_Sterling: “I don’t care if Stoli is made by commies. Life is too short for bad vodka, although it’d be even shorter without it at all.”

If you work in the industry, then you especially appreciate Mad Men’s portrayal of client service and agency-life, even if it’s a far stretch from what it’s like today. And even if you don’t work in the industry, the quippy one liners and fashion are enough to make anyone a fan. Till next week… in the words of Don Draper, “What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons.”

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

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