In New York City in the late 1950s and the 1960s - the era and location of TV's Mad Men - advertising went through a revolution. In a booming market, a punchy and proud new workforce of younger, multi-ethnic writers and art directors gorged themselves on a vibrant and artistic social scene.
In many ways they were similar to Don Draper, Roger Sterling and Peggy Olsen: confident, driven and ambitious, they lived the three-martini life and worked the machine to their advantage. Also clever, creative and streetwise, they outclassed and outthought the old advertising establishment, implementing a new way of thinking and behaving which spread across the newspapers, magazines and TV screens of America and beyond.
The story of modern advertising starts here, with these real Mad Men - and women - of Madison Avenue who created the most radical and influential advertising ever, transforming the methods, practice and execution of the business. Their legacy still resounds in the industry today.
How did this golden age of advertising happen? It is a remarkable, inspiring story of creativity, ingenuity and larger than life personalities who made it up as they went along.
Written by a former copywriter working during the Creative Revolution of the 1960s, Cracknell's account of the heyday of advertising currently being explored on AMC's hit show Mad Men is a terrific supplement to the show, as well as a primer on the evolution of the industry. Weaving quotes from the groundbreaking show into his historical narrative, Cracknell illustrates how iconic campaigns such as "The Man in the Hathaway Shirt," the VW "Think Small" ads, and Avis' "We Try Harder" revolutionized the industry, and what it was like to toil in the agencies that produced such work. Populated by colorful characters like David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach, Carl Ally, and the beautiful, tough-talking Mary Wells, it's clear that the TV series is for the most part true to life. From flagrant sexual harassment on account of the prevalent boys' club atmosphere to a violent fight just before a Christmas party resulting in a bloodied office, there was plenty of drama to go around, though the offices weren't as liquored up as Mad Men may lead one to believe. Still, agencies like DDB, PKL, Wells Rich Greene, and others created some of the most compelling and lasting promotional work. Advertising geeks will gobble this up, but even those completely unaware of Don Draper and Sterling Cooper will appreciate this lively and spirited account. Photos.