I adore the new AMC series ‘Madmen.’ It beautifully captures the look and feel of a time when advertising men ruled the world (or, so it must have seemed).
Named for what advertising execs called themselves in the halycon days of 1960, Madmen follows the in-and-out of office exploits of advertising guys who drink, smoke and wench to excess.
I’ve read quite a few reviews and letters in the ad trade pubs that either love or detest the series. Some say it doesn’t remotely resemble the BBDO of 1960 (on which the fictitious Stirling Cooper agency in the show is based). Other old-timers say it’s spot on.
Regardless of how accurate Madmen is, it comes at a particularly bad time for advertising. Despite what some say, I’m seeing more and more advertising dollars being diverted to ‘below-the-line’ functions such as PR, digital and word-of-mouth.
In fact, it’s got to be scary to be a big agency guy right now. Budgets are being slashed, brand loyalty has clearly become a thing of the past and chief marketing officers are dying faster than Mayflies.
All of which must make more than one ad guy wish he had an office set-up like lead Madmen character Don Draper’s. When Don’s stressed, he and the boys merely light up their cancer sticks, pour a tall glass of scotch and gossip about the hot women in the secretarial pool.
If today’s politically correct environment and unforgiving business climate were to be captured in a similar AMC series, it might be more appropriate to call it ‘Sadmen.’