The advertising industry will really, really miss ‘Mad Men’




Perhaps no one will miss Mad Men more than the real-life mad men and women in today’s advertising industry.

When the hit series ended its seven-season run last week, Mad Men left the industry in a different place than it was in 2007, when Don Draper first quipped about selling happiness and love along with nylons. By using the advertising business as a backdrop for its painstakingly rendered journey into the past, the show had a marked influence on the way the public sees advertising and how advertising professionals see themselves.

It’s no surprise the show enjoyed a dedicated following among the men and women of the industry it chronicled. Three-martini lunches and smoke-filled board rooms may be relics of a bygone era, but today’s ad professionals found plenty to relate to in the workplace dramas of Sterling Cooper’s employees.

Besides Mad Men, there are very few TV shows or movies that faithfully represent the ad business, execs said. The series was the first accurate, if somewhat glamorized, glimpse many Americans had into the sausage-making of creating and selling ads.


Before this, all we had wasBewitched,” says DDB North American president Mark O’Brien

Before this, all we had was Bewitched,” says DDB North American president Mark O’Brien.

Several ad executives told Mashable that when Mad Men was at its best, it reminded them why they got into the business in the first place.

A now-famous clip in which Don Draper pitches a Kodak slide projector as a nostalgic time machine — a play on the word Carousel — resonated with current advertising power brokers because it showed how a single transformative idea could change the way the world sees a product.

“That’s still the magic in what we do,” O’Brien says. “I think it helped rekindle that feeling of pride and understanding that what we are really doing is trying to touch people’s emotions.”

Every profession has what sociologists call an “occupational mythology,” a romanticized notion of the job’s character that injects a sense of purpose beyond a paycheck and draws in new blood. Personal failings aside, Draper’s maverick creative genius persona embodied that spirit for advertising.




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