Boston Ad (Wo)Men Recreate “Mad Men” Era

From our Everything “Mad Men” Is New Again desk

The New York Times reports that the fifth season premiere of AMC’s Mad Men is the real March Madness.

After ‘Mad Men’ Drought, Hoping to Slake a Thirst

The fifth season of “Mad Men,” the drama series about advertising and America in the 1960s, is to begin on the AMC cable channel on Sunday. It has been 17 months since the final episode of Season 4, and that hiatus — twice as long as usual — has whetted the appetites of fans and those hoping to entice them to buy magazines, books, clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and other merchandise.

Among the enticers:

Perhaps the most ambitious effort is being made by Newsweek and its online partner, The Daily Beast, part of IAC/InterActiveCorp, which will bring out on Monday a double issue of the print and tablet editions of the magazine that are designed to mirror the Newsweek graphics of the ’60s.

The “special retro-modern issue” of Newsweek:

The Boston connection:

Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, an agency in Boston that is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, worked with the Newsweek Daily Beast executives to bring the project to fruition.

“We positioned the sales pitch, the idea of creating custom ads, and we even sold a few to our clients,” said Karen Kaplan, president at Hill, Holliday, referring to Dunkin’ Donuts, whose ad carries the headline “Say ‘Yup!’ to America’s favorite cup,” and John Hancock, whose ad, in black and white, carries the headline “Pessimism is a darn lousy investment strategy.”

Newsweek is getting “a lot of new advertisers” who were “specifically interested in being in this issue because of the content,” Ms. Kaplan said. Of the 30 ad pages, Mr. Gregory said, 25 or 26 were created for the issue.

Boston Business Journal helpfully adds “3 Reasons Mad Men’s Return Is Good For Boston:”

1. “Mad Men” serves as a potent reminder that the advertising business is cool. Local ad executives have said the show, which is set in the 1960s, has elevated the profile of the ad industry and also made it mysterious again.

2. The launch of the new season also will provide ample water cooler chatter (excuse me, Twitter chatter) for the next several months. People, especially ad types, love to blog about the show. And they love to tweet about it. Here are two written by Boston execs: “Mad Men, Trust Me, and now, Soul for Sale”; and a Hill Holliday    blog post, “Pictures from the Edge of the Mad Men era.”

3. Lastly, “Mad Men” allows Boston ad veterans to live vicariously through Draper, who still exists in a simple world where your boss might offer you a tumbler of whiskey at 10 a.m. and a focus group of a dozen women was still the main way to generate real-world research for an ad campaign about pantyhose or face cream.

Let the Mad rumpus begin!

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