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'Many a Grateful Widow': New York Life Ads in 'Mad Men' Days and Today

Ads Asked Husbands Whether They're Taking Care of Their Wives

By Published on . 2

New York Life's primary marketing goals haven't changed much since the Mad Men era, but the way it talks to consumers certainly had to.

"It was the husband was a good provider and 'Are you taking care of your wife?' " New York Life Senior VP Liz McCarthy told Ad Age Editor Abbey Klaassen in this video, produced in collaboration with Newsweek and The Daily Beast for Newsweek's retro "Mad Men" issue. "And everybody was white."

New York Life started acknowledging shifting norms in its ads in the 1970s, but Ms. McCarthy said they now look just as anachronistic as those from the Mad Men days.

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