Back when Don Draper was swilling Scotch in his corner office, debating how to solve Lucky Strike's marketing conundrums, Ad Age was all over in the industry. And it was no young pub -- in 1970 the publication was already 40 years old.
In this video from 1970, unearthed from the Ad Age archives, Jack Graham, then-editor of Advertising Age; Sid Bernstein, long-time editor and publisher of Ad Age; and G.D. Crain Jr., who founded Ad Age and its parent company, Crain Communications, discuss Ad Age's first 40 years with Rance Crain, G.D.'s son, who remains Ad Age's editor in chief today.
And while a lot has changed since then, some things haven't. In the 23rd minute, G.D. Crain talks about the power of supplying "a needed and useful type of business information" -- the reason for Ad Age's existence today -- and "that a publication doing that job would be successful. ... I felt that if such a publication attracted the readers that represented the buying power of the market there would be no problem on advertising."
Mr. Crain launched Advertising Age in 1930. "I didn't take the depression into account," he said. "Fortunately nobody told me we were going to have one of that length and duration or perhaps I wouldn't have had the nerve to start something under those auspices."
Around the six-minute mark Sid Bernstein recounts how he joined Ad Age -- he was second choice for a job as "office boy." Not bad for a guy who turned out to be a longtime editor and then publisher.
Around 12:30 or so they talk about the interplay between Washington and the business press. Ad Age established coverage of Washington in 1939. While it was never an advertising center or considered of any consequence in the field until the New Deal. Herbert Hoover, as Secretary of Commerce, encouraged interaction with the business press.
At 17 minutes G.D. Crain remembered one of his early advertisers: Esquire. Its ads supplanted a back-page illustrated account of the news, creating an ad position on the back cover of Advertising Age that Esquire used every issue for a number of years.