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Mad Men

McCann Absorbs an Agency: Real Headlines From the 'Mad Men' Era

Throwback Thursday: More Ad Age Stories From 1970

By Published on .

Spoilers can't be avoided in this week's roundup of real Ad Age headlines from the "Mad Men" era, so stop reading now if Sunday's episode is still waiting for you on your DVR.

In "Time & Life," the 11th episode of the final season, we saw Sterling Cooper & Partners about to enter a new phase of its existence: non-existence, as the partners learn the shop is to be "swallowed up" by parent company McCann-Erickson. The news draws one last rally from Don Draper and team, despite the fact that, in the words of McCann's Jim Hobart, they were "dying and going to advertising heaven." But what was happening in the real ad world at the time? In some ways it was about the same.


McCann Absorbs Mathisson Shop; Gets Miller Too
The key plotline of last Sunday's episode was Sterling Cooper & Partners' absorption into parent shop McCann-Erickson. In the real world, McCann did that very deed to Milwaukee agency Mathisson & Co., acquiring the agency's beer client, Miller, in the process.


The Franklin Sisters Sing for Coca-Cola
In the episode, McCann's Jim Hobart tells the partners they've "won" and should be rejoicing over the news: each (save for Joan Holloway) will get a choice client -- including Buick for Roger Sterling and Nabisco for Pete Campbell. Don Draper would score the biggest with Coca-Cola. Should he go that way, we can imagine him not only enjoying "international travel" and "adventure," but also hobnobbing with music stars like Aretha Franklin, seen here with her sisters and then-music producer Bill Lyons prepping for some Coke radio ads.


Marceau Speaks in Moet Champagne's First TV Commercial
Marcel Marceau, the famous mime, became a spokesman, literally, in Moet champagne's first TV ad, created out of Della Femina Travisano & Partners. Typically known for not speaking, he opened his mouth to promote the bubbly: "For once, what I want to say I have to say in words." It was Mr. Marceau's first commercial appearance.


TvQ's Top Ten for Nighttime Network TV
Back in 1970, there was no "Bachelor," no "Game of Thrones." So what were nighttime TV viewers watching? This TvQ survey from the Home Testing Institute found that the top three evening programs were ABC's "Marcus Welby," NBC's "Wonderful World of Disney" and CBS's "Medical Center."


Skirt Scene Bemuses Admen -- Even at Work
Back in 1970, advertising had a hemline problem. Agencies and marketers were at odds over how much leg women should be revealing in ads -- the more fashionable, but less mainstream (and less revealing) midi? Or the mini?


Adman Should Help Public Adjust to Increasing Pace of Change: Toffler
This sounds kind of familiar. In his best-selling book "Future Shock" author Alvin Toffler wrote about the accelerating pace of societal change, "leading to specialized media, a growing consumer rebellion against change, new approaches to the durations of ad campaigns, and a need to reward some people with satisfying psychological experiences rather than money or other tangibles." He called ad professionals "the front line of 'future shock'" because they experienced every day "the high rate of turnover ... and the necessity of making enormous and constantly changing kaleidoscopic adjustments on the job with respect to consumer tastes, families, organizations, people and life styles."

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