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Mad Men

McCann Makes Coke Pants, Celebrates Miller Win: Real Mad Men Headlines

Throwback Thursday: More Ad Age Stories from 1970 and Beyond

By Published on .

Many believed Sunday's episode of "Mad Men" to be one of its finest, filled with bitter, and bittersweet moments. Don totally checks out of a big McCann meeting about Miller's new diet beer and drives off in search of something he'll likely never find. Joan realizes there's little respect or support for her talent at her new "home" and (after much internal struggle) decides to leave too, with 50 cents on the dollar for her shares in the company. Meanwhile, Peggy and Roger share some touching moments together in the bones of their old office.

But what was happening in the real world at the time? Find out in this edition of Real Headlines.


While he vacationed in England, McCann-Erickson Chicago VP Richard Irwin also acted as "official courier" to present the Bunny of the Year at the London Playboy Club. So back then real McCann execs -- not just Ferg Donnelly -- really knew "how to mix business with pleasure," as the article states.


In 1970, Sterling Cooper & Partners wasn't Avon's real agency. The cosmetics brand's actual shop at the time was Dreher Advertising, which had supported it for 33 years. In 1971, however, the brand added big shop Ogilvy & Mather to its roster, to handle its children and teen lines.


In the last episode, McCann execs gathered to discuss a new campaign for Miller "diet" beer, after the execs mentioned the agency's absorption of a Milwaukee shop (Mathisson & Co. -- real news that we happened to mention in last week's headlines). This article discusses McCann's debut work for the brand, which shifts from the "champagne of bottled beers" messaging to the new line "If you've got the time, we've got the beer."


McCann's absorption of Mathisson and the resulting Miller acquisition were cause for celebration. The agency's execs here are seen "beaming with pleasure," unlike Roger, Joan, Peggy, Roger and the others.


Can you imagine Don Draper making these pants? Yeah, we can't either, so it was probably a good call that he walked out of McCann. The agency created the beach slacks as part of a summer Coca-Cola giveaway on May 24, 1971. The unfortunate people who didn't win them were able to purchase them later for a whopping $2.98 in New York stores.


And it wasn't just pants. McCann-Erickson N.Y. and Coke went on to make shorts for the midwestern market later that summer. They were actually part of a "Great Summer Put-Ons" effort which, at the time, was the "most heavily supported promotion" ever undertaken by the brand.

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