Mad Men

The Real 'Mad Men' Diaries: Would a Real Ad Legend Have Hired Don Draper?

Advertising's Most Powerful Woman Would Probably Have Passed

By Published on .

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Video shot and edited by Nate Skid and John Picklap

"You want to see Mary Wells sitting on Don Draper's lap?"

That memorable line from "Mad Men" is part of a recurring theme in the series -- whether Draper might end up at the hottest agency of the era, Wells Rich Greene. The lap comment uttered by Roger Sterling is actually rather ludicrous -- if any lap-sitting were to happen at all, it would likely be the other way around, given that Ms. Wells was at the time the most powerful woman in advertising.

Ad Age had the occasion to inteview Ms. Wells in 2002 when she published her book, "A Big Life in Advertising." Even then, at age 73, the woman whose shop created enduring campaigns for Alka Seltzer ("Plop, plop, fizz, fizz"); Braniff ("The end of the plain plane") and Benson & Hedges ("The disdvantages") cut quite an impressive figure.

So we asked some people who know Mary Wells -- or know of her -- whether Don Draper's porfolio of Glo-Coat, Burger Chef and Kodak Carousel ads would earn him a corner office at Wells Rich Green. (We were unable to reach Ms. Wells herself to ask).

Not many who we polled thought he stood a chance.

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