Jane Maas, copywriter considered 'the real Peggy Olson,' dies at 86

Maas was named one of Ad Age's 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising

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Jane Maas, a copywriter and advertising trailblazer who became only the second woman officer in Ogilvy & Mather's history, has passed away at the age of 86 from lung cancer, according to her longtime collaborator, Ken Roman.

Maas, who has named one of Ad Age's 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising, is perhaps best known for heading the iconic "I Love New York" campaign while at Wells Rich Greene, and she also plied her craft at Earle Palmer Brown. In 2002, during the height of the "Mad Men" frenzy, Maas penned "Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond."

Maas, who Ad Age dubbed "the real life Peggy Olson," joined Ogilvy as a junior copywriter in 1964, and worked on campaigns for brands including Maxwell House, Dove, Johnson Wax and Drano before eventually being elevated to vice president.

In a 2014 video with Ad Age, the soft-spoken but frank Maas recalled that women in advertising during its creative heyday were relegated to household brands. "We couldn't work on financial accounts because [men thought] we couldn't balance a checkbook," she said. Auto was out "because [men thought] we couldn't drive a car," and "we couldn't work on liquor, because that was what [men] used to seduce us."

In that same video, Maas cringed while recounting an ad she did for Maxim coffee that featured actress Patricia Neal enthusing about how much her husband loved it. "I can't believe I wrote that drivel," Maas said.

In 1976, Maas moved to WRG, where she worked on the Procter & Gamble business as a senior VP and also collaborated on "I Love New York" with designer Milton Glaser, creator of the world-famous campaign logo. In 1981, Maas became the first woman to head a major New York City advertising agency she didn't found as president of Muller Jordan Weiss.

Over her long career, Maas won 47 creative awards and served on the board of directors of the 4A's and Advertising Women of New York. She was also a recipient of a Matrix Award from Women in Communications.

In addition to "Mad Women," Maas co-authored "How to Advertise" with Ken Roman, former Chairman-CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. "Jane was my creative partner, co-author on my first book and my supporter and friend for more than 50 years," Roman told Ad Age. "She exuded love. Copy meetings started with her kissing every client in the room. But she was steely in her resolve to make things come out her way. Jane was a great partner, a great friend, a great lady."

Maas even wrote her own obituary, Roman said.

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