Letters, August 9, 2010

Published on .

'Mad Men' premiere prompts trips down memory lane

RE: Rance Crain's "The Real Scoop on Ad Age in the 'Mad Men' Era" (AA, July 26)

Having joined the advertising industry in 1962 as a trainee at the Leo Burnett Co., I was very much a part of the "Mad Men" era, as you headlined it in your column. Your observations were well-grounded, no doubt. As are mine. My career, albeit at essentially two agencies, included an account man's apprenticeship on the Johnson Wax account. One of my assignments was Glo Coat floor wax—which you referenced in your column. While I do not recall an ad that caused "a bit of a squeal," I do recall working diligently to discover demonstrations that ... "Glo Coat shields against black heel marks." Recognizing that the brand performed miracles on linoleum floors—which dominated kitchens in the South—I came upon a strategy that utilized Loretta Lynn and her two "black- heel-mark makers." They were her twins, Patsy and Peggy. This was the time when "Coal Miner's Daughter" was big on the charts. The rest is, as they say, history. Loretta's career flourished—perhaps not traceable to Glo Coat, but to more chart-topping songs like "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' With Lovin' on Your Mind." As for me, like you, we have both been proud to represent the only industry we know, and to serve it with distinction as Advertising Age has done over the decades.

We both have Evanston in our rearview mirrors. But, the memories do remain.

As a 21st-century creative director, my only hope is that interest in "Mad Men" brings back some respect for creative, which seems to be sorely lacking in the advertising industry over the last 20 years. I would also like to bring back afternoon martinis. I'm doing my part to bring back impatience with short-sighted clients.

Enjoyed the piece, but you left out the subtext of that scene, which may provide some comfort.

The Ad Age reporter lost his leg in Korea; he's a hero (we're to believe) who literally gave a limb for his country. Don Draper's identity was stolen, opportunistically, from a corpse in a similar field of battle. A point hammered home in Don's eyes as the reporter stands (and in his noncommittal interview, whose intention is to further obfuscate his ignoble past).

Now, which guy does "Mad Men" imply here to be the better human? As we've all seen, Draper may be the subject, but he ain't always the good guy.

(Of course, a revisionist reading on this could be that the media, slowed by a wooden leg, will be unable to keep up with the sweeping changes happening in advertising, but that's just too cynical and self-serving, even for a "soap opera.")

I love the portrayal of our industry during those times—with one exception only those of us in the business would probably notice. For me, it is an error that drives me nuts.

The '60s were the heydays of the advertising icon. Pop'n' Fresh, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, the Marlboro Man, Mr. Clean, Mr. Whipple and Mr. . Olson all came out of that era.

So why is it that Don Draper never finds a solution using such a successful technique? Heck, many of those icons, if not remembered, are still in use today.

I enjoy the show, but I will only be content once I see Don pitching Cap'n Crunch as the way to sell a sugary cereal.


Los Angeles ad agency Acento reported 2009 U.S. Hispanic revenue of $8.762 million. Ad Age's Agency Report (April 26) and Hispanic Fact Pack (July 26) incorrectly reported Acento's 2009 Hispanic revenue at $6.283 million, which actually was its stated 2008 revenue figure.

A broadcast TV network chart in the Hispanic Fact Pack (July 26, P. 31) excluded Estrella TV because of an Ad Age production error. The chart should have shown Estrella tied with Azteca America and MyNetworkTV as the nation's No. 9 network based on Hispanic viewers with a Hispanic household prime-time rating of 0.9, according to Nielsen Co. ratings for April 26 to May 30. During that period, Nielsen said, Estrella had 200,000 viewers age 2+, vs. 163,000 viewers for Azteca America and for MyNetworkTV.

RE: "Is Walmart Re-Cluttering?" (AA, July 12). The story incorrectly stated Doug McMillon, president of Walmart International, was the only executive to hold a separate press briefing during Walmart's June shareholder meeting. Sam's Club CEO Brian Cornell also held such a briefing.

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