Burnett Quits Entering Awards, Media Director Turns Bikini Model: Real Headlines From 'Mad Men' Days
In Sunday's episode of "Mad Men" -- spoilers here, if you're not caught up -- we seemed to say farewell to Megan, who got a $1 million check as a consolation prize for putting up with Don's bad behavior. We found out that the other former Mrs. Draper, Betty, is pursuing a psychology degree. and while she's moving on to bigger and better things, we saw Don onto his next conquest, the mysterious Dos Passos-reading waitress Diana -- who ultimately ended up giving him the boot, because she has issues too.
But what was happening in the real ad world at the time? Find out in this week's edition of "Read Ad Age Headlines."
No More Awards Competitions for Leo Burnett Co.
In July, 1970, Leo Burnett declared it would no longer be entering awards competitions. Exec VP-Creative Services Howard Shank issued a company-wide memo saying that the agency funds that had gone to entering awards shows -- running into the tens of thousands of dollars -- would be diverted to more worthy causes, such as scholarships or on-the-job training for advertising hopefuls. The decision wasn't a "sour grapes" reaction, as the agency continued to do well on the awards circuit. Rather, Mr. Shanks said, "We see an opportunity to put our contest-entering to a use that seems more timely and appropriate to this day and this society." The agency, of course, eventually changed its tune. In 2014, it ranked as the No. 3 most awarded network in Ad Age's Awards Report.
Cats were big in the '70s too! A surprising product move from British Steel Corp. -- stockings made out of steel thread -- led to this ad that used a cute feline to demo the kitty-proof aspect of the pantyhose.
Women's Libs Fume at 'Insulting' Ads; Ad Gals Are Unruffled
This July 1970 article discusses how the women's liberation movement has targeted advertising as one of the industries that has done the most "harm" to its cause by "supporting and reenforcing [sic] the 'sexist status quo.'" It goes on to describes libbers' tactics against speaking out against harmful ads, such as by placing stickers saying "This exploits women" or "This ad insults women" on the culprit messages. Addressing the topic of discrimination against females, the piece includes quotes from Mary Wells Lawrence, who said, "I've never been discriminated against in my life, and I think the women who have experienced it would have anyway -- no matter if they were men, or cows, or what have you." In her view, advertising has helped women achieve a higher standard of living than their counterparts in other countries. "The negatives of advertising are very small in comparison to the great advantages. Housekeeping is boring or not boring, depending on the individual's attitude, and anything a manufacturer can do to make running a household easier or more creative can only be positive." On the topic of the demonstrations and sit-ins that have helped fuel the movement, Ms. Wells said, "These actions are like a kid having a tantrum. There are more constructive ways to influence management."
Dandruff, Body Odor, Nasty Words in Italy; P&G, Beecham Overcome
Despite national crises such as inflation, flights of capital and citizens' government distrust, Italy's economy was thriving in 1970, and alongside it, the country's advertising industry. Those factors had made it prime territory for the introduction of "new" products, cultural practices and advertising "techniques." For example, the article notes, "in a country where dental hygiene so far has largely depended on toothpicks and eating apples to clean teeth, David Campbell-Harris of J. Walter Thompson (Italia) is particularly proud of a program his agency is carrying out under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Health & Education to promote dental care among children." The agency set up a "Center for Dental Hygiene" that sent technicians to schools to teach kids about oral health and provide them with toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Capitol Promotes Rock Group with Huge Outdoor Billboard
In 1970, New York City's Times Square saw the largest ever outdoor billboard sponsored by the recording industry, by Capitol Records, to promote Grand Funk Railroad. The company paid $100,000 for the sign, which spanned the entire length of the block on the west side of Broadway, from 45th through 46th streets.
Harper Out Again -- via Votes of Rostenfeld, Sirowitz, Silent Trio
Marion Harper Jr., president of six-month old agency Harper Rosenfeld Sirowitz received the boot from his company's board of directors, for what sources said were his 'inaccessability, inability to make fast decisions, and his seeming difficulty in communicating with associates, even though they might be peers." Such factors reportedly were similar to why Mr. Harper was ousted from a previous big post three years prior -- when he was President/CEO of Interpublic Group of Cos.
Media Director Turns Model Turns Head Bookkeeper (and Client Bait)
This gem from Ad Age's "Photo Review" discusses the career trajectory of "bespectacled" Cathie Whittenberger, media director at Kansas City agency Barrett/Yehle. Needing a bikini model on short notice for an industrial client's film, the shop convinced Ms. Whittenberger to do it. The project was so "spectacular" that the agency named her head bookkeeper and, uh, included her department on "every client tour of the agency."