Mad Men

Brands Jump on Moon Landing, Pregnancy Detector Debuts and Other Real 'Mad Men' Era News

Throwback Thursday: Ad Age Headlines From 1969 (and Beyond)

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The mid-season finale of Mad Men saw a few deaths, literal and figurative, and yet another potential big agency deal. In the real world, the Apollo 11 landing was the biggest piece of news at the time, and it affected the real goings-on in the ad world, as you'll see in this week's episode of Throwback Thursday: Real "Mad Men" era headlines.

Advertisers Quick to Jump on Moonwagon
Not surprisingly, Neil Armstrong's "one small step" proved to be fodder for advertisers, who rushed to put out ads commemorating the historic event. Brands such as GE, Omega and Motorola took the opportunity to remind the public that, like Neil Armstrong, they made it into space too. The article also mentions Volkswagen, which didn't make it to the moon, but delivered this witty print ad.

Apollo 11 Crew Has Improved Flight Menu Developed by General Foods
Guess who was delivering grub in space? This July 21 Ad Age article discusses how General Mills helped to improve the Apollo 11 crew's menu, with new candy bar varieties, dried fruit and sandwich spreads as well as a "freeze-dried spoon-bowl meal." Of course, Tang was there too, in an assortment of new flavors such as pineapple-grapefruit and grape.

Howard Gossage, Maverick of Ad World, Dies at 51
While "Mad Men" saw a loss, the real ad world said goodbye to one of its greatest, Howard Gossage. The founder of Freeman, Mander & Gossage passed away on July 9 at the age of 51 and was known for his offbeat campaigns for brands such as Qantas, Rainier Beer, Eagle Shirtmakers and Whisky Distillers of Ireland. He was also known for his trenchant observations: "What's so great about being a creative man? I don't think most of us have any choice. We flunked out before we ran into this peculiar thing that just happened to fit our bizarre talents. There are certain eccentricities in the personalities of most first rate creative men that render them unsuitable for other employment, except perhaps acting."

B&B's Mead Pens Book on How to Succeed by Being a Cad
The actor who played Bert Cooper, Robert Morse, was known perhaps best for his performance in the film and stage versions of the book "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," and Matthew Weiner paid tribute to Mr. Morse's Broadway chops with a fantastic sing-and-dance sequence in the finale. The book was written by agency vet Shepherd Mead and was inspired by his tenure at Benton & Bowles, where he rose from mail-room clerk to VP.

This Ad Age piece from a 1952 article cites some of Mr. Mead's jabs at creatives and account execs. For example: "The writers are thinking about the books they plan to write exposing advertising (and probably you); the artists are wondering if they can earn a living making batiks or painting sweet peas on teacups."

Weight Watchers Exec Ad
And speaking of how to succeed on the job, Ad Age reported on this new Weight Watchers ad via Ted Barash and Co. aimed at white-collar types. It said extra padding on biz execs' hips isn't great for business.

Schmid Introduces Pregnancy Detector in Medical Journals
Ad Age's latest "Mad Men" recap suggested that Peggy Olson, having a reached a milestone in her professional development with her winning Burger Chef presentation, may now be prepared to fully embrace her once-abandoned role as mother. In the real world, however, technology had reached the point where it could help ready all future matrons for that big life step, with the introduction of the first at-home pregnancy detector by contraceptive manufacturer Julius Schmid.

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