Mad Men

'Mad Men' Throwback Thursday: More Real Ad Headlines From the Final Season

Mary Wells Lawrence Is Richest Woman Exec; Feminine Spray Gets Its Day

By Published on .

This week on Mad Men, Betty Draper tried to be a better mom and posed for what could have been the best "Got Milk?" ad ever, Peggy Olson got passed over for a Clio and Don Draper finally returned to SC&P (although not before the partners considered investing his allocation instead in, of all things, a computer). He's back under less than ideal circumstances: He can't drink at the office, he can't hang out with clients by himself and (shudder) he has to report to Lou Avery.

But what was going on in the real ad world at the time?

Find out in this week's edition of Throwback Thursday Ad Age Headlines. with stories from April 1969.

Don't Sneer at Computers

Data was a big deal, even 30+ years ago. On Sunday, SC&P's Jim Cutler sang the praises of the computer in trying to oust Don. But according to Herbert Maneloveg, media chief of Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, New York (aka BBDO) in this Ad Age byline from April 1969, it's a balance between high-powered computing, data and intuition that will lead to successful marketing. (Which doesn't sound so different from the talk about Big Data today, actually.)

Mrs. Lawrence is Highest Paid Woman Exec in History

Hot shop of the day Wells Rich Greene continued to be a topic of conversation on "Mad Men" this week. Don Draper weighed an offer from the agency, while Roger Sterling frightened the SC&P leaders into keeping Don on with an image of Mary Wells sitting in Don's lap. Mrs. Lawrence, however, was busy doing other things -- like re-upping her contract with WRG for 10 years and getting a $50,000 jump in salary to $225,000 a year. The move made her not only the highest paid female exec in history, but the highest paid ad exec at the time. She bested the $100,000 salary of her husband, president of Braniff International, as well as the top execs at a number of her clients.

Agency Salary Trend Is Up, Up, Up

Speaking of salaries, a study from management consulting firm Rubel & Humphrey showed that in 1969, agency salaries jumped considerably since the firm's last survey from 1965. The rise in wages was true for most agency functions. Those on the creative side enjoyed the largest salary increases. At the time, a creative director at an agency making $40 million or more in billings earned an average of $61,370, while the CEO made $94, 260 -- both far below what Mary Wells was making at WRG.

Admen's Longevity Changed Little in '68

It seems the higher wages weren't doing anything for admen's life spans. In 1969, one of Ad Age's hard-hitting studies included an annual survey of obituaries in industry-related fields, which we began conducting in 1950. We found that the advertising professional's average life span in 1968 was 61.6 years old, just a small drop from the 1967 average of 61.7 years. Broadcasters had it worse -- with an average age at death at 57 years, while newsmen held the longevity trophy at 69.9 years. (We're looking into when we stopped the obituary studies.)

Housewives Can Be Sexy Too - Are Advertisers Losing Out in Sex Appeal?

Previously in Throwback Thursday headlines, a Grey advertising study found that sex was becoming a "Potent Ad Influence" as advertisers like Dodge became more forward in using it to entice consumers. Motivational psychologist Ernest Dichter discussed a more nuanced approach to using sex as a selling tool in this April Ad Age article. He suggested, for example, moving away from vanilla sex and incorporating "new angles" and "gourmet" touches. He also advised that married women not be stripped of their sex appeal, while advertisers shouldn't tout a single, stereotypical beauty ideal. He noted that some found "thin as sticks" women like Twiggy the ideal, while others preferred the "middle-aged" Sophia-Loren and Elizabeth Taylor (35 and 37 at the time, respectively).

Feminine Spray Ads Go on Air
In case you were wondering when feminine hygiene spray ads hit the broadcast airwaves, it was in 1969, after the NAB TV board ruled the category as "fit" for video advertising.

Hemorrhoid meds, however, weren't as lucky and remained a taboo ad subject. NBC was the first to jump on the fem spray and ran three different ads during the pre-4pm slot. CBS and ABC, however, weren't ready to take the leap into the lady products.

Most Popular