Mad Men

Throwback Thursday: Real Headlines From 'Mad Men' Era

Computers Are OK, Moms Are Pissed and Pervs Have it Bad

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During Sunday's "Mad Men," the future arrived at SC&P in the form of an IBM 360, which sent the creatives into a tizzy -- primarily by hogging space in their huddle room. Other big changes: Peggy became Don's boss on the Burger Chef account, Don started drinking in the office again and then drunk-dialed Freddy Rumsen, who forebodingly asked him, " Are you just going to kill yourself and give them what they want?" Meanwhile, things were a little lighter in the world of the Sterling family, as daughter Margaret went full-on hippy, joined a commune and changed her name to "Marigold."

But what real news was going on in the ad world at the time? Check out the latest in our Throwback Thursday Ad Age headlines, this time from May 1969.

Once Kinks Are Ironed Out, Computer Media Planning Works Okay

The rise of the computer to modernize media planning is evident in one May 1969 story from Ad Age about how Cleveland agency Lang, Fisher & Stashower had sped up its processes. Speed, however, is a relative term. The agency used a a third-gen "machine" that was stashed at G.E.'s information processing center, "linked by telephone lines to the agency's downtown office." According to the agency' head of data system development, "we can automatically make our data input during the night and have our answers back from the computer when we arrive at work the next day."

Heinz Changes Logo; Drops Famous 57

After 100 years in the business, Ketchup brand Heinz decided it needed a change and dropped the 57 from its name, as well as its keystone shape, in favor of a streamlined marque against a bright red background. Today's logo, however, seems to have gone back to the olden days, and the ketchup once again bears the 57, what founder Henry Heinz had dubbed a "lucky number" that would cleverly illustrate the numerous (60+) products the company had.

Burnett to Acquire $85,000,000 in Billing with LPE Purchase

May 1969 also saw Leo Burnett's biggest deal in history at the time -- the acquisition of LPE, one of the U.K's largest agencies, with billings of $85 million. The deal would raise Burnett's total billings to $375 million, moving the shop up from the eighth to fifth largest shop after JWT, McCann, Y&R and Dentsu.

Mom Unhappy with 'Improvements' That Don't Improve, Warwick Says

Mother's Day is right around the corner, and this May 9, 1969, article gives more proof as to why moms are so special. Agency Warwick & Legler surveyed 1,162 housewives and determined that they found certain product "innovations" were more annoying, than helpful -- such as packages that don't tear where they say "tear here," "coding that stymies attempts to tell if bread or cake is fresh" and "toilet tissue that can't unroll without ripping several feet of tissue." Seems much hasn't changed since then.

A Warning to People Who Make Obscene Phone Calls

Here's one way a telecom firm can promote its technology: target the pervs. Long before the days of caller ID, this ad via DDB that aired in a May issue of Life magazine promoted General Telephone & Electronics' sophisticated phone tracing and voice printing technology via a warning to all those heavy breathers out there. See a closeup of the copy here.

Creative Folk Strut, Talk to Selves: Straiton

In a presentation he gave to the American Marketing Association, Ogilvy & Mather Canada President John Straiton dismissed the peacocking ways of technique-driven U.S. creatives for more straightforward advertising, stripped of flash and "distracting music" that focused on the product head-on. "It seems that the greener the marketing men and the less experienced advertising men are in cahoots in this cult of meaningless advertising called creativity," he said.

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