What happened to all the mAD men?

August 20, 2009

Upon reading Neasa Cunniffe recent blog of August 17th  I realised that the perceived glamour about the Ad industry seemed to be deep rooted in the past.

Woodstock

It was forty years ago this summer when free love, flower power, peace and protests combined to allow freedom of expression to rule for a while, all the fun seemed to happen in the 60’s and 70’s. The era of anti-establishment was born – born to be wild. I don’t remember Woodstock myself (and no It wasn’t that…. it was just that I was too young) but it seemed a bit like the Ad industry at the time.  It was as crazy, wild, prolific, hedonistic – hard work at times, but the fun and the entertainment made up for that.

That’s why most advertising stories and tales still emanate from this era, and why? – because it had characters and a Woodstock mentality.  That’s why Hollywood films depict this advertising age and why the likes HBO’s programme – Mad Men is so popular.

So what happened to them, did they all go to the moon? Perhaps it was the late 80’s and 90’ that killed them off. The global pursuits of critical mass, concentration, cannibalisation, depletion of margins – and all this combined with the stranglehold of accountants, the justifications to auditors and the arm wrestling of procurement guru’s.  Perhaps it was the rules of engagement, or the templates, the templates and more templates or perhaps, then again, it was simply the growing popularity of bottled water with lunch.

There is no doubt the Ad Industry is stronger than ever, better managed, more effective and efficient, creatively and strategically sound. But they’re not queuing up to take our pictures anymore. Perhaps advertising needs a brief to re-position its image?

It was 40 years ago this summer when madmen did go to the moon, (I vaguely remember that one) but they soon realised, when they looked backwards out their tin can window at the blue planet – that in fact, they had actually discovered the earth.  So, if we can’t re-discover it, at least we should try and re-invent it.

Hey, by the way checkout RTE 1 new 40 minute documentary ‘Ireland’s Mad Men’ due to air on Tue 8th September.  It’s all about Ireland’s AD Men, and yes……….. it’s from the 60’s 70’s and early 80’s only.

Eamo

Mad men

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