Wednesday, May 13, 2015

talking mad men (and women)

exhibit includes sets: Draper kitchen in Ossining
If you'd told me when I was a junior copywriter that one night I’d be standing in a corridor shooting the breeze with Ken Roman, CEO of Ogilvy, and Herb Schlosser, president of NBC and Adweek critic, Barbara Lippert, not to mention two of the most legendary writers in the business, Helayne Spivack and Tom Messner—well, I’d have thought you’d have tossed back too many Harvey Wallbangers at lunch.

But, thanks to the Museum of the Moving Image, there I was, doing just that tonight. (I heart New York.) In conjunction with their excellent exhibit of Mad Men memorabilia, which includes scripts and brainstorming notes and actual sets from the show, the museum hosted a confab of execs from the Mad Men era reminiscing about the old days, some of which I (ahem) remembered.
and family pics from Matthew Weiner, portrait circa 1975

Barbara Lippert, whose Adweek column was my Monday morning go-to for years, moderated and kicked off by reminding us there was a time when people loved advertising instead of counting the seconds you could swipe it off screen. Ken Roman (author of best David Ogilvy bio) reminded us that Mad Men was a term coined by Matt Weiner—no one on Mad Ave actually used it. Helayne Spivack (claiming to be speaking for all women in advertising—she was only half kidding) talked of her Peggy Olson-ish trajectory of starting as a receptionist at Nadler & Larimer, working up copy between answering phones. Tom Messner (her Don Draper for ten years at Ally & Gargano) treated us to screening of landmark spot he did for MCI when “you only called long distance if somebody died.” And Herb Schlosser, who we have to thank for SNL and Laugh-In (remember?) and Columbo and The Tonight Show remembered Hubert Humphrey refusing to say “Sock it to me” on network television, though Nixon had done it the week before (it took six takes for him not to sound angry) thereby swaying popular vote to help get the Dick elected.

AMC’s Mad Men sails into the sunset this Sunday, but you can catch the outtasite exhibition of costumes, props, videos and research behind it until June 14. How will it end? Predictions embedded in Barbara's marvelous Mad Men Cliff Notes


Lutheranliar, writer of said...

Wonderful post, Peggy. (er, Adbroad) And it was wonderful to see you at last night's reunion. Even though That Woman thought I had suffered a stroke on a Tang shoot. (sure not sure which would have been worse: suffering a stroke, or working on Tang). Anyway, I only hope the exhibit is as wonderful as your writing. I look forward to your next book!

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Thanks, Alice. Great to see you last night. So glad you never suffered a stroke...or working on Tang! BTW, my twitter doppelgänger isn't Peggy, it's @BettyDraper. Although, in real life, my trajectory, like yours, was certainly more Peggy's!