The ‘Mad Men’ of Madison Avenue

A need for advertising

The booming 20’s

  • Technological development and industry favoring policies stabilized the economy and led to a wide breadth of prosperity; people of all different socioeconomic statuses enjoyed increases in their standard of living:  from 1922-1928, industrial production increased 70 percent; though the gap between the rich and the poor, workers’ earnings still increased about 22 percent.
  • The FTC Act of 1914: Advertisers could no longer explicitly lie about products
  • Thus spurred a high demand for very creative, witty advertisers to create a need in the marketplace for all of these goods.
  • Madison Avenue itself was a perfect location due to all of the surrounding department stores and other related businesses; a need to stay close to their clientele.

A portrait of a real “Mad Man”

  • By the 1950’s, Madison Avenue became synonymous with the Advertising Industry and those who worked there were referred to as the “Mad Men. “  Though our general notion of the Mad Men stems from these gentlemen…

The Mad Men were very real figures in history.

One such man was named David Ogilvy (1911-1999)

  • Ogilvy was one of the most infamous ad men of the 1950’s and 1960’s and is known for his stylistically daring and  innovative methods to marketing products. David sought to flush out an intriguing story around a campaign in order to promote the free advertising that ensued. To Ogilvy, an idea was more important than a large budget

Case example: The Hathaway man

•It’s much more than an ordinary white shirt; it’s a lifestyle

  • Otherwise, Ogilvy was known for his dramatic business dealings, for drinking, his love of women, and often quite rude but abnormally generous to compensate; A true example of the Mad Men of Madison Avenue.

Here are some photos of Mad Men in their natural habitat.

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One comment

  1. jhwinter27

    Mad Men is personally a show that I’ve followed throughout the years. Although it is factually suspect, it reveals a lot about the world of advertisements. Over the years what I’ve gathered through following this program and also from reading your blog and observing your presentation, is that products have to take on a life of their own. Whether it’s a crazy Old Spice commercial featuring some crazy gimmicks or the Hathaway man, products are presented as intrinsically connected to our lives. By buying Old Spice or a Hathaway drip-dry shirt you’re not buying an effective product, but something that identifies who you are and communicates that to the world. With the proliferation of vehicles for advertisement, for example television, radio and print in mass quantities, these Mad Men found a way to bombard a “lifestyle” to the public.

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