Thursday, November 06, 2008

The good 'ol days

In case you are working in advertising or marketing and have been living under a rock for the past 14 months, there is a US television program that is a must-see. And finally it has landed in Asia.

Mad Men is set in the 1960s in New York’s Madison Avenue advertising scene, and focuses on the fictional agency Sterling Cooper and its charismatic creative director Don Draper. Mad Men was created by former Sopranos writer and executive producer Matthew Weiner, and similarly has Sopranos-like tendencies – its high quality TV, compelling, intelligent and witty. The show is simply compulsory viewing thanks to its brilliant writing and attention to detail.

For those who haven’t seen it, here’s a quick tease.

The show debuted in the US in 2007, and has quickly become a global hit. It won Emmys and Golden Globes in its first season, and the second season is on is the US right now. Mad Men just launched on FX in Singapore and Hong Kong last night.

You also know you’ve made it to the big time when you’re parodied by The Simpsons.

Mad Men really is a fascinating insight into what some might call a golden period of advertising, and the internal politics and mechanics of a big ad agency. The show is full of smoking, sexism, rampant drinking and has a distinct lack of political correctness.

Which begs the question. What was life really like back in the advertising and marketing scene in the 1960s? And have we lost some of the fun out of the business?

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