A few months ago, I finally gave in to the peer pressure and started catching up on the television series of the decade on Netflix. With my ears periodically plugged with my two index fingers to prevent hearing spoilers from those cooler than I, I embarked on a two-episode-a-day regimen of Mad Men to catch up to the rest of civilization.
My efforts to be quirky and different notwithstanding, I was hooked after just a few hours of Sterling-Coo. Part of that effort not to get sucked in was to debunk the notion that all people who work in advertising watch Mad Men with a constantly nodding head, deeming every line ‘soooo true‘ with a knowing chuckle.
I cannot tell a lie — I do that. And, much like other fans, I also muse constantly on the fact that Jon Hamm was clearly engineered by evil geniuses living in a mountain somewhere in upper-Bavaria to take over the world with his charm.
I love when life meshes together with one’s favorite new televised obsession, though, and I’m in just such a position now.
The AdClub of Western Mass. tapped me earlier this year to serve on their board and head PR efforts. It’s a group of great people, some of whom I’ve known for several years, and for that reason alone I was happy to help.
But later this month, I get a little cherry on the top of my sundae — a chance to meet a real-life Mad Woman.
On Wednesday, May 30, the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts will host Jane Maas, author of Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond at Western New England University’s Rivers Memorial.
Mad Women is Maas’ tell-all account of life in the New York City advertising world of the 1960s and ’70s, derived from her experiences as a copywriter in the primarily male environment portrayed by the hit television show.
She says the book was written in response to some of the questions many fans of the show have: did people really have that much sex in the office? Were there really three-martini lunches? Did they really eat that many oysters? Is that Flo from the Progressive commercials at the switchboard?
Mad Women gives the full story—from insider information about sex-and-booze filled company events to musings on some of the tough issues of the era, including equal pay, rampant sexism, and the difficult choice many women faced between motherhood and their careers. (Is anyone out there thinking the same thing I am? Another day, another .75 cents on the dollar…)
Maas began her advertising career at Ogilvy and Mather as a copywriter in 1964 and eventually became a creative director and agency officer, leaving in 1976 to become a senior vice president at Wells Rich Greene. She was named president of the New York advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown in 1988. A Matrix Award winner and an Advertising Woman of the Year, she is best known for her direction of the “I Love New York” campaign. All of these, in addition to hearing sex and booze stories, are reasons for me to hear what Maas has to say.
That, and I want to see if she knows what kind of under-armor Christina Hendricks is wearing under those office manager dresses. Yeesh… baBOOM!