The Mad Men Bandwagon

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I am literally the last person to jump on the bandwagon for anything. So, in natural fashion, I never watched “Mad Men” – even though everyone was raving about how good it was. I actually work in advertising, so my coworkers were constantly harassing me about it. I even gave them these really cool “Mad Men” promotional pens I didn’t want – the ad man falls from the building, just like the intro to the show.

Finally last month, I added all four seasons of “Mad Men” to my Netflix list, and immediately regretted giving away the pens! The show is incredible – witty, smart, captivating and tantalizing. I literally can’t get enough of the characters and the complex storyline.

Set in 1960s New York at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency, “Mad Men” portrays account executives and creative types spending most of their days drinking, smoking and schmoozing clients. So, what’s changed?

I’m just kidding – a lot has changed. Obviously, we don’t smoke inside the office anymore.

Here are some of the differences and similarities between the Sterling Cooper agencies of the 60s and advertising agencies today:


  • Women aren’t restricted to simply working as secretaries.
  • The dress code is far more casual.
  • We use computers instead of typewriters.
  • It has to be closer to 5 p.m., not 10 a.m., for us to start drinking.
  • We don’t take naps on the couches in our offices.
  • Lawn mowers are strictly prohibited from office use.


  • Advertising remains a fun industry.
  • We bring our dogs to the office, just like Duck brought his dog, Chauncey.
  • Practical jokes still run rampant.
  • We host office parties, although our Christmas party could never be compared to the “Führer’s Birthday.”
  • The basic creative process remains the same: copywriters conjure up witty taglines, art directors create the artwork, and creative directors have the final say of what goes before the client.

For the most part, the advertising industry remains as colorful as it’s portrayed in “Mad Men.” The people are unique, and every day is different – you never know what is going to happen. In the words of Roger Sterling: Believe me, somewhere in this business, this has happened before.” No matter what “this” is, it is probably true!

The award-winning series “Mad Men” returns to AMC this Sunday, kicking off Season 5 with a 2-hour premiere. If you haven’t seen “Mad Men,” I highly suggest you jump on the bandwagon. Trust me, I work in advertising.

Blog Author: Jennifer Haynes, Former B teamer.

Tags: Culture

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