“Mad Men” will soon be history as the show comes to a close after seven seasons, but it continues to make a lasting impression on many of its fans. (Of course, it will live on via a number of video sources.)
“Three of D.C.’s own “Mad Men and Women” are huge fans, all for different reasons,” writes Jason Fraley, entertainment editor for WTOP.com. He interviewed the three D.C.- area communicators at WTOP to discuss the long-running show: Chuck Husak, principal of August, Lang & Husak in Bethesda, Maryland, Cary Hatch, C.E.O. of MDB Communications in D.C., and Bob Witeck, C.E.O. and co-founder of Witeck Communications in D.C. which develops business strategies for LGBT clients.
Fraley’s post, in part, stated:
“Advertising to me is the fascination,” says Husak. “These old brands I grew up with in the ’60s … Jantzen swimming suits and some of these old airlines that are now defunct … That to me is the juice of the show.”
So how realistic are the on-screen antics to the real-life advertising world?
“One take on it is that it’s about ruined marriages, careers, lungs and livers, and I think a lot of that still goes on,” says Hatch. “My favorite moment was when Joan became a partner. … I do remember when I started in the industry, women still started as secretaries. … So I do think this is a reflection on that moment in time, and I hope people do take note of that. It made an entire difference to a generation to be able to start not just in a secretarial role, but in a role that you were trained to do.”
Hatch recounts a sexist moment from her early days in advertising.
“We went in to do a pitch to a pretty high-level client,” she says. “I’ll never forget, I heard one gentleman say to my boss … I could hear a male voice coming from the conference room and said, ‘When you come back, remember to bring Sweet Cheeks with you.’”
Women’s rights is just one instance of social change in “Mad Men.”
“This show is about one thing especially: it’s about change,” says Witeck. “There are so many mirrors on change in American society, looking at issues of race, women’s roles, family life.”
Such social changes made the 1960s the perfect time period for the show. But the decade was also perfect for other reasons, as material culture was at its zenith in post-war America.
“The economic thing that was going on at that time speaks for itself,” Husak says. “The ’60s was really a magical time. … By the time the ’70s came in, you’re seeing things like segmentation studies and focus groups and psychographics. I call it the Rise of the Grown-Ups. It took these big personalities out of the game. … I’m really glad the show is ending when it does.”
Check out Fraley’s full post, which features the story that ran on WTOP radio.
WTOP photo by Jason Fraley: (l to r) Witeck, Hatch and Husak.