amNY explains to misguided would-be Don Drapers and Peggy Olsons that the ad game isn’t really like what they see on Mad Men. “Today’s executives span the gender and racial spectrum,” they say, “create multifaceted, community-building campaigns, and are probably a lot healthier.” Drinking and smoking are way down on Madison Avenue, says McCann New York Chairman Nina DiSesa; whereas in the old days, “I used to light a cigarette when I had one burning in the ashtray or whenever the phone rang,” nowadays she can’t even smoke in the damn office. And as for the days of three-martini client lunches where, as ad legend Jerry Della Femina said, “the people you were dealing with were as drunk as you are,” forget it. If you want that sort of thing, go to China.
amNY also lets readers in on the drudgery of modern ad work. “Whereas Draper seemed to be winging some of his ideas,” they reveal, “hundreds of hours of research go into today’s campaigns.” It’s like school, only worse! Also modern agencies have computers, sexual-harassment lawsuits, and “‘dress casual’ attire.”
That ought to keep Junior on that corporation-law track you’ve got him set up for. Next week: Actors are revealed not to make up their lines as they go along, and to endure weeks of rehearsal.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 19, 2009