The Wonderful World of Marketing Episode 24: Mad Men and Mass Marketing

I’m back, with part 2 of our three-part “History of Marketing” series – 100 years of marketing history distilled into 15 minutes of YouTube videos.

In this episode, we’ll look at the freewheeling, skinny-tied, martini-infused 1950s Mad Men era of advertising history. A time when the data-driven, revenue marketing discipline of the first half of the century gave way to the brand-centric, mass market—and largely unmeasurable—TV broadcast era.

Relying on the intrinsic value of mass persuasion, our venerable industry abandoned hard metrics and embraced softer measurements like reach, awareness and recall (measurements we’re still far too reliant on today, incidentally, but we’ll explore that in a later episode).

Still, there’s no denying the coolness and creativity that’s synonymous with the mass market era, and the New York ad agencies were brimming with mad men and women pushing the envelope of brand creation and innovation. (For one example, check out A Big Life In Advertising by Mary Wells Lawrence, the first woman president of an ad agency and a Madison Avenue legend).

Grab a highball, put your feet up on the desk and enjoy an episode that will likely leave you reeking of gin and cigarette smoke when all is said and done.

Here are a few books relevant to this episode which are must-reads:

  • Bill Bernbach’s Book: A History of Advertising that Changed the History of Advertising: Link
  • Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy: Link
  • How to Advertise by Jane Maas and Kenneth Roman: Link
  • Mad Women by Jane Maas: Link
  • Reality in Advertising by Rosser Reeves: Link
  • The Art of Writing Advertising: Conversations with William Bernbach, Leo Burnett, George Gribbin, David Ogilvy, and Rosser Reeves: Link