Mad Women, the Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue*

Yes, Ratazzi’s was the big O&M hangout. David Ogilvy probably didn’t carry cash around with him in his own company. Maybe to Mr. Ogilvy, the print ad was the highest form of advertising craft and TV was the scruffy stepchild. (Reportedly, D.O. hid his TV in his wine cellar.) Copywriters were the idea people at Ogilvy and art directors made it look good.

Apparently, Doyle Dane Bernbach’s idea of creative teams comprised of writers and art directors was big news in the 60’s, and according to Ms. Maas pretty shocking to the old guard. However, due to a comment by someone I respect online, I’m leery of taking this book as gospel. Was Doyle the only major agency using creative teams? I don’t know.

When I entered the business, teams were used everywhere, even by some pretty stodgy agencies.

While the book chronicles her real struggles as a second-class citizen in a sexist industry, the average non-advertising person may read this book quite differently. She had no computer, internet or iPhone. (As the GEICO commercial points out, Paul Revere’s life would have been easier too with a cell phone.)

In fact, only by comparing herself to the super rich like David Ogilvy, does Ms. Maas appear struggling in a cruel world. Striving, yes; struggling, no. She has a live-in maid. Her children go to the best private schools in the city. Her place on Park Avenue sounds lovely. I appreciate her candor, but omitting some of the perks of her life would have made her thesis of struggling working girl in the big scary city more convincing. As it is, it’s kinda “poor little rich girl”– which was the well-deserved nickname for Gloria Vanderbilt. She did not make her fortune from selling blue jeans.

* “In the 60’s and beyond.” Too much title for this post. Ms. Maas is a long copy person.