Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I am about to take 24 hours off. After this post, I am going to watch 2 episodes of Mad Men and then take public transit out to Langley.

I am going to Langley for three reasons. First, I am going to see an old buddy from university. Second, I am going to see if I can get there using my U-Pass (transit pass). Third, I have never been to Langley so I am interested in seeing what it is like (and I will also go through Surrey). Should be interesting.

For those who don't know, Mad Men is a show set in the advertising industry in 1960. More than than this, it is a show set a time very much different than today. This was a time in the advertising industry when the way products were advertised started to change. Prior to this time, products were advertised based almost entirely on their functional benefits. In Mad Men, we see an account team lead a tobacco company from using "4 out of 5 doctors use this brand" to making the connection between the brand and the ultimate value of being cool or being relaxed.

In the third episode, there is lengthy discussion about the famous VW ad where they have a picture of the beetle and it says "Lemon" under it (pictured here). This is actually one of the most famous print advertisements of all time because it was one of the first mass advertising examples of a company trying to be funny, quirky and self-deprecating. Until this ad, a company would have never thought to call its product something negative. In many ways this one ad paved the way for the type of ad copy we see everywhere these days.

Mad Men is also a commentary on how different the society was in 1960. For one, EVERYONE smokes in the office all the time in addition to knocking back the odd cocktail. Then, there is the fact that the office was totally male dominated. Here is great clip that pretty much sums up an office in 1960.

Have we really come that far?

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