Making The Scene With Mad Men

Mad Men season 5

Millions will turn-on and tune-in when Mad Men returns for its 6th season.

AMC is hoping you won’t drop out.

The Beat Goes On

We last left Don Draper and the gang at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in April of 1967 .

The fissures forming in Don and his wife Megan’s relationship echo the fractures and divisions that have grown deeper throughout society during the summer and fall of that tumultuous year.

The ethereal summer  of love co existed with the violent summer of heated race riots and angry anti-war demonstrations that were erupting across the country

American Dreams have begun unraveling as basic institutions come under attack. The rules of habit, tradition and authority are eroded.. The turbulence of youth has caused a punch drunk unsteadiness of the balancing older generation.

Madison Avenue itself comes under attack by the hippies condoning consumer culture.Disgust with mass culture was settling over the country with their battle cry: “Arise ye prisoners of Affluence, ye processed of the earth.”

1967 Businessman and Hippie Illustration

Perfect for the uptight businessman who would be supremely cool in this wrinkle free Dacron Suit by Eagle Clothes in this ad (L) from 1967. But he might be a bit overdressed for the steamy summer of Love that erupted that summer (R) Illustration by Sokol Playboy Magazine

Where the Money Is

Everyone wanted to be where the action was.

Like most Mad Men,  Sterling Cooper will have to figure out how to stake a claim in the shining orbit of the young and hip. Counter culture has begins to make inroads into mainstream and Madison Avenue tries to cash in.

Even the staid Establishment Wall Street Journal picked up on the super-present world of hippies and the youthquake  which is seen as the link to the future. “Call It Psychedelic and it Will Sell Fast, Some Merchants Say” splashed the headline of their front page story.

Not only had the kids stopped looking up to their parents for guidance, but parents were instead looking towards them to emulate. Adults seized on the new lingo as fast as they came out.

1967 Advertising Mod

Where the action is in advertising (L) 1967 Ad Montag Stationery (R) Ad for Clark Gum 1967

Whats a Happening Baby

Hoping to cash in on the youthquake was Clarks Teaberry Gum who introduced the “Teaberry Shuffle” hoping to create a dance craze.  The company ran a series of commercials using Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass who performed the dance song “The Teaberry Shuffle.”

In each commercial a bored looking person would unwrap a stick of Clarks Teaberry Gum and start chewing it. The chewer would abruptly break into a rapid swinging, energetic dance with distinctive shuffling steps for several seconds then just as abruptly return to his original activity.

In this Clarks Gum ad (above  right) that ran in the fall of 1967, you could send away for your very own Shuffle Shift Kit.

“A Happening is you and Clark’s Gum Shuffle Shift Party Kit. You’re wearing our kicky Shuffle Shift” begins the ad copy.

“You’re listening to a 2-sided stereo LP record of the famous Clark Gum Shuffle. And you’re doing that groovy TV dance! The kit includes illustrated instructions. Send for a Clark shuffle shift Party Kit. Its packed in a turned on fashion carry-all bag and consists of the disposable shuffle shift in your size, the stereo LP with 12 minutes of swinging shuffle tunes, and a super stick of Clark Fruit Punch gum.”

Disconnect

Even as Madison Avenue goes with the trend, there is a disconnect between the advertisements we see in the magazines and the turmoil seen in the nightly news.

1960s family vintage ad vintage Playboy cartoon 1960s

A Break With The Past (L) Ad -You Live Better Electrically 1967 (R) Playboy Cartoon by Phil Interlandi

Come on Baby Light My Fire

In 1967 a series of ads run by Edison Electric Institute boasted that “You Love Better Electrically.” Featuring  a wholesome American family comfortable in their suburban home the ads touted that “total electricity is a clean break with the past.”

A clean break with the past was already underway.

The counter-culture was blossoming. Never were the divisions so clear as between the Establishment and the hippies that hung out at the intersection of Height and Ashbury in San Francisco, the epicenter for the hippie shocks that have been felt through the world.

Dismissing the Protestant ethic of their parents- hard work, competition and material success, middle class kids scorned their middle class status and values. They didn’t want to be part of a society that was corrupt, repressive, materialistic, joyless and uptight.

In a world gone peculiar with paisley spirals and whorls these acid tripping peace and love spouting hippies  challenged the establishment. The cartoon on the right depicting the counter-culture flourishing was by Phil Interlandi that appeared in Playboy Magazine.

1967 College typewriter ad, vintage illustration 1960s Playboy

Campus Capers 1967 (L) Smith Corona Portable Electric Typewriter ad (R) Don Madden illustrated the Playboy cartoon

Swinging College

Forget all the student revolts, and unrest that were spreading across college campuses that fall. Never mind the Be-In’s.

A Type-In was where the action was. Write On!

Students revolts were serious matters with political implications meaning to change our ways about race, Vietnam, society, and work but Smith Corona invited the college student to a “Type-In” in an ad for their electric portable typewriter.

“If you want to swing college, come to the type-in. It’s a happening right nw in front of the worlds first portable electric typewriter. It’s the natural choice of the campus bound crowd.”

1967 Protesting War vintage cigarette ad

(L) Vintage cigarette Ad Tareyton 1967 (R) Anti-War Protests

Protests

Tarrytown Cigarettes continued its ad campaign declaring defiantly “Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch.”

Anti-war demonstrations across the nation vowed not to fight period.

As the war grew in ferocity and monthly draft calls were rising, large demonstrations were held against Vietnam in NYC and San Francisco and tens of thousands of Vietnam war protesters marched  in Washington DC in October. U.S. troop levels in Vietnam had passed 475,000 exceeding the total troop strength in Korea while the  U.S. total bombing tonnage exceeds that of WWII.

By late November, U.S. General William Westmoreland  told US news reporters “I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing.”

Despite that, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced his resignation to become president of The World Bank. This action was due to LBJ’s  rejection of his November recommendation to freeze troop levels, stop bombing North Vietnam and hand over ground fighting to South

Burn Baby Burn

1967 Smoking ad Life Magazine cover 1967 Black Riots

Advertising was still moving glacially in in portraying diversity (L) Vintage ad 1967 Kool Cigarettes (R) Cover Life Magazine 8/4/67 Negro Revolt- The Flames Spread reporting the racial riots that had spread though the country that summer as well as the growing Black Power movement

It was a summer of smoke and fire as Blacks revolted across the nation. The idyllic springtime freshness of Kool cigarette contrasted sharply with the blazing riots that spread from Detroit, to Newark to Washington DC.

With the exploding heat and violence crackling across the nation African-Americans made great inroads that summer as  Thurgood Marshall is confirmed as first African-American Justice of US Supreme Court and The Supreme Court rules unconstitutional state laws against interracial marriage.

 

Pink is Still For Girls

1967 Girls Protesters vintage ad

(L) Vintage Ad 1967 Lustre Creme Shampoo “Pink is For Girls (R) Vintage Photo Female protester 1960s

Sexism is still alive and well, despite the growing  presence of women active in  political movements.

Copyright (©) 2013 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved

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2 comments

  1. Great post, Sally. Hitting even closer to home with everything going on in the world these days and then, of course, having just seen Mad Men return (finally!) on Sunday.

    Like

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