Then and Now: Mad Men World of 1969


Photo by Michael Varish/AMC

As Mad Men finishes its bumpy ride through the tumultuous decade of the 1960s it makes an anything but a soft landing in 1969, splashing down in laid back do your own thing California.

Riding the wave of advertising’s creative revolution has been as tempestuous for Don Draper as the decade itself.

vintage ads man in hat  psychedelic image

Then And Now (L) Vintage ad Men’s hats (R) Psychedelic Photo Playboy 1968

The real mad men of Madison Avenue responded and evolved with the changing times.

Youth culture drove much of the creativity when nearly 50% of US population was under the age of 25. In 1960 when we first joined Mad Men, there were 27 million Americans between ages of 14 and 24. In 1969 there were 40 million of them.

Do Your Own Thing

1968  clarks gum ad 1960s groovy girl

What’s a Happening Baby? Clarks Candy Gum ad 1968

Hoping to capitalize on the youthquake “the happeningest generation ever” Madison Avenue got its groove on and started swinging to a different beat



lingerie maidenform 69 SWScan01417

On the cusp of a women’s movement , manufacturers celebrated women’s new-found freedom.

Women were not totally liberated in 1969 and  had yet to discard their bras, so  Maidenform could still help them achieve their fantasies.

“I dreamed I swung to new beat in my Maidenform confections,” begins this 1969 ad following in the successful tradition of  the “dream” oriented bra ads that Maidenform ran throughout the decade.

“My new Confection collection really turns me on! The prettiest pantie girdle and bra. In vibrant go go colors.”



1969 Tampax

Now and Then  (L) Vintage Tampax ad 1969 (R) Vintage Tampax ad 1960


Tampax could really turn on a girl on the go-go!


Kitchen Frigidaire Ads housewifes 1960-69

Now and Then – Frigidaire Refrigerator Ads 1960-1969 (L) Frigidaire Space Age Refrigerator 1 Ad 1968 Frigidaire announces Space Age Refrigeration with the power capsule revolutionary space age successor to the old-fashioned frost proof refrigerators (R) Frigidare Refrigerator Ad 1960

Space Age themes were popular for the space age families. The long voyage to the moon begun by JFK at the start of the decade came to fruition by 1969.

The 1960 housewife the Queen of the Kitchen was ready for take off by the end of the decade.


vintage 1969 African Americans Ads

Social issues penetrated advertising and ads showed more African-Americans. (L) !969 Ad Pall Mall (R) 1969 Kotex Ad



vintage 1969 soap neutrogena ad

Vintage Neutrogena Soap ad 1969

The Age of Aquarius had dawned and thanks to advertising we were ready to let the sun shine in!


Up The Establishment

Coloring Outside the Lines (L) Vintage Mens Fashion ad (R) Peter Max cover Life Magazine 1969Peter Max was perfect blending of counterculture and consumerism and product merchandising merging art with Madison Avenue.

Coloring Outside the Lines (L) Vintage Men’s Fashion ad (R) Peter Max cover Life Magazine 1969 Peter Max was the perfect blending of counterculture and consumerism and product merchandising merging art with Madison Avenue.


By the end of the decade a new figure appeared in Madison avenue the countercultural ad man -those “creative types” who affected the mannerism of youth in their hair styles and dress.

The buttoned down grey flannel suit was Out, psychedelics, groovy get-ups and drugs were In.

Now the art directors and copywriters took on more importance and their hip appearance were integral in convincing certain clients that their ad agency was tapping into the cultural zeitgeist.

Generation Gap


Vintage 1969 ad Chef Boy Ar Dee Parent Posters

Vintage Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Ad 1969 Parents fight back with these neat posters 1. First Poster in the form of an eye chart exam reads: ” Keep America Beautiful Clean Up Your Room” 2. featuring a large dime this poster states: “When You’re Late Call ( the dime will be refunded) 3. The Big Question the third poster asks: “How would You Like to Have You For a Child? 4. “Mom Wants You to Hang Up Your Clothes!”


By 1969 advertisers  drew on contemporary culture as never before, working to incorporate pop culture references into their ads

Between campus riots and rebellious kids the generation gap was wider than ever. The 1960 notion of family togetherness never seemed more dated than in 1969.

With Dr Spock under arrest, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee came to the rescue of beleaguered families offering his own solution.

Capitalizing on the generational gap, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee chimed in with this 1969 ad aimed at parents struggling with protesting, rebellious kids.

Their advise: Fight back!

image of woman dressed as Betsy Ross

Vintage poster from Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Ad for Parent Protest Posters Posters 1969

“Shock ’em. Turn the tables on your kids and protest,” Chef Boy-Ar-Dee declares in the ad. “ Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Frozen Pizza will get you started with a set of voice savers called Parent Protest Posters.”

“The set includes 4 posters in full color measuring 12 ½ x 19 inches.

“You can picket for a cleaner room Hang one on a hanger where a coat should have been. Or use one as a reminder to call home so you can call off the search party.”

Chef Suggests

Just in case the posters don’t work miracles, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Frozen Pizza offered a last resort.

“It’s a little bit of a cop-out named Parent Escape Contest. Two sets of winning parents get all expense paid trips to St Thomas Seven days 6 nights plus luggage new wardrobe and a n Agfamatic camera. Some escape.”

“Tell as many fellow parents about the movement as you can get. Speed is important. This ad can only run once before the kids find out.”

Anti Establishment


1960s fashions paper dress

Vintage Yellow pages Ad

Advertisers  had to win over young consumers who were distrustful of corporate messages and big business. Though the Madison Avenue was part of the establishment they tried to swing with the times.

Who was more establishment than Bell Telephone and their stuffy yellow pages.  Ma Bell gets groovy with this ad.

“Wear the Yellow Pages out for $1 ” announces this ad. “Whats black and yellow and read all over? The Yellow Pages Dress! Its wacky wild and wonderful. A flashy paper put-on that’s just plain fun to wear.”

“We’ll send your yellow Pages Dress to you just about long enough to cover your knees-then with a pair of scissors you can cut it to any length you like.”

“See if it isn’t just as much fun to wear the yellow pages out as it is to wear out the Yellow Pages”

Campbell’s M’m’m’m’ Groovy

Vintage Campbells Soup Ad "The Souper Dress" 1968

Vintage Campbell’s Soup Ad “The Souper Dress” 1968

Moms casserole favorite  good ol’ Campbell’s  got hip with their own boss fashion statement.

Don’t feel like dressing like the Yellow Pages. For a buck you could sport a Campbell’s soup can with their Souper Dress!

“It’s a pretty groovy deal just for enjoying Campbell’s Vegetable Soup.”

“Now’ your chance to get the one, the only Souper Dress…a smashing paper put-on that could only come from Campbell’s. Its got eye poppin’ Campbell’s cans coming and going!”

“On you it’ll look good! M’-m-m-m-groovy!”


 Come on Baby Light My Fire

Vintage Philco Ad 1969

.Joining the Pepsi generation, Advertisers actively pandered to the youth who prided themselves on being anti consumer but that attitude was more wishful thinking than reality.


Philco zeroed in on the hip youth market with this  groovy gizmo.

“Now You Can carry your Hip Pocket Records on your ear! Grooviest earrings ever.” offered Philco in this 1969 ad

“Holds up to 20 Hip Pocket Records. Just 50 cents at dealer when you buy 2 HPs. ( A top hit on each side; mini priced; the most scratch proof records of all)”

“Of course if you want to wear the earnings alone you can always carry your Hip Pocket Records in your purse.”

But who wouldn’t want to groove with Vinyl dangling from your ears!


Go West Young Man

1969 Mad Men NYC California Dreaming vintage ad make up

The buttoned down world of 1960 NY stands in sharp contrast to California dreaming of 1969 (L) Vintage Fashion photo 1960 NYC (R) Max Factor Ad 1969 California Sun Glosses

Nothing demonstrated the changes of the decade than the rise of sunny California in the late 1960’s and the decline of increasingly dangerous NYC.

The Mad Men New York City of 1960 was the epitome of sophistication and glamor. But by 1969 that excitement had moved west to California.


1960s Mad Men transitions
Laid back California was the very antithesis of NY.

When  a casually dressed Pete sporting full on sideburns greets a suited up Don in LA in this seasons opening episode, a taken aback Don tells the formally buttoned up Pete “You not only look like a hippie you talk like one.”

Can Don Draper –nee Dick Whitman – once again remake himself  in California, the perfect place for reinvention and experimentation?

Retro Reinvention – New and Improved?

Politics Richard Nixon New and improved

For sheer inspiration  Don need look only to that quintessential Californian Richard Nixon.

Dick Whitman wasn’t the only one to transform himself. Dick Nixon started the decade in bitter defeat, only to end it in triumph as President of the United States.

The question is will Don do his own thing or can papa get a brand new bag?


Copyright (©) 20014 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved


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  1. sdaven5191

    My art-teacher Mom fitted me out for 7th grade in 1969 with some very cool Peter Max themed notebooks, a 3 ring binder and the requisite quintessential Bookbag. I was the envy of many, who showed up with their TV show-themed items, or just the solid color stuff. I was going to a 7 year elementary school back then, which was the norm in our area, so 7th graders were “King of the Hill” back then.
    High Schools picked up at 8th grade, dropping us all on our collective backsides in schools populated with 18 year old Seniors! Some of the girls were engaged, or already married to young servicemen from our heavily-saturated-with-military area of southeastern Virginia, off fighting in Viet Nam, and part of the “peace treaty” they made with their parents was that the girls, with no husbands to actually look after, would live at home and finish school. (It was an odd feeling to be 14 and going to school with older girls already sporting engagement and/or wedding bands to be sure!)
    That was the year also of the infiltration of the bell bottoms, mini skirts and also the new hot pants formals for Prom! It surely created new challenges in outfitting daughters for school! My wardrobe was mostly made at home, but creatively, by my mother. I grew too fast, and out of proportion to “off the rack” items, making alterations as they were being made a common thing. I was taller, and longer waisted, and longer legged than all the othe girls (and even most of the teachers) in 7th grade! So, I ended up with stuff nobody else could ever find on any store shelf or hanger! Including a great tapestry Neru jacket that I could wear with my skirts in 7th grade, and with colored slacks after that when pants were allowed for girls. Nobody had anything like it either!


  2. Pingback: Fashion for the 70’s- Past Predictions | Envisioning The American Dream

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