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.
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
Hoping to capitalize on the youthquake “the happeningest generation ever” Madison Avenue got its groove on and started swinging to a different beat
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.”
Tampax could really turn on a girl on the go-go!
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.
The Age of Aquarius had dawned and thanks to advertising we were ready to let the sun shine in!
Up The Establishment
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.
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!
“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.”
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.”
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
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
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
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.
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?
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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