Mad About Mad Men

>> Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The buzz this week is the Season Premiere of Mad Men. I'm not a die hard fan like some, but I do find it fascinating to see the issues confronting our industry from back in the day. Media proliferation. Creativity. Tolerance in the workforce. Competitiveness. Hmmm ... not much different from today.

Helayne Spivak, our Chief Creative Officer, talks about how she is mad about Man Men.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, Helayne:

When Mad Men debuted 2 seasons ago, I watched 2 episodes and refused to ever watch it again. I hated…did I say hated...I despised the way women were depicted. Been there, done that, didn’t need to revisit.
Then, on Sunday night, I found myself pulled in by all the hype to the Premier of Season 3, and I ended up hooked.

I loved watching the handsome, beautifully tailored, slick haired men stabbing each other in
the back, front and sides. I adored their efficient, perfectly coiffed, razor sharp secretaries who sat back and waited for their moment to pounce and either marry one of them, or get their job.
As lousy as it was for women in advertising back then, it was also the time when some of the great ones were about to break in and break the mold: Mary Wells, Shirley Polykoff, Phyllis Robinson…certainly not women who let their gender stand in their way. Hell, these women, and
many talented ones after them, wouldn’t let a steel wall stand in their way.
I started my career in the mid-70’s so I didn’t have to fight as hard to get ahead. The glass ceiling had already been well cracked. That’s not to say that the way was clear. There were still accounts that women just weren’t welcome on. "The client doesn’t think that women understand cars", I was told to my face when I asked why I couldn’t work on a certain Bavarian automotive account. Until they met a female planner who was so smart, and got car buyers so well, she was invited to run their business. Nothing eliminates sexism like a little sales increase.
But, I digress. Back to Mad Men. The writing is brilliant, the characters are rich, the actors are gorgeous and advertising is the star. I ask you, what’s to hate?

- Helayne Spivak, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


Post a Comment