The “end of an era” marks the conclusion of a cultural landscape composed of historical events, trending topics, or in this case, the end of one of TV’s most heralded shows, Mad Men. (I know. Let it out.)
The award-winning series faded to black last night as viewers said goodbye to Matthew Weiner’s celebrated portrayal of advertising’s golden era. Although a period piece at its core, Mad Men delighted those who live and breathe advertising with its close depiction of what advertising was like during those years of unyielding possibility. Philip Shirley, CEO of the Godwin Group, told The Clarion-Ledger, “The thing they got best was the obsession with how you win business in advertising…Back then you did a campaign, you ran it on television and the newspaper, everyone saw it…”
Years later we’ll reminisce about the fedoras, excessive drinking, the cigarette smoke we could practically smell through our screens, but what’s engrained in us is the creative thinking behind New York’s ad world in the 1950s and 60s.
So, let’s cheers to the end of a piece of television magic by counting down our 5 favorite advertisements in Mad Men history.
5) Burger Chef (Season 7) – This client tale toyed with our emotions as Don and Peggy battled while attempting to repair a broken relationship with Burger Chef. However, it all came together beautifully as Peggy told a story about how despite the fact that it is fast-food joint, there is family supper at Burger Chef.
4) Belle Jolie (Season 1) – “Mark Your Man,” although a bit racy for the time, empowered women to feel strongly about a purchase decision. It wasn’t necessarily the ad itself that won us over, but what it represented to women everywhere, and our favorite (at the time) aspiring copywriter. It perfectly complemented the fact that this was the first of Peggy’s shining moments when she proved herself to Don.
3) Life (Season 4) – Like Don, we loved the copy for Life cereal, “Eat Life by the bowlful.” Although the clients were looking for Sterling Cooper to address the health benefits of the cereal instead and weren’t impressed by the imagery, this was a perfect example of how getting too attached to your work can sometimes land you in hot water.
2) Popsicle (Season 2) – Peggy charmed us and Popsicle with “Take it. Break it. Share it. Love it.” She notes that everyone breaks Popsicles in half, like it’s some sort of ritual communion for all those involved. The client agreed that this is exactly how consumers enjoy a Popsicle, and that notion came across so perfectly in the colorful and sweet ad.
1) Kodak (Season 1) – Kodak’s Carousel. What an iconic scene in Mad Men history. “Nostalgia. It’s delicate but potent. Switch it on.” remarks Don in his touching and poignant presentation. The use of his own family slides, his smooth delivery, and Harry Crane’s tears gave us no choice but to choose this as our favorite advertisement of the series.
Did we miss any of your favorite advertisements? Share yours in the comments section below or tweet us at @CBSAltitude!