Mad Men Musings: Changing Times

On the off chance that anybody is wondering why I haven’t added to my Mad Men Musings series — I wrote about almost every episode of the series in its first season, and not once in its second — it’s mostly because the new season, to me, hasn’t really presented a lot of very interesting material related to commercial persuasion, past v. present. That material has faded into the background of plots I find less interesting (will Don’s wife figure out he’s cheating etc. etc.).

There’s one sort-of-kind-of exception to that, though. This is the subplot involving the hiring of “young” creatives, whose basic value to the agency is their hard-wired understanding of youth culture. There’s clearly a parallel to that going on in the commercial persuasion business today. Aside from experiments like the one the NYT wrote about yesterday (“pop up agency” of twentysomethings created within traditional agency), young people are frequently spoken of by marketers as though they are either members of a different species or, possibly, have arrived here from another planet. The idea is that unless you’re one of “them” you can never never really “get” what makes “them” tick. It’s a bit goofy. Not unlike the professional young people hired by the 1962 ad agency depicted on Mad Men. But there are, I think, some interesting differences. Read more