Before he died, my ex-ad man dad saw a few episodes of the TV show Mad Men. He hated it—he said, because "you don't make great ads by drinking and having sex all day."
I think he hated it because it made him man jealous of his own working life, as an advertising creative director from the same era.
I'm going through some of Dad's old memos for a writing project, and came across this one, written to his counterpart on the Admiral appliance account, in 1967.
From: TOM MURRAY
I was told the other day by Mr. Meyers that the old man at Admiral doesn't want sport coats, long hair, or colored shirts.
I will not, repeat will not tell my people what they can and can't wear, from sideburns to smoking jacket. [The agency chairman] made a tough speech about keeping out of our hair and letting us make advertising. Certainly if we aren't going to let them tell us what to write we're not going to let them tell us how to dress.
Just in case someone bugs you about this.
I always wished I had a boss like that, but I guess I'm lucky to have had a dad like that.
Bill Sledzik says
Early in my career (about 10 years after your dad’s memo), I worked with one client whose chairman sent his ad agency’s creative team back to NYC before the presentation of a new campaign could even begin. The CD was a long-haired, sandal-wearing hippie type whose team went on to create several award-winning TV campaigns for the client. The chairman was incensed.
When I was given the chance to work on this client (for a midwestern PR firm), one condition was that I shave the beard and shorten my hair style. (Colored shirts had become mainstream by then!)
Sadly, I did not have a boss like your dad. So I shaved!
David Murray says
My dad had to battle just to get people like you hired. He had to wrest control of hiring away from the personnel people (now called HR, kids), who would disqualify writing candidates “for wearing funny shoes,” as my dad always put it.
I like hearing stories like these because they remind us that the social battles in the 1960s were not only being fought at Woodstock; they were being waged in their own ways by imaginative people everywhere. And even by the untrustworthy over-30 set.
k bosch says