New old ads inspired by ‘Mad Men’

In due homage to the forefathers of advertising, Newsweek has just published a ‘Mad Men’ issue where advertisers were asked to submit ads in the style of the 60s.

The Johnnie Walker and Smokey the Bear ads were apparently unchanged from the originals, but some pastiches were unable – quite – to go the whole way.

The most glaring of these was the ad for BOAC which felt obliged to have a prominent BA logo at the bottom reminding the viewer that it was a “direct predecessor” of British Airways, in case anyone ever missed the point. Bit sad seeing the presumed intelligence of the average Newsweek reader, but to some, corporate guidelines will always have to be obeyed.

Estée Lauder had a positively wonderful opportunity with the actual ‘Mrs Draper’ January Jones as their model. But they failed to capture that feel with their attempt. Typography and photography missed the mark – the dress was about the only period detail in an otherwise half-hearted attempt at a retro ad.

But there were some absolutely wonderful examples there too, and a fascinating peek at what was considered groundbreaking in those days.

Back to that Johnnie Walker ad. I’m sure the small tagline Please drink responsibly would never, ever have been considered in Don Draper’s day.

Thanks to Ad Age for the alert. You can see more on the site.

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