April 13, 2010
 

Is MAD MEN Really "Baywatch-B2B" with Clothes?

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I made a promise to myself
Locked it away deep down inside
Told my heart we'd wait it out
Swore we'd never compromise

Just as you couldn't learn what it was really like to be a gangster by watching the Sopranos, you'll never learn what it's really like to be in advertising by watching MAD MEN. Or what it's like to be a lifeguard by watching Baywatch.

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The first season appeared as if it was a story about advertising that thought it was a soap opera, though we now see it's a soap opera that thinks it's an ad agency. This occurred to us recently as we read our reader mail.

Oh I'd rather be alone
Like I am tonight
Than settle for the kind of love
That fades before the morning light

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Silence stared me in the face
And I finally heard its voice
It seemed to softly say
That in love you have a choice

Over the last 4 episodes, the total amount of MAD MEN content that's actually focused on Madison Avenue is roughly 27 and a half minutes (Omega). That comes down to about 17% of the 160 minutes (4 episodes, each 40 minutes of content) we've seen so far. Do we love it any less? Absolutely not. If anything, by providing more backstory on the lives of these characters, it makes us want to become clove-smoking, designer eyeglass-wearing, always-wearing-black, English-accented account planners!

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To prove it meet Kourtney, an actress hired by Innovate Ads (our sponsor) to produce a walk-on video spokesperson spot that's running on our site now. It calls attention to the MAD MEN video audition contest to win a walk-on role. It's not affiliated with AMC-TV, but it sure does one heck of a job of informing aspiring actors and MadAve execs everywhere of the opportunity to win a walk-on, just like you walk into your agent's office and/or ad agency everyday! You are "sooooooooo Mad", you belong there!

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Today I got the answer
And there's a world of truth behind it
Love is out there waiting somewhere
You just have to go and find it

The one thing you will learn about by watching is what it was like to be a woman in the marketplace, then. And in some ways even today. We've come to the realization that MAD MEN is not about its Men at all. It's about its Women.

Face it. Each of the guys in the program is fairly one-dimensional. They're all ambitious chauvinists and egotists who don't really care about advertising at all. We can debate if that's Madison Avenue of yesterday or today, but after Labor Day, please.

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Mad Men is "Baywatch-B2B." Instead of muscles, bathing suits and beaches, it's sexism, business suits and offices. Juicy as a sizzling summer vacation novel.

I believe in love, I believe in love
A love that's real, love that's strong
Love that lives on and on
Yes I believe in love

Enjoy the beach this weekend. Double-up on the lotion. Have another drink from the Tiki Bar. Order one with an umbrella in it. Episode 4 is on Sunday. Pamela Anderson may be in it. Turn the page.

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