Mad Men. Don Spector didn’t just watch them on television. He was one of them.
Starting in a Madison Avenue ad agency in the ‘60’s, he actually lived the life captured in the TV show. In “Memories of a Mad Man” he shares with us an unforgettable era filled with humor, brilliance, wonderful heroes and big, bad villains.
The funny and fascinating stories he tells uncover the reality of the ad world behind the show.
• What was it like dealing with celebrities of the era?
• How did the advent of computers spoil one of the greatest boondoggles that Mad Men—and Mad Women—enjoyed?
• The Three Martini Lunch. True or false?
• What’s the real truth about truth in advertising?
The book answers these and many more intriguing questions in this unique look into a unique profession.
Excerpt from Memories of a Mad Man
I don’t know if it was like that before I entered advertising but by the time I did, the days of the fabled three-martini lunch were beginning to fade. And that was just as well because, frankly, I wasn’t very good at handling my liquor. Even one glass of wine at lunch made me sleepy and, besides being unable to write much, I didn’t relish the idea of someone coming into my office at three in the afternoon to see me snoozing at my desk. But I did occasionally make an exception. And once when I did, I learned a valuable lesson.
I went to lunch in a Madison Avenue restaurant with an agency producer I did a lot of work with. I don’t remember what the occasion was but Ed suggested we have a drink and I agreed. I ordered a Bloody Mary while Ed ordered a scotch and soda. I was surprised.
“Ed,” I exclaimed. “When we get back to the office they’ll smell that booze on your breath. That’s why I’m having a vodka drink.”
“Yes,” Ed said, “but you know that we’re not going to stop at just one drink. And when we get back to the office, at least they’ll know I’m drunk. They’ll just think you’re stupid.”
I thought about his wisdom for a moment and called the waiter over. “Make that a scotch and soda.”
And from that day on when I did have a drink at lunch I made sure it wasn’t vodka. I’d rather be thought of as drunk, not stupid.
ABOUT AUTHOR DON SPECTOR
Starting as a junior copywriter in a Madison Avenue ad agency in the ‘60s, Don Spector qualifies as a genuine Mad Man. Creating advertising for the agency’s high-profile accounts like Smirnoff Vodka and Tareyton cigarettes, he began his ascent up the creative ladder in several New York agencies. His commercials and print ads for advertisers like Xerox, the Yellow Pages and Jaguar ultimately led to an offer of a key position in Los Angeles-based BBDO/West where he was soon named Creative Director. After moving to a similar position at Foote Cone Belding/Los Angeles, he eventually started his own agency where he served until his retirement. The advertising he created for dozens of companies like ARCO, Absolut Vodka, Bristol-Myers and S.C. Johnson won numerous awards. But, more importantly, it generated millions of dollars in sales for them.
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