My beef with Mad Men — too much Mad, not enough Ad.

Ever since it started what seems like back in the 60’s now, I’ve been a wary fan of Mad Men. The truth is, every copywriter and creative director in the business is always working on “the book,” the tome that will rip the covers off the business and tell it all like it is. How many times over my years have I heard someone say “save that for the book.” And that book will never be written. It’s just too weird. And too “inside.”

So it’s no surprise that it took TV Writer Matt Weiner to do the book — albeit a cable TV show. And here perhaps is the problem. At least for me. Not that he doesn’t get the characters right — I guess — but what I’m missing is the real drama.

How much white space in the ad?
Have we been forced to turn our ad into a camel?
Are there three too many words in the headline?
Should we put the ‘smile’ shot before the shot of the car, or after?
Why does that guy drink Jack Daniels from a little paper cup he steals from the water fountain — all the time?
What is the nature of hackdom?

Real questions of interest. To me, an ad geek I admit. So, someday, when I’m stranded on a desert island with a Netflix hookup, I’ll watch all 8 billion hours of Mad Men — maybe there will be two or three minutes of real drama (how could the client buy that????) and lots of stuff about clothes and smoking clove cigarettes etc.

Till then, I’ll keep working on ‘the book.’