Today’s “Mad Men” Aren’t On Madison Avenue

Flammarion engraving, via the Wikipedia CommonsRemember those Super Bowl commercials from six weeks ago? I didn’t think so. Perhaps that’s because so few advertisers have done much follow-through with the ads since. 

Bud’s “Weego” is a notable exception. Kia continues to pump “Mr. Sandman,” too, but I wish they’d put that ad to bed. 

But many of the BIG ads—think VW’s “Dog Strikes Back” or Chrysler’s “Halftime in America”—were merely one-night stands.

I’m sure those advertisers would argue that the attention was worth it. But my take-away is different: Fifty years after the “Mad Men” era, advertising is no longer the center of the marketing universe. 

I’m not the only Galileo out there preaching this heresy. But plainly speaking, the sun no longer spins around Don Draper and creative departments of Madison Avenue. 

We need to refocus that “award-winning” creativity on finding better ways to connect with (and learn from) customers, rather than merely cutting through the clutter* to reach them. 

In the words of the real Galileo: “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

*A close second to “building awareness” as my least favorite marketing expression of all time.