Death of Madison Ave – Mad Mad Men

In 1960, when your mom and dad and I were kids, right after we returned from school…walking, barefoot in the snow, uphill, both ways… we’d settle down and watch Star Trek or Diver Dan or Captain Kangaroo.

You see we watched TV after school, before school, pretty much all the time. We didn’t have no stinkin laptops, iPhones, Xbox’s. Our lives were not fully planned out by our parents. We weren’t helicoptered from one organized activity to another.  Our play dates were, “go out and play in the street until the street lights come on.”

We were left on our own to entertain ourselves and it was the golden age of Madison Avenue. Advertising agencies owned us. We didn’t have remote controls to change the channel during advertisements. We didn’t have commercial skipping DVRs or Blue Ray movies. We watched the show from start to commercial to middle to commercial to finish..

When we watched advertisements we couldn’t fact check with Twitter or look up reviews on CNET. We just ate up the ads, bought the products and if we were lucky we bought cool toys like Mighty Matilda and if we were suckered by Madison Avenue we’d buy the Flying Fox Jet Prop Airliner.

Today, in the days where our presidential candidates debate statements are fact checked on twitter before they even complete their sentences, bullshit walks and authentic quality talks.

PT Barnum once said, “there’s a sucker born every second.” That may be true but thanks to the wealth of information, the democratization of information, the sucker to educated consumer education gap has narrowed. Maybe that’s why an authentic quality product like Cirque Du Soleil has beating the crap out of PT Barnum’s Barnum and Bailey Circus.

That’s why Madison Avenue is a shadow of it’s former self. That’s why designers and engineers have been elevated to equal status of sales and marketing. In the sixties, with good PR you could build a company on the foundation of turds. Today, quality counts and PR can’t counter the relentless bombardment of social media.