No room for Don Drapers in age of digital advertising | A Cultural History of Advertising |
In post-recession America the role of traditional ad executives on Madison Avenue may soon be a thing of the past...

"This situation is in stark contrast to the hey-day of ad agency employment and industry growth, seen through the portrayal of the Sterling Cooper agency on Mad Men. Former ad executive Andrew Cracknell, who has written a book called The Real Mad Men, remembers the time fondly.

"The Mad Men era was the most exciting time ever in advertising as a business because its product, the ads, were the best they've ever been. It was a golden age, especially in New York City. There was huge economic expansion, the war-time economy had changed to a successful peace-time economy."

He said the boom was reflected in the architecture of Madison Avenue, where brownstone buildings were replaced by steel and glass offices by 1960-65.

"It was a time of growth – growth of the middle class, growth of consumerism and growth of competitive products – so there was an enormous demand for advertising. It was a golden era, in terms of profit and expenditure, not to mention martini lunches."

He said many people consider that period to be a time of media revolution through television, "but in reality what's happening now is the real media expansion, with the growth of the web, and advertising is struggling to figure out how to monetise the web".