"Mad Men" (and Women) of Mpls. Reunite, Share Advertising Secrets
Just like the characters in the cult hit TV series "Mad Men," Minneapolis has its own ad men (and ad ladies) of a bygone era (1960s). They pioneered the golden age of advertising in the Twin Cities, putting it on the map nationally as an advertising mecca.
They started in an era of skinny ties, horn-rimmed glasses, cigarette-filled offices and three-martini lunches. They built their careers at agencies like BBDO, Campbell Mithun, Carmichael Lynch, Colle and McVoy and Martin/Williams; many of these agencies are still going strong today that employ thousands of Minnesotans. They became advertising legends, and made professional contributions well into the 1980s. Some are still active in the industry even today.
The Advertising Federation of Minnesota (Ad Fed), a nonprofit advertising association that provides events and professional development, tracked down nearly 100 of these men and women and invited them for a public evening of networking and storytelling Thursday evening.
Calling it a "once in a lifetime" event, it was held at the restaurant Solera downtown. Several hundred people (including those striving to be the Mad Men of today) showed up to hear the history and soak up some swinging '60s secrets.
Earlier in the day, 5 EYEWITNESS News interviewed six of these ad icons on the 27th floor of the Foshay Tower, in the W Hotel's Prohibition Lounge. We thought the top of the building that topped the skyline, when they were at the top of their game, was the perfect locale.
The group included Fred Webber, who was with Martin/Williams from '67 to '77; Bob Englund, who started working at Knox/Reeves in the mid-1940s; Chuck Ruhr of the Ruhr Advertising Agency; Lee Lynch, founder of Carmichael Lynch; Ted Young of BBDO; and Nancy Rice, a founding partner at Fallon. Ad Fed's Steve Wallace arranged the meeting.
Best of all, the group shared examples of their award-winning print and commercial work. We dug into their private archives, dusty attaché cases, and forgotten film vaults. In addition to the clips in this video story, we've put more than a dozen unedited commercials in our KSTP.com Interactive Web Center for our viewers to watch, remember, and enjoy. Be sure to check them out!
Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org