“Have you watched Mad Men?” I asked innocently, thinking it would be something of a norm for people working in a brand-centric agency. “Oh dear,” she said. “Why?”

 Wincing, she painfully recalled a meeting she had attended with a previous employer, around the time television series escalated in popularity. When somebody at the meeting suggested that the company “should [behave] more like Mad Men”, it was taken very seriously – much to the dismay of our marketing director. Or, in her words: “utter cringe”.

 The days of breakfast whiskey and closing deals in strip clubs are long gone... Well. Okay, maybe not - but it's certainly become less acceptable to keep a minibar in your office. Designers have replaced their tracing paper with Adobe Illustrator and hashtags created a whole new trend of strategy.

If I was expected to drink at the same pace as Don Draper I would be dead. Or incoherent at best.

Aside from the fact that this isn’t the 60’s and frankly, as a copywriter, if I was expected to drink at the same pace as Don Draper I would be dead (or incoherent at best), it’s arguable that the fundamental aspects of advertising from Mad Men days didn’t change, they simply swapped form.

Both advertising and marketing have always been two industries prolifically difficult for outsiders to understand; rendering all jokes ‘in-jokes’ , exclusively shared in memos, internal meetings and after work drinks.

Have you ever cracked a marketing pun at dinner with your ‘normal’ friends that fell flat on the restaurant table and learnt very quickly never to do that again? Have you ever gone home in a bad mood and tried to explain why your day was so hectic? More to the point - have you tried to explain what you do to a stranger only to be met with a vacant smile?

“I PR THINGS! People! Places!” – Edina Monsoon, Absolutely Fabulous

Fortunately, the digital revolution has given us a platform to share the humorous side of our work. Enter Tumblr, the creative underbelly of the Internet. Where Twitter still projects our ‘professional’ faces, Tumblr is more like the after-work cocktail party. The industry feels much safer poking fun at itself on the down low.

Humorous blogs like Integrated Mad Men, devoted to satirising the modern marketing agency, bridge the ‘jargon’ gap and make it easier for non-marketing types to understand our “struggle”. In turn, they’re becoming increasingly popular.

Integrated Mad Men appeared in May and is still pumping out hilarious content, imagining lead character Don Draper as a digital content/social media king instead of copywriting rock-star. The gif-based blog makes for a strong case that aside from the alcoholism, inappropriate office shenanigans and sexism, absolutely nothing has changed since the 60’s.

The faces we pull are still the same, we still find any reason to celebrate (“CLIENT APPROVED THE BANNER COPY!”) and the entry-level employees get younger and younger. The tools changed. The game didn’t.

 

Take a look at the gif stream here.