It is the last season of Mad Men. Of course, I enjoy the show. How could I not? I live it here, right down to smoking in the office (don’t tell the city please). We even have a retro martini bar that is our favorite stop after work.
But there is one thing about the show that bugs me. In advertising, the era of the 60s was famous for its use of advertising icons. In fact, many of those icons have endured until today. Tony the Tiger, The Green Giant and Mr. Clean were but a few still in use. But Josephine the Plumber, the Ajax White Knight and the Frito Bandito were all icons created in the Sixties as well.
So why do we never see Don Draper pitching the use of an icon in the show? It almost seems deliberate that they ignore that part of 1960s advertising. Perhaps an episode that showed Don Draper pitching Cap’n Crunch would be bad for his image. More likely, creating an advertising icon is a lot more work than can be whipped out in a show that has enough realism on its plate to begin with. Either way, to me it is the most glaring omission in an otherwise wonderfully realistic show.
In case you wonder just how prevalent these icons were in that era, here is a list of some that were either created or had their most popular days in that era.
Tony the Tiger Norelco Santa NBC Peacock
Jolly Green Giant The Pillsbury Dough Boy Speedy Alka-Seltzer
Marlboro Man Aunt Jemima Betty Crocker
Madge from Palmolive Josephine the Plumber Mr. Clean
Cap’n Crunch Count Chocula Quisp and Quake
Frankenberry White Knight from Ajax Frito Bandito
Hawaiian Punchy Mr. Whipple Maytag Repairman
Juan Valdez Mr. Peanut Campbell Kids
Charlie Tuna Elsie the Borden Cow Lucky Charm Leprechaun
Sonny of Cocoa Puffs Toucan Sam The Twenty Mule Team
Trix Rabbit Geoffery The Giraffe Mrs. Olson
Raisin Bran Sun Quaker Oats Man Ronald McDonald
Wendy of Wendy’s Morris the Cat Choo-Choo Charlie
Cornelius the Kellogs Corn Flakes Rooster The Hamm’s Bear