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Mar 23 2012

PAPERMAG - Meet New York's Real Mad Men and Mad Women

 

By Abby Schreiber

Though we've been rabidly waiting for the scotch-soaked fever dream that is the fifth season premiere of Mad Men, PAPERMAG has decided to quit fantasizing about how Don Draper will look in his mid-'60s suits and turn our thoughts instead to the Mad Men and Mad Women of today's advertising and branding industries. Of course the ad world has undergone many changes since the days of indoor chain-smoking and copy machines the size of Cadillac -- the advent of digital media, for one -- but these rising stars share the same focus, creativity and drive as any of their high-powered TV counterparts. We sent each of these industry players a questionnaire asking them to weigh in on their favorite drink, power lunch spot, thoughts on Mad Men and opinion on what has been the most significant change to the ad world since the days of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (or, more aptly, George Lois). Here's what they had to say...

Michal Pasternak, 32, Partner, User Experience, at HUGE

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
I work a lot more on products and experiences than campaigns. Some of my past favorites have been JetBlue, IKEA, and History.com.

Favorite drink?
It's a tie between strawberry margarita (on the rocks, with salt) and G&T with a twist.

Favorite power lunch spot?

My power lunch consists of getting out of the office and hitting La Bagel Delight down the street. I love chatting it up with the guys in there and they make a mean egg and cheese on sesame.

Do you watch Mad Men?
Yes but I'm not as obsessed as some of my friends. I'm a little more 30 Rock and Judge Judy.

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
Definitely Peggy. She's the only woman who defies the odds and creates her own opportunities. When I was a kid, I used to dream of becoming an "inventress" (as opposed to being a plain old inventor).

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
Digital. Back in the day, the advertising industry was about the "big idea" and finding clever ways to communicate it in print. Now the field is much more sophisticated thanks to digital. We have more targeted and relevant advertising based on what we search for, our purchasing habits, and even what our friends like. Marketers are now realizing that perhaps the best way to advertise is to find ways to deliver value to their customers for just engaging with their brand. Or, better still, to invest in making their product and service consider their customer's needs above all else. Because people will talk. And word of mouth is a much bigger deal when we can communicate 24/7, to people across the world, almost instantly.

Joe Stewart, 34, Partner & Global Creative Director, HUGE

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
I've been lucky enough to work on major digital projects for Target, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Under Armour, The Museum of Modern Art, and The City of New York.

Favorite drink?
A Stella and a Macallan

Favorite power lunch spot?
The bar.

Do you watch Mad Men?
Yes -- it's a great show.

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
Draper! Anyone who doesn't say Draper is lying. He's cool, ladies love him, he has good ideas, and has a very healthy work/life balance. He's filled to the brim with confidence, takes massive risks, and looks good in a suit. I'm amazed he gets as much work done as he does being completely drunk all the time, but -- I guess it works for him.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
People have the ability to talk back to ads now, which is pretty scary and new, and we're all in it together trying to figure out the best way to use this new kind conversation. For a long time advertising was a push medium -- your TV spot is pushed onto as many people as possible, where now it's a pull medium -- consumers have to actively seek brands out and ask for the information. It changes everything. Being forced to listen to what people actually have to say and what they really think is taking a lot of people for a loop, but it seems like it's what's best for everyone so thank god for that.

Stacey Lee, 29, Creative, Mother

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
Adidas, Tanqueray, Red Bull Music Academy, eMusic

Favorite Drink?
White Pike Whiskey at work, vodka everywhere else.

Favorite Power Lunch Spot?
Market Diner

Do you watch Mad Men?
Absolutely.

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
I'm a Roger Sterling/Joan Holloway hybrid, affectionately known as their lovechild in Season 5. My style is a little Roger because I share his 'all or nothing' attitude, preference for vodka and have a tendency towards brutally honest one-liners. While I lack Joan's mesmerizing assets, I've got her sharp tongue and take a sadistic pleasure in bullying men around the office.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
Creative directors are less mysterious nowadays. And disappointingly, the sordid sexual encounters and post-lunch naps are somewhat hampered by the rise of the open plan office.

Drake Miller, 26, Motion Designer, Mother

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
I created a stop motion commercial for the Chicago Auto Show with a roll of paper, cardboard, and a CG car. To me, it was notable because we made the whole thing for a couple hundred dollars...it represents the impact scrappy creativity can have.

Favorite drink?
Anything with Budweiser in it.

Favorite power lunch spot?
Taco Bell. Burger King being a close second.

Do you watch Mad Men?
Nope.

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
I don't watch Mad Men, but if there's a guy on the show who loves snacking and riding bikes, that would be me.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
You wore a suit and you could smoke inside...I suppose the difference is that back then, the goal was to make ads and build brands that were massive and that everyone saw, knew, and loved. Today, you can have a small group of loyal customers/fans/followers and build a business.

Krystal Plomatos, 26, Strategist, Mother

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
Sour Patch Kids & Method Man's 'World Gone Sour' rap video. Bengay 'Bodies in Movement' and Xbox Kinect Sports 2 partnership.

Favorite drink?
Tullamore, neat.

Favorite power lunch spot?
Lali's Dominican restaurant, tucked away on 10th & 45th. Because the coffee is as strong & sweet as the ladies who run it.

Do you watch Mad Men?
Yep.

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
Peggy. I like that she's evolved further and faster while everyone around her has lost their shit. She's resilient.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
Since I wasn't around then, I can only offer a half-baked interpretation of the industry during the '60s, which is based on (or biased by) shows like Mad Men and ads I've seen in archives. I associate the '60s with evocative, long-copy ads, and that was the standard by which people knew and judged brands -- by what they said. I think the industry is better now because its shifted to where both marketers and the general population are highly attuned to a brand's behavior. So the first thing I do is check out a brand's 'about us' tab or mission statement, and if I'm jealous of it or inspired by it, then it gets my full attention. And I'm not alone in using this as a means of assessing a brand or ad.

Darren Herman, 30, Chief Digital Media Officer & President, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
The Daily, Vanguard, Giorgio Armani, AT&T, Intel

Favorite drink?
Shirley Temple with three cherries

Favorite power lunch spot?
Trump Soho Café

Do you watch Mad Men?
Who doesn't?

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
Harry Crane, head of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's television department. I chose Harry because he created the media department out of thin air based on the foresight of the huge opportunity in promise of television advertising. Like me, he's entrepreneurial, driven, and quiet.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
The biggest difference between the industries from then to now is that they had much better taste in suits -- skinny ties, white shirts, and grey suits.

Andre Woolery, 30, Digital Synthesis Director, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
Justin Bieber's Someday fragrance, Armani Exchange, Armani Jeans launch

Favorite drink?
Balvenie Scotch...neat

Favorite power lunch spot?
David Burke Kitchen especially when there is outdoor seating. Bacon-wrapped dates is a must.

Do you watch Mad Men?
Of course. I cancelled my cable last summer but I'll get a season pass through iTunes this season.

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?

It's hard for me not to say Don Draper. The tale of Don Draper is slowly being revealed in layers and you realize that he has continually transformed himself to be successful which is the part that I admire. Being able to control his life and freedom to shift in any direction he wants (minus all the shadiness) makes him an interesting character.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?

The biggest shift in my opinion is who/what is considered the hero. The consumers are now the heroes. They are what makes a brand live or die. They are the ones that will promote a great ad and evangelize on their behalf. They will tell their friends on Facebook that the brand's product is amazing. Consumer are now on centerstage while we all sit and watch their actions. If we were to make a 2012 Mad Men scene, the consumer would be on their Facebook newsfeed and receive a shared link from a friend regarding content from a regarded brand.

Susie Nam, 37, Head of Account Management, Droga5

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
PUMA Social and Hardchorus, Tap Project

Favorite drink?
Dirty martini straight up, extra olives

Favorite power lunch spot?
Peels

Do you watch Mad Men?
Yes

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
Roger Sterling but with a backbone.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
There were real facilities to manage hangovers at work -- more booze, bathrooms, fresh shirts in your drawer.

Ryan Kutscher, 33, Creative Director, currently working at JWT New York

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
Volkswagen Unpimp, Burger King Whopper Freakout, Skittles, Blue Skittles

Favorite drink?
Free beer

Favorite power lunch spot?
Dorsia

Do you watch Mad Men?
Yes.

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
Draper. Because he realized being Dick Whitman was a bad idea, so he just started being someone significantly more awesome. And he keeps extra shirts in his desk.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
I'm not qualified to answer this. And you know that. It's like [asking], 'Hey, what's the main difference between that thing you know a little bit about and that thing you know absolutely nothing about at all?' It's a set up. It's irresponsible journalism. Because someone that was actually there will read this and say, 'That guy is an asshole, he doesn't know what he's talking about.' And they'll be right. And it will be all your fault. Shame on you.

Matt MacDonald, 36, Executive Creative Director, JWT New York

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange, The Magic of Macy's, JetBlue.

Favorite drink?
A martini. Preferably one made with my client's vodka.

Favorite power lunch spot?
My lunch is usually some kind of salad in a plastic bowl. But every once in a while, I'll go to the Oyster Bar or Bobby Van's and remind myself I work in advertising.

Do you watch Mad Men?

Yes, but never on Sunday nights. It feels too much like actually being at work.

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
I'd like to think I'd be Don Draper. But given my tortured Midwestern upbringing, I'm probably more Dick Whitman.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
From what I can tell watching Mad Men, every meeting in the '60s was five minutes long and ended with a decision being made. Now meetings take all day and nothing happens. But seriously, I think the work is better now than it ever has been. People in advertising now have the freedom to invent whatever they want. I'm not so sure that was always the case.

Christian Waitzinger, 37, Executive Creative Director, SapientNitro New York

Notable campaigns you've worked on?
Campaigns are so yesterday. In today's world you have to be always "on" and constantly interact with your consumers. My background has been primarily in Experience Design work. Clients include Sony, Disney, WWE, Nissan, Singapore Airlines, SingTel, New York Life, Marriott, Avis, and many more.

Favorite drink?
Jameson

Favorite power lunch spot?
Street meat, of course!

Do you watch Mad Men?
Yes

If you were one of the characters on Mad Men, which one would you be?
Not sure if I'd want to be Roger Sterling -- but he's a favorite. The guy just cracks me up. Ignorance is bliss, as they say. One would think I like Don Draper -- he's a smart and genius creative, at times, with a great presence in the room - -but he's too much of a tortured soul. I wouldn't want to be him.

What do you think is the most significant difference between the industry then (1960s) compared to now?
Answer 1: I don't want to think about this. It just makes me jealous.
Answer 2: Digital, baby!

www.papermag.com

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