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July 30, 2008

Mark our words: Mad Men will drive agency fashion.

Cuar01a_madmen0806

Now that corporate casual is boringly abundant on the client side, it's nearly time for contrarian agency types to switch up business fashion. And how do you rebel against casual? You go Mad, of course. Word on the street has it that BBDO New Yorkers are already rocking skinny ties and fedoras. The industry could use a little sprucing up to be honest. I don't mind wearing a suit now and again. Of course, I'm just not sure what HR is going to say about a crystal Scotch decanter. Think you'll never see your flip-flopped, tatooed art director partner in a sharp suit or an up do? Come on. Who is more susceptible to advertising than ad people?

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I sadly agree.

I dunno... I can't see myself wearing a torpedo bra to work. But, I would love to see some skinny ties up in here.

I disagree. (Fashion in NYC? Alert the media!). Come on you guys. The only thing BBDO or any other worldwide does that even remotely overlaps Mad Men is try and continue the 1950's dialogue with the "channel" of their target demographic--the relevence is about as applicable as a skinny tie. To be any more strategic, you would have to be a genius like say, Darren Stephens from Bewitched (McMann and Tate), with Samantha twinkling her nose and the campaign is a hit with the unsuspecting client! Isn't that how it all works still? The client is a hick, the agency guy is getting it from three women and falls asleep and comes up with the idea! Wait, who needs pharmaceuticals!
However, there is some fashion that still holds true for today's agency. Like Madmen, (we) they are all still drunks, still all get paid too much, still cheat on their wives, women still try and sleep their way to the middle at even direct agencies ("can you get me a creative job--i hate this account side crap!" followed by cocktails) Most still have a "hottie" hiring policy (at one worldwide i worked for they just call them "client bait"--hear that "marketing graduates"? Wear the heels).
I ran an ad on Craigslist two weeks ago asking for ad pro's and insiders to tell me their worst story from the dark heart inside of agencies --and not only was i flooded with "anonymous" responses, it ended up in an Advertising Age editors column here last week http://adage.com/adages/post?article_id=129622
The responses i got were unbelievable. Crack-smoking in the cubicle? Yawn. Double billing. Client leading creative (oh my god!); Blow jobs in the men's bathroom; one guy had the agency relo his wife, AND his girlfriend! Then they laid him off--not after catching him smoking weed at the Christmas party, but because... (insert "you're being laid off because of inconsistent work/client request etc. lie).
Moral: Fashion-forward Meta-Mad Men in skinny ties are no match for the greed, golden handcuffs, ego-driven, bastards who run this white-male dominated industry, who pretend bloggers can't derail campaigns, continue to engage "the market" with flat messaging and landfill direct work with .08% open rates, and continue charging cocktails with their "secretaries" to the company Amex Card. Now that's REAL Mad Men style fashion that will never go out of style--until you end up losing your job because the blogosphere called your client out on its bullshit ads and they put your agency in review. Skinny ties won't save you.

Nice screed dude.

C'mon Kennedy! Don't you think you're taking things a little past the point with this post? I dig the idea of people actually giving a crap about their appearance in the workplace, and . . . ssshhhhhhh . . . I'm a creative! Weird huh? Can you imagine a bunch of copywriters and art directors actually giving a crap about this sort of thing? I hope it catches on.

You're right. I need to shut up before nobody hires me again. Golden Handcuffs, now with Golden Gag, Golden Kool-Aid, and Golden Calf. (sound of thunder in background). Mmm-Hmm (nods like OG rapper)

For those of us who are entry level on the account side, try paying us more than pennies if you expect us to dress up in a suit and tie every day. If I wanted to "dress nice" when the client wasn't in the office, I'd start out of college at $50k w/ better benefits. We work in this agency environment for....wait for it....THE ENVIRONMENT. Happy hours once a week during the summer and wearing flip flops on Fridays is what keeps me sane. Anyone else able to relate?

Not really... I personally Love to dress up in more than just a polo shirt and khakis. I've worn dress shirts and skinny ties to work with black slacks. Trust me, you'll get tons more respect and it feels great. And I was only getting $10/hr. Anyone else like to suit up? I do.

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