• Smithsonian Channel
    The Real Mad Men of Advertising

    S1 E1 The 1950s

    In the 1950s, advertising didn't simply celebrate America's post-war boom, it helped create it, tantalizing America with visions of futuristic homes and cars, and turning the "might be nice" into the "must have." See how advertisers created the new consumer market along with new cultural traditions, such as the engagement ring, through mass market advertising and the most powerful selling machine of all: television. It's an era that set the table for the series "Mad Men," but the real Madison Avenue stories are even more dramatic.

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The Real Mad Men of Advertising
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"Mad Men" gave audiences an all-access glimpse into the world of advertising in America during the tumultuous decade of the 1960s. It was inspired by the real men and women of Madison Avenue who perfected the art of the sale and transformed American culture in the process. Who were these people and what were the campaigns that created this consumer culture? Follow the evolution of advertising from the 1950s through the 1980s, via interviews with the industry's top ad executives, and through classic ads and commercials.
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The Real Mad Men of Advertising