Last week Andrew Cracknell took all of us here at BMB to New York and back.

Well, 1960s New York to be precise, with a very inspiring talk about his book The Real Mad Men.

His yellow cab took us through New York’s cultural history since the fifities – from the changing relationship between art directors and copywriters, to the ads that changed the world – from Think Small to ‘Chick’.

Overall, the message he impressed on half the agency was this: just because Mad Men is about events fifty years ago, its lessons – persuasion, power of narrative, simplicity, creative responsibility – are just important today, if not more so.

If you’ve not read the book already, it’s a wonderful read which takes you back to the alleged ‘golden age’ of advertising. I have to confess that we read it a year ago and have been meaning to write about it ever since – oops – sorry Andrew! I do remember very much liking his sentimental scribble in the front of my copy though – the words, ‘Maybe we should all have been there then’. Which in fairness, probably rings true more for the blokes among us than for Nat and I – who would have no doubt ended up as overweight housewives or bored secretaries.

Incidentally, Andrew is mad keen to do his talk again, and is currently available for agency lunchtime lectures, weddings and barmitzvahs, as they say.




    1. HHCL coined the term John.
      Although Steve Henry swears they were never meant to be used the way they are currently.


  1. Dozens of options isn’t appropriate, but there is never one single best solution either. (Maybe there’s time or budget for only one solution…)

    Jobs and Rand earned the ability to approach design this way but when other designers with less experience and talent hold this as a model of design it makes the industry seem arrogant. Briefs, research etc can only communicate so much information, and never replaces a close partnership with an experienced client. 

    Further, this one-solution approach works best for small businesses and startup clients, or when there are certain political issues within an organization. This approach rarely if ever works for a Fortune 500 (these days). And this approach ignores that there is something vitally important about collaborating with a client throughout the process, and trusting them with partial ownership and responsibility for a project that they will ultimately be managing and implementing.


  2. Love this one as well. The way Rand established his expertise by saying such bold words to Jobs. That is just astounding. Great article, Dave.


  3. Great story. I love the idea of using confidence to challenge a fairly established approach to certain client / agency relationships.  It’s a shame Rand’s solution in this particular case wasn’t exactly his best work… 


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