The real story of Ad Men

In advance of the fifth series of Mad Men (which airs on Tuesday night, Don Draper fans) Sky Atlantic is telling the real-life story of British advertising from the 1960s to the ‘80s in hour-long documentary Ad Men.

Alan Parker
A fresh-faced Alan Parker as a junior copywriter in the early 1960s

Ad Men, which also marks the 50th anniversary of D&AD, features interviews with luminaries such as John Hegarty, Alan Parker, David Puttnam and Ridley Scott and profiles of iconic campaigns such as Happiness is a Cigar Called Hamlet and the Levis laundrette ad.

It is, of course, a populist retelling of the advertising story, so expect broad brush-strokes and retellings of Soho japes (those who attended the D&AD President’s lecture with Parker, Puttnam and Bob Gill earlier this month will have had a taster), rather than an insightful and respectful analysis of the creative scene.

David Puttnam
An even fresher-faced David Puttnam

As D&AD chief executive Tim Lindsay says, ‘It’s not accurately reflective of the business then or now, or of D&AD. It misses out the design half our story – which is just as revolutionary, probably more influential in terms of the lives of the inhabitants of the UK and populated by at least as many distinguished and entertaining peers and knights.

‘But it’s a good story, picking up on the influence of 50s New York on a new generation of ad men and women in London, the part advertising played in the cultural, sexual and social revolutions that characterised the 60s, and the influence the business had on a group of British film-makers who went on to conquer Hollywood.’

Ridley Scott
No, it’s not The Moody Blues. It’s the D&AD television jury from 1978, featuring Ridley Scott (far left)

Ad Men is broadcast on Sky Atlantic at 9pm on 26 March.

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  • Maryam Roohipour November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Can this Ad Man documentary be viewed online anywhere? Thanks

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