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The Real Mad Men of Advertising

The Real Mad Men of Advertising

  • Premiered: 
    January 8, 2017
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Smithsonian
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Workplace
  • Tags: advertising

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(That We Know Of)
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Plot Synopsis

THE REAL MAD MEN OF ADVERTISING is a four-part documentary series that provides an inside look into the men and women who re-invented the advertising industry from post-WWII America through the 1980s. Driven by memorable, classic ad campaigns -- many of which are in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, displayed in the American Enterprise exhibition -- the series also features clips and interviews with the creators. Ads from Howdy Doody to MTV reveal the impact of commercial culture, while clips and interviews with MAD MEN cast and crew members offer a glimpse into the meticulously constructed world of the iconic series. Their stories are set alongside interviews with the real ad men and women of the 1950s through the 1980s -- from the top ad creators of the 1950s to Brooke Shields, who as a teen model was the centerpiece of a controversial early 1980s Calvin Klein ad campaign.
On Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 9pm ET/PT, Smithsonian premiered the season finale of THE REAL MAD MEN OF ADVERTISING. In the season ender, "The 1980s," it's the Reagan Era, and political confidence fuels an era of heavy consumption. Madison Avenue promotes new categories of designer products in provocative ways and the explosion of cable television allows brands to target two demographics that have been ignored for decades: teens and Hispanic Americans. This decade of blockbuster Super Bowl ads, culture-busting mascots, and infomercial celebrities was an age of advertising that is both far removed from the days of MAD MEN and yet inextricably linked.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Biscuit Century