Ad Men

So someone in a previous comment mentioned being an arbitrageur in the 50s as being akin to the television show on AMC Mad Men. (It probably was in ways we can’t even imagine. Nowadays Asian math whizs on questionable visas do that stuff.) Two things.

1) The show really is as good as the critics claim. Independent of the time-era feel, and all the set design wonders, it has solid acting and great interplay between the characters. I bet HBO is kicking themselves because they passed on it.

2) Who are the Mad Men of today?

then, enjoying a nice scotch in the office

Not in who has that glamor and style, but instead who are the big kings of advertising, media and marketing that have the power to shape opinion, bully their competition and are always seemingly flush with cash.

The answer? Google.

now, building a legos ferris wheel in the office

Doubt it? They have the Madison Avenue people by the balls. From a New Yorker piece:

In its 2004 annual report, Google, amending its basic corporate strategy, officially signalled its intent to be more than a search engine. The company announced that seventy per cent of its efforts would continue to be directed to its “core” mission, “our web search engine and our advertising network.” Another twenty per cent of its energies would be devoted to “adjacent areas such as Gmail”—the free e-mail accounts available to just about anyone who wants one—and the range of software that falls under the heading of “apps.” Finally, the report said, “the remaining 10 per cent is saved for anything else, giving us the freedom to innovate.” To other media companies, this sounded suspiciously like declaring, “We are in the search business, but we might be in your business.” Last spring, Google bested Microsoft, Yahoo, and the enormous advertising-marketing firm WPP to buy DoubleClick, the online advertising and marketing company. DoubleClick claims up to twelve billion daily transactions. Even without it, Google has amassed one of the world’s largest databases—a resource that has helped in altering its mission. “We are in the advertising business,” Eric Schmidt, Google’s C.E.O., told me not long ago.

*Sigh* I think this is what Weber meant when he said “disenchantment.” Sure, you can argue that the second field is less sexist. But at least the patriarchy thumps its chest in Mad Men – it doesn’t hide behind mouth-breathing arguments about mean/variance in cognitive scores to keep women out.

On a related note, I was eating at a hamburger stand in San Francisco, and there were 2 attractive women sitting near me, the kind Don Draper may be known to escort around town. A large bus pulled up in front of the place, and I heard one woman giggle “Oh look, it’s the google bus.” (The google bus takes people to and from San Francisco for work.) Then they both laughed.

A guy proceeded to get off the bus, take a unicycle off of his back, get on it and then started peddling away. From the looks of him, he looked like a vegan who could juggle, perhaps even juggle things on fire. This is what advertising executives have been reduced to in the 21st century.

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