The Mad Men of the 1960s had their martinis, Lucky Strike cigarettes and expensive suits. They were kings of an era when Madison Avenue advertising was a glamorous, creative business to aspire to. The Digital Mad Men, and Women, of the 1990s reigned over another revolutionary era for the ad business - the advent of the Internet.
The invention of online marketing via the Net was also creative, exciting and glamorous - at least from the outside. Instead of custom-tailored suits, the young digital players had high-end computers, they dressed like teenagers and labored in messy offices filled with toys. They were driven, smart and fascinating to the outside world.
As the decade wore on, leaders of industry came knocking at their doors and money flowed like water. Then we all know what happened - things went bust. But from around 1992-1999, it was the era of a lifetime, a transformative cluster of years that reshaped communications and our lives.
Here at ClickZ, in the spirit of Don Draper, we wanted to revisit the incredible times of the Digital Mad Men - and Women. And the best way to do it is to listen to the people who were there.
Digital Mad Man: Jonathan Nelson, Organic
The first of a series on the men and women of the '90s who started the digital ad revolution.
Digital Mad Man: Modem Media Founder G.M. O'Connell
O'Connell and fellow Modem founders were the "preppies of Fairfield County."
Digital Mad Man: Razorfish Co-founder Jeffery Dachis
The third in a series on the early days of dot-com boom days of digital agencies.
Digital Mad Woman: aQuantive VP Maggie Boyer Finch
Finch felt like "god's messenger" of digital measurement and data.
Digital Mad Woman: Omnicom Managing Director Felice Kincannon
The "broad" from New York straddled the traditional and Internet agency worlds.
Digital Mad Man: Beyond Interactive Partner Matt Day
A San Francisco expansion leads to acquisition for one of the first banner ad firms.
Digital Mad Man: AKQA Co-Founder Ajaz Ahmed"
How avoiding a mistake in the '90s helped the WPP agency stay alive and thrive.
Digital Mad Man: 'You Don't Know Jack' Founder Harry Gottlieb
How one of the first interactive products came to take the mass market by storm.
Digital Mad Woman: Winkler Founder Agnieszka Winkler
The author of Warp-Speed Branding talks about being motivated by problem-solving, not money.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Joan Voight is a Contributing Editor to ClickZ. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has covered online and offline media, marketing and advertising since the mid-1990s for several business publications. She spent nine years at Adweek magazine, where she was San Francisco bureau chief, national senior writer and contributing reporter.
March 19, 2014