Math Prevails Over ‘Mad’ as Advertising Week Ends (Mercifully)

Sick of it yet? Me too, which is why I’m declaring Advertising Week V officially over one day early, and calling the game for technology.

Despite the Mad Men-driven nostalgia for simpler — you might say more instinctive — times that was palpable all over town this week (well, all over Midtown anyway), every meaningful announcement and panel was about their opposite: efficiency, analysis, and above all, platforms. Platforms that help marketers’ improve buying efficiency (See: Yahoo’s Apt and Platform-A’s BidPlace), platforms that help them attribute conversions across channels (See: Microsoft Engagement Mapping).

With all that new technology nipping at their heels, it’s no wonder agencies — even relatively tech-savvy ones — are dwelling on a time no one working today is quite old enough to remember. A time when copywriters sweated out their hangovers all morning and philandered all afternoon, rather than poring over TiVo Stopwatch reports and optimizing landing pages.

Digital marketing firms in particular seem to be hitting the ‘Mad Men’ note very hard this week. After all, the most overt homages to AMC’s hit series came from the tech companies. Platform-A’s cigarette girls above and Yahoo’s Don Draper moment are only two examples.

“I’m not a real agency relic, but I play one on TV,” was the substance, figuratively if not literally, of the speech by Jon Hamm, who introduced Jerry Yang at Yahoo’s coming out party for the Apt display advertising platform.

It was telling, if not surprising, that in the period allotted for reporters’ questions, the great Don Draper wasn’t asked any.

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