Recently I had the honor of meeting and interviewing Jane Maas, the original “Mad Woman.” Jane, a copywriter for Ogilvy & Mather in New York City back in the 1960s, is the author of the book Mad Women; The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the 60’s and Beyond. The Peggy Olson character on Mad Men is modeled after Jane.
In a video interview I conducted with Jane immediately after her engaging and lively talk with our local advertising and public relations clubs, Jane, now 80, said today’s advertising and P.R. job seekers need to “get their foot in the door.”
“Advertising at its best mirrors society,” said Jane who calls herself the “mother” of the “I Love New York” campaign. She said she has watched the relationships between ad agencies and their clients change over the years. Where once they were long term, now clients will take their business elsewhere on a whim. She said that is not unlike today’s personal relationships.
As to the creative process, she said that research and knowing the consumer is key. “The best advertising is done by people with the brand DNA in their veins,” she said. Her mentor, David Ogilvy, taught her to “immerse yourself in research, then in a bottle of wine.”
When asked what her favorite current advertising campaigns are Maas mentioned the MasterCard campaign that has endured through the years. “They did what all of those other credit card companies could have done; they put themselves in the place of the consumer with those ‘priceless’ experiences.”
Jane gets a gleam in her eye when asked about the racy combination of working women, booze and sex. Yes, she says, the Mad Men TV show is in fact, very real!