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Say What? 1960s Ad Agencies Really Were All Sex and Booze


"We used to have an agency 'sex' contest near the end of every year. . . . We'd go to a no-name Mexican restaurant . . . and we'd drink giant margaritas all day. . . . We'd take a blind vote to name the person at the agency you'd most want to go to bed with. We also took a vote on the person of the same sex you'd like to go to bed with. We did this for 15 years. I'd get to announce the winners each year. The first prize was a weekend at The Plaza hotel for the winning couple."

— Veteran Madison Avenue advertising executive Jerry Della Femina, 73, shared his experience working as a mad man in the 1960s. He said the characters on Mad Men would look innocent if you compared their actions to what really went down.

Do you think you could have worked in an environment like that?

Photo courtesy of AMC

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Join The Conversation
pioneers pioneers 6 years
I don't think this is a time-sensitive story at all--those practices still go on (in advertising as well as in any other field.) I worked at an ad/PR agency that was similar, and I've heard stories from some of my friends in the industry who go through the same thing. Scumbags never disappear.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
I dunno, it sort of sounds like fun (in the abstract anyway).
Bella14Stella Bella14Stella 6 years
That's disgusting. Was everybody single or something? Did no one give a crap about their spouse?
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