The Very Best Ads From The "Mad Men" Era

1960s was the creative revolution in advertising. These were the most revolutionary ads.

1. Volkswagen

Ad agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach.
This ad ran in Life on August 8th of 1969, two weeks after the astronauts returned safely to Earth. Obviously, the men at DDB had it ready to go.
No product shot, no body copy. Just a timely, simple, effective truthful idea that sold the hell out of the car.
See 8 more of the brilliant 1960s VW print ads right here.

2. Volkswagen, 1964

Ad agency: DDB.
Considered by many real life Mad Men as the best commercial ever made.
This list could actually be made up of just DDB VW ads.

3. Braniff Airlines

Ad agency: Papert Koenig Lois.
Created by a very mad, Mad Man, George Lois, who had these mad words to say about Mad Men.
Love the look on Liston’s face.
Warhol was probably liking the pilots more, just sayin’.

4. Xerox

Ad agency: Papert Koenig Lois.
Lois’ first commercial for the brand showed a little girl making a copy.
Xerox’s competitors cried fraud.
So Lois, with FTC investigators watching, made the above spot.
Just brilliant. Read the whole story here.
This is the original “so easy a caveman can do it” idea.

5. Lyndon Johnson, 1964

Ad agency: DDB.
Politics had never seen an ad like this before.
Johnson ran this commercial — which only aired once — against Goldwater in the 1964 US presidential campaign.

6. Doyle Dane Bernbach. self-promo ad

Ad agencies, these days, are absolutely awful at advertising themselves.
As you can read, Bill Bernbach didn’t have that problem.

7. Urban Coalition

Ad agency: Young & Rubicam.
This commercial was created two years after the true-to-life water balloon incident you saw on Mad Men.
Not much has changed in 40 years, right new New Yorkers?
Via: Creativity Online.

8. London Fog

Ad agency: Leo Burnett.
Not Photoshopped, of course.

9. Lego Anti-War Ad

Check out that copy: “Let somebody else’s child get his kicks tracking a little kid through a gun sight. Let somebody else’s child build a bomb shelter in the hollow of an old tree.” Plus, a shout-out to the U.N. Amazing.

10. Avis

Ad agency: DDB.
Number one was Hertz.
The best fact about this ad campaign was that when it first started running, Avis was number 4 or 5 in car rentals. That didn’t last long.

11. Levy’s Jewish rye

Ad agency: DDB.
This famous campaign would of course never fly today.

12. Mobil, 1967

Ad agency: DDB.
The 1960s Mobil road safety campaign was incredible.
This ad ran in Life magazine.
Read the copy: an oil company was telling you to drive less!

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