Luck Be a Lady: Mad Men accurately reflects the Madison Avenue advertising culture that created the Marlboro Man and had doctors offering testimonials about their favorite brand of cigarette. When Draper, the agency’s creative director and Mad Men’s protagonist, comes up with the tagline “It’s toasted” for Lucky Strike, he’s told that all brands are toasted. Without missing a beat he says, “Everybody else’s tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strike’s is toasted.” The remark illustrates the central theme of Mad Men, the making and selling of the American Dream by Madison Avenue in the early ’60s—before civil rights, feminism, and antiwar protests forced a great awakening on the ruling class. The actors who play these retro characters are all too young to have experienced the ’60s and think of the era as “the good old days,” but that’s true only if you happen to have been born white and male and heterosexual.
Ad caption: Dec. 17, 1962 - “Today’s woman might not admit it, but much of her dazzle comes from man’s ingenuity with chemicals. Stauffer Chemicals, for example, helps clothe her, refresh her, beautify and feed her. Stauffer puts the fluff in her cakes, the ‘psst’ in her sprays, the muscle in her tires.”