When I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s I distinctly remember as I watched (too much) television that I enjoyed the commercials. Early on I recall a lot of breakfast cereals: Trix, Cap’n Crunch, Franken Berry, and Count Chocula (fortified with 8 essential vitamins and iron) come to mind.
As I hit junior high school, I paid more attention to the heavily advertised L'eggs pantyhose (girls! "they hug you, they hold you, they never let you go"), and of course the cigarette and beer ads.
I imagine that it was fun to be a consumer products marketer in the 1960s and 1970s! Looking at it from afar and without having been there, I assume you only needed to focus on a few television networks and the biggest budgets won the war. Looking back with nostalgia, it looks exciting to be a part of the Mad Men culture, enjoying a martini and a smoke at lunch and talking shop with your agency people.
Sure, it's easy to look back to the "good old days" (especially if you are too young to actually have worked in the ad business then). It's easy to ignore the negative aspects of too much booze, sugar, and cigarettes. But still...
The reality of offline B2B marketing
I became a marketer myself in the very late 1980s. I recall my work into the 1990s and early 2000s and it wasn't so much fun. No martinis at lunch. No TV commercials.
I was a B2B marketer, typically working with challenger brands rather than market leaders. We had tiny budgets. We couldn't afford fancy agencies so we did the work ourselves.
It was often a tough slog. And while I am generally an upbeat person and find the good bits in everything I do, it was difficult to get excited about writing another white paper or proofing a product brochure. Don't even get me started on "discussing" sales leads with the VP of sales!
The good times are now!
Actually communicating with customers via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks is exciting!
How cool is it to interview a rock star in your industry and pop it onto YouTube or Vimeo!
It's thrilling that one burst of cleverness can generate more media coverage than a hundred thousand dollars of PR agency pitching!
We'll never go back the Mad Men era. But we've got our own good times and they are right now.
I predict that a decade or two from now we will look back at this era too with fond nostalgia.