It is no wonder marketers love the TV series "Mad Men” (100% recommended to all Gen Z representatives reading out there): it reminds us of a time where our industry was driven by creativity, intuition, and charisma. Fast forward to today, and we find ourselves in a landscape dominated by data, technology, and (of course) AI.

Do we really belong to the same industry as the one of the golden age of advertising?

Let’s find out.

Living the Dream

The 1960s was a time when advertising giants like David Ogilvy and Bill Bernbach reigned supreme.

Advertising campaigns were built on bold, original ideas that captured the imagination of the audience. Creativity was the cornerstone of success, with iconic campaigns like Volkswagen’s “Think Small” and Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop” defining the era.

Decisions were often made based on gut feelings and the personal experiences of seasoned advertising executives. This human element, while sometimes hit or miss, was integral to the process.

Market research existed, but the tools were rudimentary compared to today's standards.Ratings and focus groups were among the few available methods to gauge public opinion.

Television, radio, and print were the primary channels for reaching consumers. The audience was broad, and targeting was minimal.

Bridging the Gap: The Role of Human Thinking

Today's advertising landscape is almost unrecognizable compared to the Mad Men era. The digital transformation has revolutionized the way we approach advertising, which has built its foundations on new pillars: personalisation at scale, predictive analytics, automation and cross-channel integration.

Is it possible to find connections between two periods that seem to belong to different geological eras?

Live events like MAD//Fest certify that the human factor remains a vital component of successful advertising despite technological advancements. AI can provide tools and insights, but it is the human touch that infuses campaigns with results.

How can CMOs and media leaders balance AI within their teams?

At we have 3 tips to share:

Embrace AI as an Enabler: View AI as a powerful tool that can enhance, rather than replace, human creativity. Use AI and automation to handle manual tasks, data processing and campaign optimizations, allowing creative teams to focus on developing compelling narratives and innovative ideas. Media teams can save up to 40% of their time just by streamlining existing processes.

Foster Cross-Team Collaboration: Encourage cooperation between data teams and creative teams. By working together on the same tools, they can leverage data-driven insights to create more impactful and resonant campaigns.

Leverage AI for Campaigns’ Optimizations and not just for Creative Tasks: As AI becomes more integrated into advertising, it’s essential to fully leverage its potential.

Coming Next: Advertising Resource Management: The journey from the Mad Men era to today’s AI-powered landscape has been transformative to the point of creating a new category software called ARM (Advertising Resource Management). Interested in knowing more?

Join our session featuring and leading consultancy firm Slalom on July 2 at 12:05 PM at the Hexagon Stage. See you in London!