"Mad Men of Pittsburgh"
Pittsburgh was never New York City, and none of these former ad industry players could be confused for Don Draper, Roger Sterling or any other “Mad Men” characters.
Still, it’s virtually impossible to look through the folder labeled “ADVERTISING MEN” in the PG’s photo archive and not imagine Pittsburgh’s own smoky ad agencies of the era. The two-part final season of “Mad Men” premieres Sunday night, so we decided to give you a flavor of “Mad Men” characters, Pittsburgh edition.
The folder contains at least three decades’ worth of players in the city’s advertising business: hundreds of white male faces employed by dozens of agencies.
And, yes, plenty of skinny black ties and crisp white shirts.
Notably absent, of course, are women and any racial diversity. In the inch-thick folder, there are but two small headshots of women. Ann McFadden, vice president at Ketchum, MacLeod and Grove Inc., was one. Both she and another Ketchum executive, Rita Frankel, didn’t become vice presidents until the late 1970s.
McFadden was featured prominently in an excellent Pittsburgh Magazine feature about the show.
“For its size, Pittsburgh was a major advertising town,” she told the magazine.
“Back then, Pittsburgh was still the Steel City and the nation’s third-largest corporate headquarters, which made it a nexus for advertising agencies (a City Directory of the time lists more than 70),” Mike May wrote.
Firms like Ketchum and Burson-Marsteller were then — and remain today — major firms, though the city’s hard times of the 1980s brought mergers that swallowed others.
As for the puma, we at “The Digs” scratched our heads, let’s put it this way: we are just glad no one in that advertising office was swallowed.