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Continued: Minneapolis ad execs recall their own 'Mad Men' era

“I’m Peggy Olson, and I want to smoke some marijuana.”


The parties often got as out of control as Sterling Cooper’s, though no one recalls anybody losing a foot to a riding mower. There was plenty of joint smoking à la Stan and acid tripping à la Roger, Lynch said, but that fad wore off — at least during office hours — because “they’d smoke, do some work they thought was great, look at it the next day and realize it wasn’t.”

“One art director plastered pictures of his face all over town, and underneath it read, ‘If you know me you’re invited to a party at my house Friday night,’ ” Webber said.

Fahden recalled a mystery party where “we all got on a school bus and first went to 501 Groveland where [restaurateur] Gordon Schutte comes out in a tux and has us taste Boone’s Farm and Mad Dog, cleansing our palates with Velveeta and saltines. Back on the bus a fat young comedian came on and started abusing everyone. His name was Louie Anderson.”


Peggy Olson: “Why is it that whenever a man takes you to lunch around here, you’re the dessert?”


Everyone seems to have worked with a roving eye like Roger Sterling, but no one wants to admit being him. “It’s not that they weren’t cads, they were just likable cads,” said copywriter Joan Ostrin.

Ostrin recalls being actually chased around a conference table by a senior account exec while cleaning up after a client presentation at a Bloomington hotel. She successfully resisted, but “I didn’t have a car, so he had to give me a ride back downtown,” she said. “That was a long, silent 12 miles.”

While clothing styles typically arrived in Minneapolis later than New York, the fashion challenges were the same. Sue Crolick, the first female art director at Campbell Mithun, said that miniskirts weren’t as carefree as they seemed.

“if you were presenting up at the board, you had to remember not to reach too high to write something because that skirt would go right up, too,” she said.

Men also had fashion issues, like polyester leisure suits. “If you walked too fast you’d catch fire,” said Fahden. “My uniform was cowboy boots, bell bottoms, a turtleneck and a long suede jacket,” he said. “I had a walrus mustache I could have used as a comb-over.”


Don Draper: “Let me ask you something: What do women want?”

Roger Sterling: “Who cares?”


Crolick, Ostrin and art directors Nancy Rice and Jan Leadholm were the Peggy Olsons of the Minneapolis scene, front-runners in a field that, like so many others, wasn’t used to women telling men what to do.

  • related content

  • From left, Allen Fahden, Sue Crolick, Fred Webber and Nancy Rice recall their “Mad Men” era advertising days.

  • Nancy Rice smiled as Fred Webber held up an old photo of the Minneapolis Advertising Club at Casa Coronado. Local ad-biz movers and shakers knew how to party, just like the characters of “Mad Men” (below).

  • Sue Crolick was the first female art directors at Campbell Mithun.

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