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

Rice recalled not being able to supervise photo shoots for accounts she was in charge of “because the client was going to be there.”

Crolick once worked for an art director who had a circle cut in his office carpet. He would remove it on occasion to reveal what was underneath — a Playboy centerfold.

Minneapolis agencies weren’t exactly leaders in making racially diverse hires or promoting acceptance of gays and lesbians, either, Webber said, with one exception: Dayton’s in-house ad shop.

Ostrin and Leadholm got their starts there. “Because it was mostly fashion, it was so theatrical, more like a circus than an office,” Leadholm said, recalling a co-worker who fit the Sal Romano persona, except he was out (and, it seems, a wee bit stereotypical): “He would get up at 3 a.m. every morning to shave so he’d have a sexy stubble by midday,” she said. “He’d give us unsolicited advice on what we were wearing, like, ‘Oh, honey, those sleeves are too puffy.’ ”

It could be just the nostalgia talking, but the movers and shakers of Minneapolis’ Mad Men era say today’s advertising is more data analysis than freewheeling fun. Tom Weyl, once president of Martin Williams, even sees the characters on “Mad Men” as a bit of a drag, for all their debauchery, tomfoolery and chicanery.

“They really don’t have as much fun as we did,” he said. “For us, it was always, thank God it’s Monday. We get to go back to work.”


Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046


  • 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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