Home Articles Candid confession: Australia’s ‘Mad Men’ aren’t cool. Not by a long shot

Candid confession: Australia’s ‘Mad Men’ aren’t cool. Not by a long shot


It is a truth we could have lived without. But now that it’s out, we might as well take another hard look at “The Dream Merchants,” as novelist Harold Robbins dubbed the advertising industry decades ago.

Admen and boring? Not to mention uncool. It so takes the glamour off but that is the unvarnished truth, according to a survey by The Source, the Australian guide to advertisers and creative agencies.

Less than half (44%) consider their work “fun,” and that is the best part. For all you care, the ad men are a bunch of whingers, even losers who bust their backs working on weekends. And, what boozy lunches!

“For most people outside of adland, the perception of the media, marketing and advertising industry is driven by stereotypes portrayed by TV shows like ‘Mad Men’ – the suave adman who swaggers in and out of the office between long, expensive lunches,” said Camille Alarcon, publisher of Focal Attractions, the parent company of The Source. “The findings of this research lift the lid on a very different world.”

Check out the major findings of the survey of over 480 ad industry executives:

  • 9% consider their workplace ‘glamorous’
  • 18% think their workplace is ‘cool’
  • 44% say work is ‘fun’ (44%) and 42% say it’s ‘creative’
  • 29% feel their workplace is ‘stressful’
  • Less than 6% dine out for business once a week or more
  • 68% say they work on weekends
  • 37% confess a romantic relationship with someone in their industry

The respondents came from marketing, media, advertising, PR, events, experiential and digital professions, with 58% female and 42% male. The professionals came from diverse age groups but the most (41%) resided in NSW.

Alarcon insists the survey’s findings offer a much-needed reality check.

“The media and marketing industry isn’t all just hype and fluff – it’s full of committed professionals who want to explore their creativity in a dynamic and engaging environment. We hope that the insights from this research help shape a more accurate perception of what working in marketing is really like,” she said.

Doom and gloom merchants?

A second part of the survey reveals the admen’s thoughts on the economy – and those aren’t pretty either. If – as The Source suggests – the ad industry’s reflections are a bellwether for the economy, we may still be mired in the Global Financial Crisis that hit home in 2008.

“Our research reveals that many professionals considered the last year ‘business as usual’, yet the reality is marketing spend has been conservative for several years now with efforts being shifted toward retaining existing client relationships rather than innovation or expansion,” Alarcon said.

“This year appears to be no different, with competition for advertising dollars intensifying as media audiences continue to fragment.”

(Image source: Bigstock)