Driving Forward > Digital Marketing Blog

Lessons From a Real-Life ‘Mad Woman’


At the Association of National Advertisers Annual Conference in Phoenix, AZ, I had the amazing honor and pleasure of seeing Jane Maas. I was truly moved and amazed by her talk and inspired by her life. Why was I so blown away from hearing Jane speak? Well, she’s 82 years old, traveled all the way from New York to Arizona to share her wisdom, and demonstrated a rare level of passion and authority.

What’s more, everything she said about effective advertising is as true today, in the high engagement digital marketing environment I work in, as the traditional media world she started out in 1964. Her wisdom and approach is timeless and much of what she said has proved out time and time again in the online tests we do on banners, search ads, and landing pages. And I wanted to share some of these nuggets of wisdom. Author Jane Maas

First, some background about Jane Maas, the real life embodiment of Peggy Olson, a character in “Mad Men.” Jane ascended through the ranks of the 1960s’ ad world to become a creative director, starting her career as a copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather in 1964 and working directly for David Ogilvy. There she rose to creative director working for General Foods, Lever Brothers, S.C. Johnson, and American Express. In 1976 she moved to Wells Rich Greene where she was the creative force behind the iconic “I Love New York” campaign. From there she became president of the New York office of Earle Palmer Brown.

Jane is also an accomplished author. Her books include her biography, “Adventures of An Advertising Woman,” and “How to Advertise,” which has been translated into 17 languages. She is publishing “Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond.” Jane serves as chairman emeritus to Earle Palmer Brown advertising and public relations and consults for major corporations. So clearly Jane knows a lot about advertising and life. Jane Maas

So now for some of her nuggets of wisdom mixed with her elements of effective communication. Her advice is truly timeless and applies to all creative.

  • -“As a client, make sure your creative team says I get it.” She added, “Sit across the table from your whole creative team face to face and present the brief to them.”
  • -Ads must “make them lean forward.” (What she meant by that was good creative made people pay attention – it literally made them lean forward.)
  • -Ads must “deliver the key consumer benefit clearly” and “it must be the takeaway from the advertisement.” (Now this is something I say all the time: your creative must immediately answer the question, “How is this going to help me?”)
  • -Ads must be “attention getting – intrusive in a positive sense.” To this she added, “Your creative has got to get people by the jugular!”
  • -Ads must be “single minded.” She added, “Getting one idea across these days is hard enough, two ideas extremely difficult, and three is impossible.” (Ever try and back more than one idea into a banner or landing page? Effectiveness goes down!)
  • -Ads must be simple. “Don’t ask consumers to work because they won’t.” (Now this is my favorite one. So many online applications, games, forms, and other user experiences are just too hard. So many messages force you to think too hard to understand it.)
  • -Good creative must be relevant. (What she meant is that creative must matter to the audience. It can’t just be funny or look good.) She added that ads that are not relevant or seek to be too clever can anger people. “Consumers feel cheated if they read your ad and think it’s for a car and it turns out to be for peanut butter,” she said.
  • -Communications must be memorable. “Does the communication have stickiness? Will the target audience remember it tomorrow? Next week? Next month?” (Think about this: Can you remember any banners you have seen? I remember very few. This is a problem with our medium. So little online advertising is memorable. It drives action, but does anyone remember it? This needs fixing in a big way!)
  • -A good message is unique or pre-emptive. (Basically what she was saying here was to be the first to own a space. And, it is much easier to own a space if you are first.) She added, “Say it first, say it better, and say it louder and longer.”
  • -Ads must engage by being “emotional, educational, or entertaining.” (Gee, from a traditional brand marketer, this sounds a lot like what online marketers are always saying.)
  • -Ideas should be “campaignable.” She asked, “Does it work in many forms of media? Does it have longevity?”

What really struck me about her advice is that it is media agnostic. And while her advice was about brand building, it is still the kind of best practices that would make even the most direct marketing/response driven/measurable online programs perform.

Thank you, Jane, for this knowledge!

Oh, one more thing. The first chapter of Jane’s new book is titled, “Sex in the Office.” She took our cards and said she would email it to all of us. I cannot wait to read it.

This post originally appeared on ClickZ.

Related Posts:

Overdrive Interactive CEO & Unshackle Upstate Executive Director Speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Convention
Facebook Ad Network – Is It Coming?
The Power of Engagement – 8 Ideas You Can Add To


Social Media: 15 Ways You’re Doing It Wrong


Facebook was founded in 2004, Twitter in 2006. Even Instagram’s been around for almost five years. So you can’t say this stuff is new anymore. For some strange reason, however, more marketers and brands than not are still struggling to make heads or tails of social media. Whether they’re surprisingly misinformed or just plain lost,…

Read the full article

Contact Us

Schedule a presentation, tell us about your marketing goals, find our offices or just to say hello. We would love to hear from you!

Contact Us   


Social Searching: Personalizing the Web

Leverage social search to drive impressions and ROI.

Get Access!   


Google World Infographic

Visualize the world of Google's companies, technologies, and services.

Get Access!   


Tracking Social ROI with SocialEye

Over 25 real life social media metrics and dashboards.

Get Access!   


  • August 2017
  • July 2017
  • June 2017
  • May 2017
  • April 2017
  • March 2017
  • February 2017
  • January 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • October 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • June 2016
  • May 2016
  • April 2016
  • March 2016
  • February 2016
  • January 2016
  • December 2015
  • November 2015
  • October 2015
  • September 2015
  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • May 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2015
  • February 2015
  • January 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • September 2006
  • May 2006
  • September 2005