Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The future isn't what it used to be.

       There's another television show heading our way to keep us in the "Mad Men" mood. It's ABC's new "Pan Am", about Pan American World Airways in 1963.

       It's being sold to advertisers as the first time that television has taken a dead brand and made a regular program about it. Maybe we're about to find out why.

       Pan Am was a big, prominent airline with a magnificent history. Its Clipper flights to South America made it world famous, and its flights to Paris, Rome, Israel and everywhere else made it world-wide. There are plenty of opportunities for drama in the airline industry, of course, and plenty of opportunities for romance with the crew. NBC is playing in the same '60s ballpark this year with its "Playboy Club". 

       Dennis Riney, executive V.P. of Brand Logic, a consultancy in Wilton, Conn., told Advertising Age that "Brands like Pan Am and Playboy are emotional signposts that transport us back to an era when America was number one. Now that we're not even AAA-rated, we long to experience the swagger of the Rat Pack Era and a lusty, boozy lifestyle we used to call class." I'm not sure that's what it is.

       It's good to see old styles and traditional values back in play in good old-fashioned soap operas. It's fun to wonder if we'd be like those people --- or lucky enough to be like them. It's comforting to think of life as a little slower, our needs a little easier to satisfy, our relationships just as involved.

       Of course, life didn't move any slower in those days. Life seemed just as fast, just as hectic, just as hard to get a cab at 5 o'clock.

       We Americans are eternally hopeful and romantic, and love drama, no matter what the latest surveys and  economic data say about our expectations. 

       That's good news for us in the fashion marketing business and us in the advertising business. We know that people are constantly ready for the next new thing, even if it's old. We love to recycle our fantasies, slip away a bit from reality, and dream.

        I was one of the "Mad Men" in Chicago, I belonged to the Playboy Club, I flew on Pan Am. Now I'm ready for the next episode. 



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