The Post Racial Ad Agency

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Advertising agencies were once run by the dominant class known as WASPS. Then in the 1950s the ethnic revolution came about during the Creative Revolution. But even back during this radical demographic change, people of color were little seen in the account or creative departments on Mad Ave. That’s why in 1969 when Bob Downey Sr. directed Putney Swope, the movie satire about an ad agency taken over by Putney Swope, an African American, and renamed “Truth and Soul Inc,” audiences took notice that only one white man was left standing (played by my old friend the late Stan Gottlieb, below). The dark comedy was a breath of refreshing air and gives Mad Men new meaning. (It was also the debut of Robert Downey Jr., as a six month old infant).
 
I just found that the film, which had only been on VHS is on DVD. It may seem a little dated, but well worth watching.
 
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Daily Heller, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

3 thoughts on “The Post Racial Ad Agency

  1. Lmo

    Just saw the film… Absolutely worth watching!

    The excerpt interview with Bob Downey Sr. was quite educational, actually, detailing the purpose of this experimental film.

  2. Lmo

    Just saw the film… Absolutely worth watching!

    The excerpt interview with Bob Downey Sr. was quite educational, actually, detailing the purpose of this experimental film.

  3. Lmo

    Just saw the film… Absolutely worth watching!

    The excerpt interview with Bob Downey Sr. was quite educational, actually, detailing the purpose of this experimental film.

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