How the Mad Men Lost the Plot

The arrival of Facebook and Twitter appeared to threaten the advertising industry’s very existence. So what happened next? Even admen have souls, and some of them are enduring dark nights. Jeff Goodby is co-chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, a San Francisco advertising agency responsible for some of the most famous campaigns of the 1990s, including ones for Nike and Budweiser. On his return from this year’s annual ad industry awards festival at Cannes in June, Goodby wrote a rueful piece for The Wall Street Journal. In the past, he said, the only true measure of success was whether the public knew and cared about your work. “You could get into a cab and find out, in a mile or two, whether you mattered in life, just by asking the driver.” Now, “No one knows what we do any more.”

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