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Holiday Shopping with Don Draper

Looking through some 1960s print ads from the J. Walter Thompson Competitive Advertisements Collection, we couldn’t help but wonder what would’ve been on Don Draper’s holiday shopping list.  The Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History has a few suggestions for him. . . .

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For Sally: Topper Toys advertised a line of Suzy Homemaker® products for girls who were “square” because they washed regularly, wore shoes rather than beads, and got “more fun out of being a cook than a kook.” Rebellious Sally will surely love spending the day cleaning with her new Vacuum and Super Sweeper, baking Dad a chocolate cake with the High Speed Mixer and Safety Oven, and then getting gussied up at the Vanity before she sneaks out to see Glen. The perfect gift to reinforce traditional gender roles (or perhaps the best way to create a feminist)!

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For Roger Sterling: What could be better than Milton Bradley’s Drop in the Bucket game, the highlight of the next office holiday party! Apparently it was “so zip-zap new” that you would be “hailed like Columbus for discovering it.” Who else would have the nerve to strap a net to his waist as coworkers try to drop “bouncy cubes” in it?  Just add a few martinis and watch the merriment commence!

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For Megan:  Jewelry is the obvious choice for Don’s new young wife, and nothing says “I love you” more than the tagline “Fake hair, fake nails, fake lashes, but real jewelry.”  Only the best for his lovely bride!

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For Betty:  Don still has a soft spot for his ex-wife, so he needs to find something that says “Merry Christmas and I’m sorry I never told you my real name.”  How about astrology soap on a rope!  “Boldly sculptured” in “fragrances and colours to match every personality,” I’m sure he will find the one that fits Betty’s polished, repressed and passive aggressive nature.

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And Don, don’t forget Rover! French’s People Crackers for Dogs would be the perfect choice for the furry member of his family. The dog can literally take a bite out of the mailman, the policeman, and even the dogcatcher!

Don will surely be thirsty after all that shopping.  Since he is cutting back on alcohol, why unwind with some drink ideas from Campbell’s Soup? Perhaps he could make Tomato Ice by freezing Tomato Soup, or chill some Consommé until it jellies and serve it with “a lemon slice, cucumber or sour cream.” And who doesn’t love Beef Broth on the Rocks “poured right from the can over ice”? That’s what we call “Mmm Mmm  Good!” (This ad is from the Roy Lightner Collection of Antique Advertisements.)

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Happy Holidays from the Hartman Center!

Post contributed by Jackie Reid, Director of the Hartman Center, and Liz Shesko, Hartman Center intern.

One thought on “Holiday Shopping with Don Draper”

  1. I enjoyed these toys as a child. I think the ENTIRE WORLD has gotten away from the simple basics of the fun of being a GIRL! I would love to purchase these items for my granddaughter. I truly believe she would enjoy the pleasures of just being a girl. We have the right to vote, and get equal pay. Genders are so confusing now for kids… I dread it. I want my granddaughter to know that she is a girl, and blessed by God to give birth, be a mother, and a good wife, AND THAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT!

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