Veteran ad exec says 'Mad Men' really were about sex, booze

We'd take a blind vote to name the person at the agency you'd most want to go to bed with. We also took a vote on the person of the same sex you'd like to go to bed with. We did this for 15 years. I'd get to announce the winners each year. The first prize was a weekend at The Plaza hotel for the winning couple. Second prize was one night at The Plaza. The third prize was a night on Ron Travisano's office couch. People took this very seriously. Of course, the clients didn't know about it. One year, we had to rip down signs about the contest when a client unexpectedly showed up at the agency.

Q: Was this contest for real — or for fun?

A: Only one couple took advantage of it.

Q: Were you, perhaps, half of that winning couple?

A: I did win one year. It was a great honor. My wife even asked me why I got home so late from the party. But, no, I didn't take advantage of winning.


Q: I would really like to know the age and gender of the person who used Donovan's Catch the Wind in a recent Mass Mutual ad. It's such a fabulous song. And what is Donovan doing now?

— Lilly Markons, Windham, Conn.

A:The track in the ad is Donovan's original version of Catch the Wind, out in 1965. It plays as the ad shows a father giving up a big job and corner office for a start-up business and home office.

Mass Mutual selected the song for the ad, by agency Mullen, because it "captured the appropriate message and feel of a father making difficult decisions in order to spend more time at home with his daughter," says Karen Lavariere-Sanchez, a Mass Mutual spokeswoman.

Catch the Wind was the title song on Donovan's break-out album, and the folk singer-songwriter from Scotland followed with 11 consecutive Top 40 hits, including Mellow Yellow, SunshineSuperman and Wear Your Love Like Heaven.

Donovan Leitch will be named a BMI Icon at the annual London Awards on Oct. 6 and continues to perform. You can find out about appearances and news at

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