Category Archives: Southeast Asia

Mad Men of Southeast Asia

I had a great interview this evening at Qing with ad man John Archer, who I was introduced to by my creative director Jonny Edbrooke. John was the executive creative director of Ogilvy & Mather Singapore from 1978 to 1983 and, after that, the regional creative director of Bates 141 Indochina. The guy is full of great stories about advertising in Asia in the 1970s and 80s.

The Q&A with John will be out in December’s AsiaLIFE, but there are some intersting articles on the era at Ad Asia Online, one penned by John and two others written by fellow creatives Allein G. Moore and Bill Gartshore. There’s also a portfolio of work from the era by notorious ad man Neil French at; it does a great job of illustrating the adventurous print advertising that ruled in Singapore that John’s stories bring to life.

Also here’s an interesting snippet from my interview with John regarding the hit show Mad Men that didn’t make the final cut of the Q&A:

I started in advertising in that Mad Men period. I actually started in the early 60s. I was a Dispatch Boy—a delivery boy. It was called a Dispatch Boy. Capital D. Capital B. I’ve only seen two episodes of Mad Men, and it’s been said many times before, so I’m just repeating what others have already noted, but it is so accurate. I can remember it. Everyone wore suits and ties. The women were always dressed up like they were out of Vogue magazine with their hair done up, etc. Everybody smoked: men, women, secretaries. I didn’t smoke in those days. Everyone but me smoked. It was a wonderful time.

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