The fall of the madmen

How advertising ate itself

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  • Published 20240206
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-92-4
  • Extent: 203pp
  • Paperback, ePub, PDF, Kindle compatible

THE MT BUFFALO Chalet was shrouded in mist all weekend. One wag quipped it clearly had a seventy-cigarette-a-day habit. The hotel in the highlands of rural Victoria was crammed to its creaky old rafters with wags and wits that wintery weekend in 1995. It was the venue for the annual Caxton advertising awards. They were run by the newspaper industry to recognise and celebrate the best ads that had appeared in their publications that year.

Back in 1995, change, as well as cigarette smoke, was in the air. Smoking was still permitted in hotels in those days. Even in old weatherboard fire hazards. But it wasn’t mist, passive smoke or being trapped inside that so disturbed the conference. For the first time in the eighteen-year history of the Caxtons, there was a sizeable number of female delegates. Nowhere near 50 per cent, you understand, but enough to make their presence felt. They weren’t the usual overworked event organisers or the few battle-scarred older female creatives who’d learnt to match quips, drinks and fags with the blokes. They were a new crowd of ambitious younger women who had persuaded their creative directors to cough up the sizeable registration fee and invest in their career. Their presence so unsettled the blokes that there was a running ‘joke’ about lesbians for the duration of the event.

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About the author

Jane Caro

Jane Caro AM was an award-winning advertising copywriter for thirty-five years. She also taught advertising at the University of Western Sydney for seven years...

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