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Leo Burnett

Chicago's original Mad Men

Chicago's original Mad Men

On the occasion of the final episode of "Mad Men" on Sunday, let the record show that the route to television's sendup of hard-drinking, hard-selling hucksters began in Chicago.

In 1904, a Chicago adman gave a junior colleague a lesson in how the business works — or ought to work. Having previously been a reporter, Albert Lasker thought of advertising as news, a means of imparting facts about products. Vigorously dissenting, John E. Kennedy said he could explain advertising in three words: "Salesmanship in print." Lasker profited from that message. At the age of 32, eight years after starting at Lord & Thomas as an office boy, he bought the...