Old hands at JWT will be delighted to note an entry about Mad Men on Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness's blog, written by Helayne Spivak.
Spivak is currently Saatchi Wellness's chief creative officer, but back in the day she had a stormy tenure as chief creative at JWT -- which is possibly still lurking in the back of her mind. Here's what she wrote about Mad Men:
When Mad Men debuted 2 seasons ago, I watched 2 episodes and refused to ever watch it again. I hated--did I say hated...I despised the way women were depicted. Been there, done that, didn't need to revisit."Despised"? "Been there, done that"? That's a little visceral for a TV show, isn't it?
Possibly not. Back in 1997, Spivak exercised a "suicide pact" written into her contract at JWT which allowed her to resign if New York CEO Susan Gianinno left the agency. (You know how women always go to the bathroom in pairs? It was a bit like that.)
Shortly after that, she sued JWT for $13 million (!) alleging gender discrimination and defamation. She claimed:
[JWT Worldwide CEO] Chris Jones set out to "undermine [her] credibility and competence in the presence of [her] colleagues," specifically by removing significant areas of her authority and refusing to meet with her or return her calls.
"It was Jones' intention, therefore, to make me appear before others as merely a pestering woman" ...Spivak lost, spectacularly, after a trial in New York State court at which Jones was forced to testify:
Jones cited his record of appointing women to senior management positions, including chief marketing officer Mary Baglivo, executive vice president of strategy and entertainment Marina Hahn and director of North American media services Jean Pool, who testified in his defense...Don't feel too sorry for Spivak -- she kept her $265,000 signing bonus.
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