"Mad Men" in Real Life: Jane Maas on What Madison Avenue was like for a Woman in the 1960s

Jane Maas, author of Jane Maas, author of Jane Maas is often called a real-life Peggy Olsen. Like Olsen's character on AMC's "Mad Men," who worked her way through the ranks to become an advertising executive, Maas left the secretarial pool and joined Ogilvy & Mather as a copywriter in 1964, later becoming a creative director at the advertising agency. Her new book, "Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond" offers an insider's look at what really went on during the "Mad Men" era.

PHOTOS: "Mad Men" era advertisements

"My priorities are job first, husband second, children third," she writes in her book. "It's the only way for a woman to survive in the advertising business. And in the marriage business."

"Mad Men" (the fifth season starts on March 25) is pretty accurate, she told CBS News. "Except whatever they're doing on the show, we did more."

"There was more sex, there was more drinking, and women were treated even worse," she said.

She gives plenty of examples in her book.

"Office parties were always a sexual hazard," she writes. "It was said that no virgin ever returned a virgin from the Ogilvy boat ride, the wildest event of all. It was a cruise around Manhattan Island, to which everyone at the agency was invited. This annual affair was an orgy of heavy drinking and fairly overt sex. At least it was annual until the office manager got so drunk on one cruise that he fell overboard. He was fished out, none the worse for wear, but Ogilvy management weighed anchor on the boat ride."

(Photo: Amazon.com)(Photo: Amazon.com)"There was no such term as 'sexual harassment' in those days," Maas pointed out. Though she eventually found fame working on Wells Rich Greene's iconic "I Love New York" ad campaign for New York state and became the president at another high-powered ad agency (Earle Palmer Brown), she dealt with her fair share of unwanted sexual advances in the office.

But women weren't always the victims. "Sometimes, women found that the best way they could get ahead was to make it with your boss," she said -- another plot line from "Mad Men" that rings true in real life.

There are a couple of things the show gets wrong, she says. For one thing, female copywriters wore hats in the office -- a sign that they had a higher status than the secretaries. And while there was plenty of alcohol around, "We never drank in the morning," she said. "And women only went out to work maybe twice a week, because were were aware that the men went out to lunch every day and have three martini lunches, and somebody had to stay at the office to get the work done."



Some things have changed from back in the day, she said in an interview with Ad Age. "The biggest thing that's changed is that women are not accepting of being second-class citizens anymore," she said. "When I was a junior copywriter at Ogilvy, a man who sat next to me went into the boss and announced he was getting married; it was a great thing and he got a raise. When women announced they were getting married they were warned they had to leave if they got pregnant."

That made Maas, a mother of two, even more of a rebel in her time. "You don't see working moms hanging around at the Mad Men agencies," she said.

Copyright © 2012 Yahoo Inc.




Also on Shine:

"Mad Men" women: Two kinds of office power, neither respected
The makeup behind "Mad Men"
"Shut the door and have a seat": Smart women finally valued by "Mad Men"