Within the slipcase lurk two stunning, oversize hardback collections of Mad Men era adverts. By my count, the teal '50s volume which features a perfectly-suited male on the cover, runs to 320 pages. The orange '60s volume, featuring an impeccably dressed female, clocks in at 400 pages, including the index for both volumes. The contents for both volumes is in the first book, with a brief (3 page) preface by editor Jim Heimann, "Mad for Ads" in English, German, and French. There's also a four page intro. by Steven Heller in three languages called "Advertising in the 'Fifties: The Age of Affluence". The orange volume includes a four page piece by Heller, "So, What's the Big Idea?" The endpapers on the first volume give a brief advertising timeline from 1945-1959, with the second volume picking up at 1960-1970. In between the 13.5 X 10" covers are nothing but color drenched, full page ads from these two decades.
So what's the problem? There isn't one, unless you already bought the numerous other Taschen volumes of ads from these decades. Even if you did (as I did), you may want this deluxe edition, if only for the presentation. The All American Ads volumes were even thicker than these hardbacks-- the '50s volume running over 900 pages All-American Ads of the 50s. There were also smaller, hardback editions in a series called The Golden Age of Advertising which were reprinted by Barnes and Noble, which I think are called Turtlebacks for some reason, but which tend to come up as "unknown binding" on Amazon. The '60s volume is about 350 pages The 60s: The Golden Age of Advertising. Some of these ads also showed up in the series of pocket-sized books in the Taschen Icons line.
Mid-Century Ads collects representative samples from Heimann's enormous ad stock from the '50s and '60s, but Taschen also put out books on other decades of advertising. Arguably, this is yet another attempt to cash in on the success of Mad Men, but as media critic Marshall McLuhan noted in the 'sixties, the artists of the day were all working on Madison Avenue. These two volumes, and the variations referred to above provide an endlessly fascinating introduction to two very different decades, and the allure of their inimitable style.