The Leith Agency has released a series of shorts starring Mad Men’s Lou Avery (Allan Havey), imagining how a creative from the Big Apple in the swinging sixties would (or wouldn't) fit into the modern era of advertising.
Mad Men, Matthew Weiner’s 92-episode show, followed the advertising industry through the 60s. It often sparked conversations about equality, race, and masculinity.
Through Jon Hamm’s Don Draper it also laid bare the era’s advertising techniques, biases and processes. Havey appeared in season six as a scrupulous penny-pincher and enemy of creatives. He replaced an off-the-radar Don Draper, and was described as ‘the most hated man on TV’ by critics during the show’s run.
In the first sketch, he is confounded by a hashtag.
Havey, a regular on the New York comedy and improv clubs scene, is promoting his new comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Leith creative directors caught Havey’s show and proposed a sketch series to bring the character back to life, based on a concept from PR and marketing agency Volpa’s head of publicity, Fraser Kirk.
Scenes were devised and largely improvised by Havey, who mistakes a microwave for a TV, a woman for a secretary and a mod for a Monkee. The series, called ‘Lou in Edinburgh', underlines how far the industry – and its staff – have come. Leith sister company Tanami produced the video.
Havey said: "It was a pleasure to resurrect the character of Lou, which was a dream to play in Mad Men. Lou was so well-written and rounded that it wasn't a stretch to put him into a comic setting. We thought it would be fun to make him a fish out of water in the 21st century and it worked.
"Hats off - pun intended - to the guys at Volpa and the Leith Agency for making it happen, and a very special thanks to Matt Weiner for giving this his blessing."
On coming up with the series, Kirk, said: "We thought it would be fun to place Lou in a series of comic scenes and Leith were the obvious choice. It was a delight to watch a germ of an idea come to life like this, and it was a treat to see Allan play Lou again."
Phil Evans, creative director at Leith, whose clients include The Famous Grouse and Irn Bru, said: "If you're a Mad Men fan, as we all are, you associate Allan with his very strait-laced, quite curmudgeonly TV role. But in real life Allan is a comedy legend who's been doing stand-up for decades. That's why this worked so well."
Allan is pulling in the crowds at this year's Edinburgh Fringe with his frank, funny and hard-edged observations on life in Allan Havey Stands Up, at Sweet Novotel (Venue 188) in Edinburgh's city centre.