Account managers were giants of accountability during the Mad Men era, when agencies were paid by media commissions and it was important to convince client executives, up and down the line, that high media spending was good for brands. Everyone benefited from this. TV advertising was effective, so clients and brands benefited from this account management salesmanship. TV advertising unleashed the agency's creative capabilities and allowed creatives to flourish and do their best work. Senior account people sold the agency's creative ideas to their clients, acting as intermediaries (for better or worse), solidifying account executives' credibility in the eyes of their clients. Although there were plenty of turf wars between the "suits" and the "creatives," the overall process assured a high degree of unity, purpose and intimacy with clients. Finally, and not insignificantly, agencies made a lot of money -- much more than they earn today.
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