Sky Atlantic to air Mad Men premiere with vintage 1960s ad breaks

Classic spots for Fairy, Milk Tray and American Airlines to run in place of normal commercials

Mad Men’s attention to period detail will extend beyond the show itself when the long-awaited fifth series makes its UK debut tonight: Sky Atlantic will not air any current advertisements during the two-hour season premiere, replacing them entirely with classic promos from the 1960s.


Brands that would have been top of the wishlist for Don Draper’s British equivalents, including Milk Tray, Citroen, Kit Kat, Tetley and Birdseye, will feature. There will also be a smattering of American advertisements from the 1960s, including American Airlines and Pringles.

Among the most memorable campaigns revived for one night only will be the original Cadbury’s Flake girl, the Milk Marketing Forum’s super-fit “pinta man”, and the Fairy washing-up liquid advert starring Nanette Newman and a young Leslie Ash.

Nick Milligan, managing director of Sky Media, said: “Taking our inspiration from the series, we wanted to give our viewers the opportunity to enjoy adverts from the era of Mad Men and to create real event programming. I’m delighted with the response we’ve had from the industry.”

Sky’s business model is built more on subscription payments than advertising revenue, especially on Sky Atlantic, which is only available to Sky TV homes. But it seems the brands involved were keen to highlight their long history by paying for the spots.

Stephen Davis, EMEA marketing director for American Airlines – whose vintage ad features American innovations of the time, such as accepting credit – said: “This initiative provides an opportunity to showcase our historical advertising, which is then a great segue into the present day with our Kevin Spacey/Individual campaign.”