This is the story of Christian Troelstrup. In 1936, some 30 years before the iconic Mad Men were working their magic in advertising agencies on Madison avenue, Christian Trolestrup was working in a department store in a 5 story building on Møntergade 17 in Copenhagen. He had no ambition, as far as we know, of working in the advertising industry.
Niels Christian Pedersen was born on October 15, 1883 in the village Troelstrup in the Nibe district of Jutland. Christian did not come from a wealthy family and he was one of 12 children that had to start earning a living from early childhood. He was five years old when he was put to work as a stable boy. But Christian wanted more from life, and at age 25 he left his small town and traveled to Copenhagen to open a clothing store in a basement store on Møntergade 17.
Things went well for Christian and before long he bought the entire building, and converted it into a department store for men’s and boy’s clothing. But as with all successful entrepreneurs he soon found a bigger and better building so as a last farewell to his property in Møntergade, Christian Troelstrup arranged an event in the spring of 1936.
His idea was to cover his entire building with coats – all five floors from sidewalk to gutter. The success of the idea can be seen in the photograph taken by a passing American photographer. His idea went viral and was reproduced in newspapers across Europe and America and according to National Geographic ‘By the time the harassed policeman had convinced the storekeeper that his coats must come down, they had all been sold!’
There was no award for Christian’s marketing genius at the time. Today, he would have probably been known as the best Mad Man ever!