Train your wife, I’ve always said, to bring your breakfast to your bed.” So goes a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes ad from 1965.

Such shockingly sexist jingles – and the frankly dull commercials in which they featured – were common in the era, the result of an ad industry devoid of female influence.

“Oh we’ve come a long way, ain’t we,” said one contributor to Mad Women (Channel 4, 9 May, 10pm), which charted the rise of women in adland.

Flake girl in the bath, Castlemaine’s “overdone it with the sherry”, and bikini-clad women falling over themselves from the Lynx effect – all were created by pioneering women creatives, we learned.

The talking head-led documentary told how in the 1970s, women found themselves “knocking on the door of a boys’ club”. Mad Men, it appears, was appallingly accurate.

Former ad agency CEO Carol Reay – creator of the Shake n’ Vac ad – described how this persisted, even when some influence was gained. “I had a personal self with my opinions and then a work self where my opinions couldn’t really count.

“I hated making an ad with another housewife, but it would have been unthinkable to voice that,” she said.

Soon though, women were setting the tone. Their stories were inspiring, but star of the show was Barbara Nokes. Of her saucy Levi’s laundrette ad: For the first time, “us lot were given the opportunity of ogling a boy. And ogle we did.”

How did she succeed in the male-dominated industry? “F*** and off were often applied.”