Mad Men—Matt Weiner’s AMC paean to the lost world of the Man in the Grey Flannel Suit—will end in less than a week. Hard to believe for those of us in the business who’ve watched since 2007 and felt this was OUR show.
What started as a retro homage to ritualized workplace sexism, overflowing office drinks carts and the last-minute Creative Director presentation “save,” morphed into a deeply psychological exploration of what David Ogilvy called “suffer brilliance.” Don Draper is a cipher, a nimble and gifted wordsmith/visionary, and ultimately a vassal of emptiness.
Embracing both the show’s undeniable fun/cool factor and the more subterranean existential aspects, we share the things we learned and enjoyed over the past 8 years.
- Drinking and copywriting do not mix.
- Creative people can be complicated (stalkers, alcoholics, insecure, manic, childhood trauma survivors, or even—say, someone who accidentally killed his Commanding Officer and assumed his identity)
- The oldest guy in the agency usually controls the finances.
- Client presentations should always be a little piece of theatre, especially for broadcast concepts.
- It’s not really the kiss of death when a client says, “Do you have anything else?” at the end of the presentation.
- When it comes to accessing research, thank God for the Internet.
- Crazy personal lives tend to spill over onto your corner office leatherette couch.
- Everybody looked better dressed up. Agreed?
- Somebody at the agency needs to wear a bow tie.
- Kitchens look SOOOOO much better now.
- Pan Am. Just Pan Am.
- Self-loathing can result in wonderful explosions of creativity.
- It’s always best when a mother actually loves her children.
- Don’t be afraid to elevate a product’s features into poetry.
- Secrets aren’t good for your health, or your career.
- The right-brain-driven, procurement-designed RFP of today pretty much ensures that the least creative agency is chosen.
- New York. Just New York.
- Conference calling technology has come a long way, baby.
- Client product office demo bad idea: operating John Deere lawn mowing equipment close to junior account executive extremities.
- Beware a woman who shoots the neighbor’s pigeons.
What were your Lessons Learned from Mad Men?
Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn