Tag Archives: advertising

Mad Men Monday – Season 7, Episode 14: “Person to Person”

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The ambiguity! After his emotional awaking with Leonard in the retreat circle, did Don finally find inner peace and decide to leave his New York persona behind? Or did his awakening give him the clarity of vision to return to McCann and write one of the most iconic ad campaigns of all time for Coca-Cola as his sly smile seems to suggest? Are we really left to believe that the only substantive result of Don’s odyssey is that he’s now learned to embrace his cool, calculating cynicism?

Don streaks across the Bonneville salt flats in a Chevy Chevelle SS and indicates the presence of a shimmy to a couple of gear heads once back in the garage. Despite his transient existence he’s still in touch with Sally, who, during a brief phone conversation, reveals Betty’s illness. Don phones Betty and insists on coming home to be with her and take care of the kids. Betty, in the name of maintaining as much normalcy as possible for them, insists on his continued absence. His absence, after all, has been an important part of their normal.

Joan and Richard visit Key West and try cocaine. Referring to her life as “undeveloped real estate,” Richard tries to persuade Joan to leave New York City and take advantage of all he can offer her. Marriage is discussed and dismissed. She later dines with Ken who is seeking the name and number of a producer that worked on the Birds Eye account. She agrees to help.

Pete leaves McCann for the last time. Peggy congratulates him and says she is happy for him. Pete says that Peggy will be a creative director somewhere by 1980. Peggy also meets Joan for lunch after agreeing to write the script for Dow’s film. She hands her a check in payment for two more additional scripts. Citing her workload, Peggy demurs. Joan suggests that they partner and turn the work into a production company: “we won’t have to answer to anyone.” Peggy ponders the proposition.

Don is dropped off at Stephanie’s house in L.A. Both are worn down by life. In the morning Stephanie leaves for a retreat and insists that Don accompany her. After Stephanie is confronted by a fellow retreat attendee about abandoning her child she leaves Don without saying goodbye . . . and without a ride. Don phones Peggy collect. After chiding him for leaving, she softens and suggests that he’d be welcomed back at McCann if he returns. After all, doesn’t he want the chance to work on Coke? Don says he phoned only to say goodbye. Peggy phones Stan to express her concern and during the conversation he confesses his love for her. After talking out her feelings, Peggy realizes that she reciprocates.

Roger visits Joan to let her know that he has decided he wants Kevin in his will. Joan accepts and chuckles when Roger says he is marrying Megan’s mother, Marie. Later Joan cancels a date with Richard in favor of a business meeting. Richard chafes at the time and attention she is devoting to her business that could be given to him. The phone rings and Joan takes the call. Richard wishes her well and leaves.

The morning following Don’s emotional awakening with Leonard, he sits in the lotus position on the cliffs above Big Sur chanting a new age mantra. He closes his eyes, smiles, a bell sounds. Cue the famous 1971 “Hilltop” Coke commercial with its message of love, harmony, and acceptance. Don has accepted who he is.

Last night’s show featured references to Chevy, turtleneck shirts, cookie tins, and the lotus, among other things.  Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.

A gallery of our selected advertisements may also be found on Flickr.

Post contributed by Josh Larkin Rowley, Reference Archivist for the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History.

Chevrolet Chevelle advertisement

Del Monte Peaches advertisement

Diamond Walnuts advertisement

Esso advertisement

Kool Cigarettes advertisement

Samsonite advertisement

Kjeldsens Cookie Tin advertisement

White Owl Cigars advertisement

Asher Knit Trousers advertisement

10a yoga001

10b yoga002

Mad Men Monday–Season 7, Episode 13 “The Milk and Honey Route”

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This week’s episode opens with Don Draper’s Cadillac methodically rolling down a dark, deserted highway.  The hum of wheels on pavement is interrupted when he is pulled over by a patrolman that, once he’s confirmed the driver’s identity, cryptically says, “You knew we would catch up with you eventually.”

Of course the scene is only a dream and Don wakes in a modest motel room somewhere in Kansas, a long way from the luxury of Manhattan.  His vision-quest through Middle America continues south only to be interrupted by car trouble in Oklahoma.  He’s dropped at a hotel where he meets the owner, Del, and his wife, Sharon.  Sharon tries to convince Don to stick around town for a VFW gathering to benefit a veteran whose kitchen burned down.  A day later, Don reluctantly accepts despite a repaired Cadillac and his own rambling spirit.  After several shots of Old Crow, a few cans of Lone Star beer, and some prodding from intoxicated vets, Don tells the table that he killed his Commanding Officer in Korea.  Later that night, Sharon lets three angry vets into Don’s hotel room who are convince that he stole the cash from the donations jar.  They leave without the money but with the keys to Don’s Cadillac which will be held as collateral until the money is returned.  Don confronts Andy, a housekeeper at the hotel, about his theft of the money, demands its return, and suggests that he get out of town.  Kindly, Don agrees to drive him to the nearest bus stop where he hands him the car keys and steps out of the car with some sage advice for the budding con artist, “don’t waste this.”  His possessions whittled down to what will fit inside a Sears bag, Don looks content.

Pete bumps into Duck Phillips on the elevator at McCann and Duck asks for a private conversation in which he tries to convince him to help persuade Learjet to hire him as a headhunter.  Pete reluctantly agrees to meet and, over the course of dinner, quickly realizes that he’s been tricked into an interview for the position.  Despite Pete’s adamant lack of interest, Duck persists and tries to convince him to attend a second dinner with the spouses.  Pete approaches Trudy about her possible attendance at the dinner and in the process reminds her how much she used to love client dinners.  Trudy admires Pete for his ability to be sentimental about the past but adds that she, on the other hand, remembers things as they actually were.  After Duck spins Pete’s no-show at the dinner as a reaction to Learjets initial salary offer they up it coniderably.  Pete shows up at Trudy’s in the pre-dawn hours, tells her of his job offer in Wichita, professes his love, and invites her to move with him and reunite the family.  Reluctant at first, she eventually accepts.

Betty struggles up the stairs at the university only to stumble and fall, injuring a rib and wounding her pride.  At the hospital a doctor requests that she phone her husband as her condition appears to be more serious.  In the car after the doctor’s visit, Francis has a tantrum and threatens to sue the hospital for frightening Betty.  A second doctor, however, confirms the findings of the first:  Betty has an aggressive form of lung cancer and is given months to live.  Back at the house, Francis castigates Betty for refusing to seek treatment and accuses her of giving up.  Against Betty’s wishes, Francis goes to Sally’s college, gives her the bad news, and enlists her to convince Betty to seek treatment.  After brushing off Sally in the kitchen, Betty enters her bedroom that evening for a conversation.  Sally accuses her of taking pleasure in the tragedy of her condition.  After watching her own mother die slowly Betty simply wishes to spare Sally that same experience.  She also hands her a letter with instructions to be opened after her death.  Back in her dormitory, Sally reads the letter detailing practical matters such as burial site and Betty’s preferred dress, hairstyle, and lipstick.  Betty says she loves her and knows that her life will be an adventure.

Last night’s episode featured references to apples, Learjet, and Old Crow whiskey among others.  Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reference the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.

A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.

1 colgate001
2 apple001
3 auto repair001
4 spain001
5 Lear
6 Tobacco Institute
7 jantzen001
8 coffee001
9 old crow001
10 Lone Star

Mad Men Monday – Season 7, Episode 11 “Time & Life”

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The characters at SC&P faced their worst fear last night as McCann Erickson planned to absorb and dissolve the agency. With 30 days to vacate their offices and 30 days for Don to find a new place to live, it truly is setting up to be the end of an era.

The episode opens on dinner as Ken enjoys toying with Pete and criticizing the work done by SC&P.

Roger receives a letter canceling the lease on the SC&P offices. After yelling at some of the secretaries, he calls McCann and discovers that it was not a mistake.  McCann is planning to absorb the agency and move everyone into their own building. Roger, Don, Pete, Ted and Joan discuss the news with dread.

Stan and Peggy observe and audition children for a client.  Stan comments that Peggy hates kids after she struggles working with them. Pete pulls her aside and tells her the bad news about the agency.

Lou calls Don and gleefully tells him that he is quitting and moving to Tokyo to work with Tatsunoko Productions on developing his comic into a cartoon.

The partners meet and come up with a strategy to move the agency to California where they could work on the clients that are a conflict for McCann. They rush off to see if they can get those clients to stick with them at “Sterling Cooper West.” Roger and Pete meet with Ken to get Dow to stay with them but he refuses and leaves.

Peggy meets with a headhunter who tells her that her best bet is to stay and work at McCann.

Pete and Trudy meet with the headmaster at Greenwich Country Day school, which rejected Tammy’s application. Pete says that it a family tradition for a Campbell to be at that school. The headmaster bears a grudge dating back to 1692 when his ancestors and Pete’s began a historic clan feud.  He insults Trudi and Pete punches him before leaving. Later Trudi bemoans the fact that it is hard being a divorced woman because men try to take advantage of her.

Stan and Peggy have to babysit a girl who was left by her mother who had to pick up her son. The girl manages to staple her finger causing an argument between Peggy and the mother who returns. Later Peggy reveals to Stan that she gave a child up for adoption and says it is not fair that women have to make hard choices when men don’t.

The SC&P partners make their pitch to keep their conflicting clients and move to California, but Jim Hobart explains that they all will have great jobs at McCann working on top tier clients like Buick and Coca Cola. Only Ted seems happy to hear that he will get what he always wanted, to work on a pharmaceutical account. They all leave and commiserate over beer. The next day the partners announce the big news to the office and try to make it sound positive, but the staff quickly start taking over them and walk away.

Last night’s show featured references to toys, Dow, Buick, and first aid, among other things.  Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.

A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.

 

1 toilet cleaner001

2 hair curlers001

3 toys001

4 japan airlines001

5 plaid jacket001

6 nabisco merged

7 buick001

8 band aid001

Mad Men Monday – Season 7, Episode 10 “The Forecast”

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Last night’s episode saw Don Draper struggling to see the future for both the ad agency and himself. The show opens with his realtor nagging him to get out of bed and replace the stained carpeting so she can sell his apartment.

Joan travels to the Los Angeles office to hire new staff with Lou Avery. She meets a retired gentleman named Richard who wanders into the office. They quickly hit it off and romance blooms. Shortly after she returns home he calls from New York and they go out again. Despite being very attracted to Joan, Richard later says he is disappointed to find out she has a young son, as he is more interested in a life of leisure and adventure. She leaves angrily.

Peggy, Ed and Mathis struggle to come up with creative work for Tinkerbell Cookies. Mathis bickers with Ed during the client pitch and ends up swearing in front of the clients. Later he tries a Don Draper line to rectify the situation and save face, which falls flat and gets him fired.

Sally is busy getting ready for a 12 state teen summer bus trip. Glen Bishop stops by to tell her that he is enlisting in the army, which upsets Sally. Later Sally tries to make amends, but can’t reach Glen by phone. Betty is surprised to see Glen after so long and they reconnect after Sally leaves for her trip when he tells her that he enlisted because he flunked out of college. She attempts to reassure him and he tries to kiss her. She thwarts his advance, but clearly shows some care and affection for him.

Peggy insists that Don conduct her performance review and he takes the opportunity to ask her about her plans for the future. She says she wants to be the first woman creative director at the agency and to “create something of lasting value.”

Richard comes to the agency with flowers to apologize for his behavior and says he wants to be a part of Joan’s life. She accepts his apology.

Don takes Sally and a few of her friends out for Chinese food before their bus trip leaves. One of her friends is flirtatious with Don, which irritates Sally. At the bus station Sally tells him that her goal in life is to get away from him and Betty and be a different person.

The episode ends with Don walking into his empty apartment to find that his realtor is in the middle of completing a contract on his apartment with a young couple. She ushers him out the door and says to him that now they just need to find him a place. He goes out to the hall and seems somewhat overwhelmed at what the future might bring.

Last night’s show featured references to grapefruit, Sanka, travelers checks and carpeting, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.

A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.

grapefruit

recorder

wilshire

american-express

sanka

carpet

oak-room

kent-state

scarves

budweiser

Mad Men Monday – Season 7, Episode 9 “New Business”

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Last night’s episode began and ended with scenes focusing on things that Don has lost in his life. At the Francis house, Don makes a milkshake for his sons. Betty and Henry come home and Don wistfully watches his family chatting together then leaves alone.

Megan calls to ask Don for $500 for the movers. She wants them to “just sign the papers and be done with this” and is tired of asking for an allowance.

Don tracks down Diana at a steakhouse. He wants to have dinner with her “even if it’s five minutes at a time.” Later she comes to his apartment in the middle of the night. They talk about their divorces and her past.

Peggy hires renowned photographer Pima Ryan for the Cinzano shoot. Stan scoffs at first, but then wants Pima to look at his work. Pima seduces him, and later makes a pass at Peggy. They both realize that Pima took advantage of them.

Megan’s mother, Marie, criticizes Megan for letting Don off so easy. Megan’s sister implies that Megan is a failure because of her divorce. Marie is left to supervise the movers at Don’s apartment and fills the whole moving truck with Don’s furniture. Marie calls Roger asking for cash to pay the mover. He arrives at Don’s apartment with the money and Marie rekindles their previous affair.

Harry and Megan meet for lunch to discuss her acting career. He flatters Megan, but then makes a pass at her. She leaves in disgust. She goes back to Don’s apartment, shocked to discover it empty except for Roger and Marie. Megan scolds them both and leaves.

Don and Megan meet in the attorney’s office. Megan accuses him of ruining her life. Don writes her a check for a million dollars. “I want you to have the life you deserve,” he says. She takes the check and gives Don her wedding ring.

Don arrives at Diana’s tiny apartment. He is ready for a new start and gives her a book about New York City. Diana insists that she can’t see him anymore because she forgot about the daughter she abandoned while with Don and she never wants to do that. Don goes home to find his apartment completely empty.

Last night’s episode featured references to blenders, Life Cereal, Cinzano vermouth, photography, Champagne, and Tab, among other things.  Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.

A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.

1 blender

2 movers and guide book

3 Life cereal

4 Vermouth

5 camera

6 Champagne

7 Tab

8 Golf wear

9 white trench coat

Mad Men Mondays: Season 7, Episode 8 “Severence”

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Mad Men is back!  This half-season premier felt like an extended dream sequence with Peggy Lee’s eerie hit “Is That All There Is?” bookending the episode.

The episode opens with Don holding a cup of vending machine coffee and a lit cigarette while posing a woman wearing nothing but a pricy fur coat—Don, the eternal misogynist.  The scene widens to reveal that he is in fact working a casting call at the office.

Mathis attempts to set up Peggy on a blind date with his brother-in-law.  After some initial resistance she eventually acquiesces.  While something of a milquetoast—he won’t even return an incorrect food order—the date goes well and, after some wine and a bottle of Galliano, the date nearly culminates in a spontaneous trip to Paris.  Instead, the couple settles for a phone call in two weeks.

Fearing the toll that the advertising industry is taking on his psyche, Ken Cosgrove’s wife tries to persuade him to get out of the advertising business and focus on his writing.  The following day, at the behest of a McCann-Erickson executive, Ken is fired by Roger.  While expressing some bitterness at Roger’s lack of loyalty, he chooses to interpret the moment as kismet, an opportunity.  Rather than focus on his writing he listens to his competitive instincts and accepts a position as director of advertising for Dow Chemical.  Rather than pulling Dow’s business from the SC&P he vows to be a difficult client to please in the future.

Peggy and Joan have an encounter of their own with the heavy-handed and none-to-subtle staff of McCann.  On behalf of SC&P’s client Topaz pantyhose, together they pitch the possibility of McCann introducing them to some of their department store clients.  After a few minutes of crude innuendo from the McCann reps, Peggy finally persuades them to take a look at the proposal.  Rather than a bonding experience the meeting results in an elevator argument between Peggy and Joan over the meeting’s takeaway lessons.

After a vision (dream?) of Rachel Katz, his brief fling from season 1, in Chinchilla fur, Don attempts to set-up a meeting with her under the auspices of a potential partnership between her department store and Topaz pantyhose only to learn that she has recently passed from an illness.  Perhaps it’s the memory of Rachel that informs his continued attraction to the mysterious waitress at the late-night diner.   With Rachel’s family sitting shiva, Don attempts to pay his respects only to be cast out.  Finding his way to the diner, he attempts to connect with the waitress only to be told that the tryst was merely just compensation for the large cash tip from a previous evening.

Last night’s episode featured references to toasters, L’eggs hosiery, wine stained carpet, veal, pop tarts, and Paris.

A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.

1-Topaz008
2 Carpet009
3-McGregor010
4-Pop-tart011
5-Fleischmans012
6-Veal013
7-Galliano014
8 Paris015

Super Bowl XIX and the Million Dollar Minute

During this year’s Super Bowl, Kim Kardashian will spoof her own public image to promote a T-Mobile data plan. The cost of airing this half-minute commercial? $4.5 million. The price tag for a minute of airtime has grown exponentially since Super Bowl I, from the bargain rate of $150,000. Advertisers are willing to front the cost because Super Bowl commercials are a cultural phenomenon unto themselves—ad exposure is amplified far beyond television viewership on game day.

Cover of JWT’s study, “The Million Dollar Minute,” 1985.
Cover of JWT’s study, “The Million Dollar Minute,” 1985. From the Burt Manning Papers, 1956-1988.

Super Bowl XIX produced network television’s first million dollar minute in 1985, prompting advertisers to ask, “Is it worth it?” The J. Walter Thompson (JWT) advertising agency set out to convince its clients that—with a stand-out, creative ad—Super Bowl advertising was indeed worth the price. The agency conducted marketing research following the 1985 game specifically to measure the impact of Super Bowl advertising. JWT interviewed over four hundred people about their football viewing habits and attitudes towards Super Bowl commercials, then summed up its findings in a report entitled, “Super Bowl XIX and the Million Dollar Minute: Anatomy of an American Institution.”

Over 100 million viewers tuned in to watch the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Miami Dolphins, 38 to 16, in 1985. This made it the tenth highest-rated show of all time, but it still fell short of the ABC network’s predictions and records set by past Super Bowls. The series finale of M*A*S*H* in 1983 still held the number one spot with a Nielsen rating of 60, compared to Super Bowl XIX’s rating of 46.

Even as football audiences were shrinking and Super Bowl viewership was in decline, the price of advertising spots continued to climb. “But,” JWT asked, “what about values beyond the ratings?” The agency argued that Super Bowl ads had a significant impact on Americans, beyond the number of viewers they reached.

Advertising during the Super Bowl was a gamble. Companies put down major financial outlays in the hopes that the impact of a Super Bowl ad would pay off. Thirty-six advertisers spent a combined $30 million for 52 minutes of commercials spread over six hours for the 1985 championship. JWT warned that an expensive ad could still be drowned out by the “chatter factor” of Super Bowl gatherings, or succumb to the power of the “remote-tuner zapping” channels.

JWT’s study confirmed the obvious with such observations as, “Super Sunday is a major social event” and, “Eating is a major part of Super Sunday.” But it also uncovered what makes a Super Bowl ad a unique opportunity for advertisers. Super Bowl advertisers had an automatic advantage with a significant segment of the audience. 14% percent of the viewers polled reported that they felt more favorable towards Super Bowl advertisers than the promoters they saw during the regular football season. Nearly half of the respondents were able to recall one or more commercials aired during the Super Bowl without any prompting.

IBM invested millions of dollars to air 13 spots sprinkled from the pre-game show through post-game programming. Apple took a different approach by publicizing its sole commercial in advance of game day. The company placed full-page ads in the Sunday newspaper, advising, “If you go to the bathroom during the fourth quarter, you’ll be sorry.” JWT had several high-profile clients in the Super Bowl that year, including Ford Motor Company, Hyatt Hotels, the U.S. Marines, and Miller Brewing Company.

Budweiser, Ford, IBM, and Apple commercials had the highest rate of unaided recall by participants in JWT’s study. IBM ran a 30-second spot over a dozen times featuring a light-hearted Charlie Chaplin impersonator. With slapstick flair, Chaplin shuffled around IBM’s PC Jr, “The computer that’s growing by leaps and bounds.” The PC Jr could run “powerful, up-to-date” programs like Lotus 123 on 8-inch floppy disks.

Apple’s ad, in contrast, had a dark and brooding tone. The minute-long commercial, entitled “Lemmings,” aired just once during Super Bowl XIX. A line of blind-folded businessmen mindlessly trudged one by one across a barren landscape until they plummeted over the edge of a cliff. Apple promised to break the monotony of “business as usual” when it released the Macintosh Office computer. JWT’s study found that the ad was the both the most loved and the most hated game day commercial that year.

The J. Walter Thompson Company’s recommendations for how to make the most of a Super Bowl advertisement sound familiar. Specifically, advertisers should use supplemental promotions and tie-ins with other forms of media to ensure their ad gets noticed. “Create additional top spin,” JWT advised. T-Mobile has certainly done so. The company released its Kim Kardashian ad early, giving Conan viewers the first glimpse. The ad won over 6 million hits on YouTube in two days. Entertainment news outlets, bloggers, and Kardashian’s 28 million Twitter followers have given the commercial momentum before it even appears on television. What is this “top spin” worth? Maybe $10 million.

Post contributed by Georgia Welch, Reference Intern for the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

150 Years of J. Walter Thompson Co. History

J. Walter Thompson owl logoOn this day in 1864, William J. Carlton and Edmund Smith established the Carlton & Smith advertising business in New York, NY. A few short years later, the agency hired a young man by the name of James Walter Thompson. Initially hired as a bookkeeper, Thompson would ultimately purchase the company from Carlton in 1878 and change the agencies name to the J. Walter Thompson Co. It would go on to be one of the largest and most enduring advertising agencies in the world with more than 200 offices in 90 countries around the world.

In 1987, the agency placed its corporate archive in the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library here at Duke University. The archive consists of roughly 5,000 linear feet of material and 160 individual collections including the papers of nearly 60 former executives, the records of six offices, 25 departments and functional centers, and over a dozen “artificial” collections such as writings and speeches, agency publications, and newsletters. Navigating this web of interconnected collections is enough to intimidate the most seasoned archival researcher, including library staff.

To help tame the wilderness of the JWT archives, Hartman Center staff, led by Technical Services Archivist Richard Collier, along with our colleagues in Digital Project Services, created an online portal to the JWT archive. We hope the portal will facilitate researcher navigation and discovery of material within the archive and help JWT commemorate its 150th year of operation.

Screen capture of the J. Walter Thompson timeline.
J. Walter Thompson Co. timeline

The portal consists of three major features: an interactive timeline (part 1 and part 2); an administrative history of JWT; and a list of collections associated with JWT in the Rubenstein Library. The timeline feature marks important dates in the history of JWT. You can scroll from event to event using the arrows or—if you were interested in learning about the agency during World War II for instance—you can scroll through the timeline bar and select a specific event.

7 Up's timeline entry.
7 Up’s timeline entry.

The second feature of the portal is an in-depth administrative history of JWT. This portion of the portal presents the history of JWT in a more linear fashion. Entries in the administrative history cover several basic topics: people, accounts, offices, innovations, and general company history. Researchers can trace when the company hired important personnel; acquired large, long-term clients such as Unilever, Ford, Kraft, Eastman Kodak, Kellogg, RCA, and the United States Marine Corps; opened national and international offices; technical achievements and innovations in radio, television, and print advertising; and other tidbits of company history such as milestones in billings and the history of the agency’s corporate branding. Each entry is illustrated with relevant photographs, advertisements, and internal documents.

Screen capture of Associated Collections featureThe final feature of the portal is perhaps the most important component of the timeline. To further assist researchers in making connections between JWT’s corporate history and collections in the archive, we have included a list of associated collections with published online guides.

The timeline has been split into two sections: the first covering 1864 through 1930 and the second into the 2000s. We encourage you to explore the images, advertisements, records, and archival collections documenting the agency’s 150 years of operation. And, of course, Happy Birthday, JWT!

Post contributed by Josh Larkin Rowley, Reference Archivist for the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

Mad Men Mondays Tuesdays: Episode 7, “Waterloo”

Mad Men Mondays logo

Mad Men‘s  midseason finale juxtaposes the U.S. space program and Napoleon as twin parables on the successes and failures of grand vision and ambition. The Apollo 11 launch and landing on the moon in July 1969 provides a running theme through the episode, and creates a poignant contrast between everyday life and a preoccupation with events 100,000 miles out in space.

The episode opens with Bert Cooper trying to watch the Apollo liftoff and yelling at the maid to turn off the vacuum cleaner. Meanwhile in California, Ted Chaough’s existential crisis while flying over Claremont terrifies the Sunkist representatives; in a later phone call he tells Jim Cutler that he wants to leave advertising altogether. Lou Avery complains to Jim Cutler that Don’s appearance in the Philip Morris client meeting cost them the Commander business to Leo Burnett. Betty entertains house guests that include surly teenager Sean and his nerdy younger brother Neil. Harry’s partnership in the firm is still under consideration, not finalized, and serves as a nodal point in a power struggle between Jim Cutler and Roger Sterling. The creative team preps for their presentation to Burger Chef in Indianapolis, while Pete worries that “now we just have to pray everything goes smoothly on the moon.”

Elsewhere at the agency, SC&P staff members speculate on the consistency of the moon’s surface while Don receives a breach of contract letter from the agency attorney. It turns out that Jim Cutler had initiated the letter in an attempt to force Don out, a move that enrages some of the other partners who hadn’t been notified before their names were placed on the letter. Don calls for a vote on his status, which is affirmed with only Joan and Jim voting to remove him. Joan, bitter that Don’s actions have cost her money, nonetheless criticizes Jim for his tactics: “You shouldn’t have done that.” Don phones Megan to tell her about the tensions at the agency, but when he suggests to her that it may be an opportunity to start over on the west coast, Megan hesitates before breaking things off with Don.

On Sunday all eyes are watching the lunar landing on television; most are amazed but surly Sean complains about the cost of the space race. When Sally repeats this to Don over the phone, he tells her “Don’t be so cynical.” Bert Cooper says a quiet “Bravo.” Shortly after, Roger receives a call that Bert has died, and goes to the office to remove Bert’s name plate from his door. He meets Joan and Jim Cutler there. Jim uses Bert’s death to suggest an opportunity to get rid of Don, to which Roger objects. Roger informs Don of Bert’s passing, and Don goes to Peggy’s hotel room to tell her to do the Burger Chef presentation herself. Roger meets with an associate at McCann Erickson who wants the Chevy team for the Buick account, but Roger suggests that McCann buy a stake in SC&P. McCann is interested only if Roger can keep the creative team of Don and Ted together.

The Burger Chef management is wowed by Peggy’s presentation, where she used the lunar landing event as a symbol of people’s hunger for connection and turned it into an analogy for the kinds of connections often missed at family dinners mediated by ever-present television. Burger Chef, she argues, offers a place to re-connect families. Her presentation ultimately wins the account. When Don returns home from Indianapolis, Roger is waiting for him and tells him of the McCann offer. Roger says it’s the only way to save the agency, as he fears Jim won’t stop until he gets rid of everyone. The next day Roger calls a partners’ meeting to announce the McCann offer; Don talks Ted into staying on and the partners’ unanimously agree to the buyout—including Jim Cutler who sees he has been outmaneuvered by Roger. On his way back to his office, Don sees the ghost of Bert Cooper, singing “The Best Things in Life Are Free.”

Last night’s episode featured references to the space mission, Napoleon, Newport, Popsicle, electric percolators and The Wild Bunch, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.

A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.

Apollo_Pen_B310

Courvoisier_F330

Newports_G111

Presto_H220

Apollo_Launch_Invite

Popscicle_F160

Adding_Machine_B310

Kraft_Grape-_Jelly_F160

Wild_Bunch

Bike_G440

Astronaut_Toys_G450

Mad Men Mondays: Episode 6, “The Strategy”

Mad Men Mondays logo

After weeks of angst and anxiety, Mad Men showed viewers a happier Don Draper and Peggy Olsen last night. They are finally back in sync and working well together. Peggy and Mathis survey mothers at a Burger Chef restaurant about their reasons for buying family dinners there. Pete and Bonnie fly to New York together. Peggy presents a seemingly successful Burger Chef pitch to Lou and others, but is told that Don should be the one to present it to the client, which angers her.

Megan comes to New York for the weekend and spends time looking for her fondue pot and other items she wants to bring back to Los Angeles, while Don tries to make her nostalgic for her New York home. Bob Benson comes to New York with representatives from Chevy.  He has to bail one of them out of jail and is told that GM will be pulling the Chevy account and giving it to Campbell-Ewald, but that Bob will be offered a job at Buick. Peggy second guesses the Burger Chef pitch and works on it all weekend.

Pete visits his daughter Tammy, who barely recognizes him, and he is angry that Trudy is not around.  He gets drunk and waits for her return, only to be told that he is no longer part of that family and doesn’t get to complain.  Bonnie is angry that Pete doesn’t spend time with her in New York and leaves to go back to Los Angeles.

Don comes in to help Peggy rework the Burger Chef campaign and they manage to have productive and candid conversations.  Their creative compatibility shows through and their conversations inspire a better pitch for Burger Chef. Bob visits with Joan and her family, bearing gifts for everyone.  He proposes to Joan, and tells her that a marriage would be good for both of them. She says no, stating that she will hold out for love. The SC&P partners meet to discuss losing Chevy.  They decide to make Harry Crane a partner, with some dissention from Joan and Roger. Don and Peggy meet Pete at a Burger Chef to sell him on the new pitch.

Last night’s episode featured references to loafers, Buick, Barbie, Fondue pots, among other things.  Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.

A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.

You-Never-Had-Syrup-So-Good

Buick_T110

Leo_Burnett_B110

Loafers

AAA9660

Barbies_G450

Rheingold_F310

Erector_Set_G450

Bisquick_F113

Fondue_Cooking

Lighter_G120

Engagement_Ring_G210