Tag Archives: Mad Men

Mad Men’s Old School vs. New School Power Scene

I’ve been thinking all week about a scene in Mad Men’s last episode: at the end, hip-chick copywriter Peggy goes out into the lobby to meet her hipster pals who have come to take her to lunch. Peter, Roger, Don et al are in the lobby, ready to wheel and deal with some clients from Vicks. The hipsters are just outside the glass lobby wall; the old school is inside. I reserve the phrase “breathtaking” for Bruce Springsteen concerts, but this was a breathtaking moment in TV. It was Show, Don’t Tell at its finest. The hipsters, or the new school (for that time) were at the gates, and they were on the brink of invading, as the old school, as they are apt to do, didn’t notice.

It reminds me of an elderly executive I worked with a few years ago, who told me that Web 2.0 was over-rated, and that social media would be a passing fad. He was laid off about a two years ago, and has been unable to find a job since. His skills are of the Mad Men variety, and no doubt, in his hey day, he was a bright shining star. Unfortunately, he didn’t grow and adapt his skills to the market, and worse, he was obstinate about any new marketing change, preferring instead, to strictly adhering to the basic 4Ps of marketing–which have grown to 7ps to include People, Process and Physical Evidence.

People refers to, in a vague way, the social networks. Marketing used to be about you and your customer, but now it’s about you, your employees, the media, the customers–and a whole myriad of people. The opportunity is that you have forums to provide rich messages that delivers more value to your customers.

Process is really all about relationship building. It’s the added value–the experience. Think about your day spa. They probably offer you cool water with lemon slices or mint in a beautiful glass. Somehow the water at my spa is just better than when I try to do the same cocktail at home. When I make an appointment at the spa, I look forward to going, for little reasons just like that. It’s part of the process.

Physical Evidence refers to what a customer sees and knows about your brand before they are ever a customer. I have never owned a Rolls Royce. I’d like to own one, because it’s a big, lumbering, fancy car with nice-smelling leather. Call that my physical evidence of the brand. If I go to a Rolls Royce dealer with a wad of cash to buy the car, they will treat me like I’m the Queen of England. That will be my new physical Evidence of the brand.

Like any respectable Mad Men crazed fan, I love Don Draper. It’s interesting to see the barbarians approaching the gate, though, and the ways they are going to rock his world. I think often about the senior executive I once knew, and how I’d like to connect with him and talk about the show, to see what he thinks. Hmmm, if only he were on Facebook or Twitter. . .

Mad Men Yourself

I love Mad Men, Mashable and JibJab, and not necessarily in that order–though when I realized there was a Mad Men marathon on last night I plopped down on my couch and watched it till I woke up at 1:00am and saw Don Draper’s face staring at me from the TV, then slipped happily back to dream land. So, when I saw this article in Mashable just now, I nearly spit out my water, fell off my chair and screamed with joy. JibJab and Mad Men have teamed up to promote the July 25 season premier of the show. You can morph you and your friends’ faces onto your choice of Don, Joan, Roger and Betty.

The marketing angle here is that it is a brilliant way to promote the premier. JibJab fans are as rabid about the site as Mad Men fans are about the show. And when you have a fan of both, well, you have me. This is a fun, interactive and viral way to promote the best show on TV. I think it’s so brilliant I may explode.

Guess what I’ll be doing in my free time?

Mad Men Season Finale

madmen-chrishendTomorrow night is a sad day for “Mad Men” addicts everywhere. It’s a death knell to a season of scotch-swilling, skirt chasing, cigarette-smoking, Man/Dame bantering, lawn-mowering, and what’s- wrong-with-Betty-Draper wondering. Yes. It’s the season finale of “Mad Men.” I, for one, may have to drown my sorrows in a bottle of wine and borrow some valium from a nervous friend.

I love “30 Rock.” “The Office” always makes me laugh. I’m a CNN addict. Oh who is kidding who? It’s not just the season finale of “Mad Men.” It’s the season end of the best TV there is. Now I’m going to have read a book if I want this level of great writing.

Until I figure out my next step post “Mad Men,” I’m going to ponder the following piece of advice given by Matthew Weiner, the Creator/Producer/Writer of the show. On Wednesday night I saw a Q&A at the Writer’s Bloc with Mr. Weiner. A woman asked him what advice he had for struggling actors/writer/etc. In LA, anyone with artistic pursuits is often classified as an “etc.,” as they are hoping to hedge their bets on fame. Anyway, after sighing that he got asked this question again, Matthew said, “Just pursue your craft and don’t worry about the rules people tell you exist, like you are too old to make it, or too this or too that, or too anything. You just have to be the one who breaks the rules and you have to think about how sweet the vengeance will be.”

That got a round of applause.

A young man then asked him how he overcame writer’s block. I leaned forward in my seat for this one. “I don’t have writer’s block,” he said. He then added, “Oh, but that might be because I dictate into a recorder. I talk the idea through. I can get through a whole script in a day that way. And if I can say it and it sounds good, then I know I have good dialogue.”

I thought it was a clever idea, and one I’ve considered trying myself. Since the man is responsible for the most brilliant writing on TV, I am not going to doubt him.

One other note about that night: Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan, was in the audience. Joan is my favorite character on the show, and if you have watched it, you understand why. She’s a complex personality who plays her full-throttle sexuality with uber-confidence, and sometimes smugness. Often this strategy has let her down; rarely has it gotten the results that she believes it will. That’s one reason why fans love her. Underneath her calm exterior she’s smoldering with disappointment at how life has turned out so far, but damn if she’ll let that keep her down.

Hendricks must be one incredible actress because to see her you can’t believe she and Joan are one and the same. The attractive actress looks ten years younger than her character, and she’s all baby-faced and sweet. She could be the poster-woman for the Girl Next Door. Maybe she was trying to down-play the glam that night because she had to sit in the middle of an audience of some scary-looking writers, myself included, but seriously, I was struck by how innocent she looks. And really, maybe that’s Joan’s appeal. There is, after all, something very innocent about the way Joan oozes sexuality like a child working it in a candy store. This season, she’s certainly matured, and she’s a little road weary from her loser husband.

One more Weiner story: He was talking about script notes he gets from studio executives, and how hard criticism can be to take. He said he sometimes reads these notes and thinks about the VP writing it, and wants to tell them, “What have you ever written besides this f@#$&! note?”