Mad Men, the brilliant AMC drama about Madison Avenue in the 60s and leading man Don Draper have much to teach us in this Age of Technology and The New Media. This is actually my second post on the phenomenon that is Mad Men. You can read about it HERE.
I am fascinated by this series because my husband was a Mad Ave marketing guy, a copywriter at about the same time, in big agencies. He told me about much of the shenanigans you will see on Mad Men.
More to the point, is the continued tension between creative and client guys in ad agencies. Creative people believe strongly that their ideas (Don Draper’s brilliant concept regarding Kodak’s new carousel, see video link) are the engines that fill the bank accounts of ad execs. Account execs believe that they know better and they control the client.
The tension described above mirrors my experience as a web designer in a new age and an ever evolving medium. I believe that web design remains the creative side (or The Idea) and the foundation of success on the Internet. Others are more impressed by technology and fancy widgets which, in my view, are not the basics of communications.
Fans of the show out there will remember the first time this principle was played out so brilliantly in Season 1 when Don was wooing the Kodak clan about their new “wheel.” He talked about their product not by focusing on its features: how many slides it can show, how fast, etc. He showed how their product played an essential part in their customer’s lives. He brought up two chestnuts in communication: “new” and “nostalgia”.
We’ll end where we began, with an immortal line from Don Draper himself. “Technology is a glittering lure,” he tells the Kodak officials. “But there is a rare occasion when the public can be engaged beyond flash.” For those of you who want to relive that amazing presentation, click here. Do comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.