Sunday, November 6, 2011

#25: Mad Men

Last year I attended a brand meeting in Portland, Maine with Lars Bastholm, he was the Chief Digital Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather at the time. I remember his presentation because it was visually interesting and at one point he told us all to watch Mad Men, if nothing else but for the fantastic art direction.
So, I put it on my 26 things list and saw the pink dress that Betty wears in episode 4, and fell in love.

I know that Mad Men is not a new phenomenon, but I’ve never really liked the whole “follow the craze when it’s a craze and everyone is talking about how great it is while you’re buying vegan pop chips at the grocery store.” I think I’m scarred from my teenie bopper days and obsession with boy bands in 5th grade. When clearly, the new and popular were the most important.  “Oh my god, did you get the new N*SYNC album with the song Pop Music is forever and ever, it’s amazing!!” Bah. (Sorry J-Timbs, I do appreciate the beats).

However, now, one-and-a-half seasons into Mad Men, here is my short, and lovely commentary.

Apparel with Appeal: Amazing. Everything is on target and interesting. The style chosen for each character fits perfectly. Even Banana Republic wanted to capitalize on the trend so they started a Mad Men line.

“Managing Expectations”: Season 2, I believe Episode 4 – Don Draper fires his new secretary because she doesn’t know how to “manage expectations”. This is actually one of my favorite quotes and I think it spans outside of the ad world. Your boss depends that you manage the expectations of their peers, clients, and business partners. I just never heard the information articulated so correctly.

Women and Work: I'm happy this isn’t how it works anymore.

Alcohol: There’s a lot of it. I would say almost every scene...

Joan, My Mini Love Affair: From what I can tell Joan makes the place run, and looks damn good doing it. She’s smart, savvy, and knows what the men are thinking before they do. She’s definitely my favorite character.

Betty's fabulous pink dress and blue/green belt.
Photo Credit: ABC Blog
I heart Joan.
Photo Credit: ABC Blog

Oh advertising agencies. It’s all about creating a persona that’s cool or innovative or [insert adjective here] for a client. Companies portray the ability to know more than the client, to act like toothpaste is the most important thing man created, to bring a fresh perspective to a company or secure a brand that's going haywire. They look at the world in a different way than most of us and they know it.

I plan to watch every last episode of Mad Men and if you like intense and creative story lines, I highly recommend it. 


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