Monday, August 30th, 2010

Footnotes of Mad Men: From Lubricated to Morose

DON'T BECOME THE THING YOU HATED ETCDon Draper didn't know his father, so he examines figures of male authority that he dreads becoming. One is Roger Sterling. Unfortunately, Don's current trajectory points to a Sterling finish. Right now, he's an entitled lush who skips out on his family, cuts corners, sleeps with the secretaries and-worst of all-he settles for mediocre copy. One day you're taking a drunken self-congratulatory lap around a conference room of potential clients, the next day you're in a dusty corner office wistfully dictating your memoir to a bored secretary.

DRAPER DANIELS• The Vicks Chemical Company for which Peggy and the beastly art director strip down to brainstorm plays a significant role in the liturgy of advertising. Vicks is where Draper Daniels got his start in the industry. The Chemical Company offered aspiring ad men a crack at copywriting in their New York offices if they spent a year in the field pitching Vicks' products door to door. "A salesman," Daniels wrote in his autobiography, Giants, Pygmies and other Advertising People, "traveling, or otherwise, was the last thing in the world I wanted to be, but the ‘plus expenses and a car [offer]' shattered any sales resistance." After a year of canvassing the South in the name of cough syrup and vapor rub, Daniels landed in the New York headquarters and was eventually hired by Young and Rubicam, the premier ad agency of the 1940s. Per Daniels: ‘Young and Rubicam was heaven, or the next door to it, and God's name was Rubicam."


• Cold medicine also served as a histamine-free muse for one of the other advertising greats: Julian Koenig.

Koenig, a copywriter, and George Lois, art director, were the first ad and copy team to break off and start their own boutique company (Papert, Koenig, Lois) after their success with the Volkswagen campaign (Think Small and Lemon) at Doyle Dane Bernbach. The upstart ad agency garnered a good deal of esteem in 1964 when their commercial for Xerox nabbed a Clio for this quite dry but very effective ad.

• The April 1965 copy of Playboy that the Stan was thumbing through featured the following pieces:

–An interview: Art Buchwald

–Excerpt from ‘Man With The Golden Gun' by Ian Fleming

–"The Force of Habit" by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty.


Getty had this to say:

The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might of the force of habit and must understand that practices are what create habits. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that help him achieve the success he desires.

• So what of the ‘Klan-ad' cameo in the new art director's resume?

This was part of the historic Lyndon Johnson presidential campaign against Barry Goldwater from 1964. President Johnson hired DDB to produce the spots. The Klan commercial never ran, largely because the first spot in the series caused such a furious reaction from the GOP and television viewers. This was the Daisy spot.

(Better resolution here.)

It only ran once but that was enough (50 million people were watching). News programs ran the ad, newspapers covered the reactions: anyone who hadn't seen the ad was sure to have been told about it. The GOP chairman, Dean Burch, filed a formal complaint to the Fair Election Practices committee: "This horror-type commercial is designed to arouse basic emotions and has no place in this campaign."

Well, Burch was right. "The commercial evoked a deep feeling in many people that Goldwater might actually use nuclear weapons," said Tony Schwartz, the ad-man responsible for Daisy and the never aired Klan spot. Schwartz, whose major client before the White House was American Airlines, also said: "the stimuli of the film and sound evoked these feelings and allowed people to express what they inherently believed."

There is, however, no Clio award to be had in the category of political advertising.

You can always find more footnotes by Natasha Vargas-Cooper right here, or, you know, you can get a whole book of 'em.

38 Comments / Post A Comment

saythatscool (#101)

The best part of last nights episode was the sideglance Don shot Rodger in the elevator after he faked Rodger out and told him that he had offered him a job the day before at the bar.

Don Draper you magnificent son of a bitch.

sailor (#396)

Doesn't Don get a bye on the mediocre copy if he's drunk?

Sproing (#561)

I've been wanting a flashback to how Don got in the door at S-C for some time. He was a mover then; what has he come to now?

davidwatts (#72)

In advertising, in a lot of jobs, you get to the top pretty quick – see Pete Campbell's rage if his upward tradjectory is even momentarily interrupted. But then you're there at 40 or thereabouts, and then what?

Was it weird to anyone else how Don & Roger in flashback looked exactly the same as Don & Roger "now"? Shouldn't they at least have been styled differently?

David Cho (#3)

Don was happier looking and more "wide eyed".

davidwatts (#72)

oh, come on! Don was in his wider-shouldered '50s jackets (which were cheaper, and wool), their shirt collars were different, and Roger had some more black in his hair! I mean, come on! Are you actually watching Mad Men on a period TV for the "authentic" experience?

Yes, and because of that and the fact that I was half-asleep and only half paying attention, I didn't get that it was a flashback so I couldn't really follow what was going on. Will need to watch this whole episode again.

LondonLee (#922)

They looked completely different to me. I'm no, um, fashionista, but it wasn't hard to tell the difference between their clothes and hair. Joan too, was it me or did she seem more wide-eyed and girly in the flashback?

@david: In fairness, I may have been drunk. (That's a part of the "period experience" that I hope you can get behind!)

@LL: Your proximity to Savile Row is obviously rubbing off on you.

La Cieca (#1,110)

The curly long bob wig was a young, unsophisticated look, and her makeup was subtly different from "our" Joan's: a dewy finish on the foundation (in contrast to 1960s's Joan's matte), brown eyeliner instead of black, a clear red lipstick instead of the 1960s nude pinks. Hendricks pitched her voice high, too, and her body language was much more girlish. In a way she's doing just what Hamm does for the "Dick" scenes, removing the layer of sophistication and wariness that the older versions of their characters has overlaid.

mathnet (#27)

(Roger's hair had a little more height, and a wave as well. DOROTHY MANTOOTH IS AN IDIOT)

Awww. Et tu, mathy? :(
(My failure to see the eyeliner, though, is definitely fodder for all of the friends who tease me about not having gotten a 1080p yet.)

mathnet (#27)

o i love you, dotty

La Cieca (#1,110)

Roger for sure was not so silver and it looked like he was made up a bit ruddier in the flashback scenes. I could swear he also was wearing eyeliner, but maybe that's meant to suggest a more youthful eye.

Don I think was just lit more flatteringly and the hair was styled a bit fuller (though not as big as Korea-ear Dick). The assumption here, perhaps, was that Don was dressing and grooming for the job he wants instead of the job he's already got. So he might well have invested in one really good suit and kept regular appointments with his barber.

My impression is that the flashback scene is meant to be around 1955, so that would be only five years before the series started, or ten years before this season's "present." People don't change their styling all that much in five years, or at least men didn't back then. (Seeing Joan as she was at 25-ish was delightful and a bit sad too, since by 1965 standards a 35 year old married woman was considered middle-aged.)

La Cieca (#1,110)

"Korea-era" makes a lot more sense in that context, now doesn't it? Maybe I was distracted by Miss Blankenship's desultory tug on her wig while she was trying to decipher Don's orders to Peggy.

cherrispryte (#444)

I would bet the flashback's a few years before that – Sally was supposedly born in '55, right? I can't imagine Betty dating/marrying a fur salesman (though apparently that's her in the fur ad, according to the internet.) Assuming everything's vaguely on the level, this would have had to be '53 or earlier to give Betty and Don time to date, marry and pop a kid out by 1955.

kfon (#3,209)

In either S. 1 or 2, there's a flashback to Don meeting Betty as a model for the furs, I believe? Before that he was a car salesman, right? It's probably just pre-Sally.

La Cieca (#1,110)

I'm not sure where I got 1955. As I said, the cut of men's suits didn't change very quickly through the late '40s through the mid '50s. Joan's cocktail sheath felt sort of mid-decade to me, though again it's harder to pin down than daywear would have been.

1953 would probably make more sense, yes, with Don and Betty getting married (and her getting pregnant) soon after he started at Sterling Cooper.

mathnet (#27)

My thought was that Don had met, and had fallen in love with, (the idea of) Betty when he met Roger that day, and was eagerly trying to become the man she'd want to marry. (So I vote for late '52 or early '53, since they got married in the spring of '53, after Don had told Anna about Betty at Christmas in '52.)

mrschem (#1,757)

Loved that little touch.

LondonLee (#922)

That was a great episode. I had a wince of recognition at the opening scene as I can't remember the amount of times I've had to look through a portfolio of terrible work while the person is sitting there going on and on about how enthusiastic and hard-working they are and all you're thinking is 'how can I get rid of this idiot without being rude?'

mathnet (#27)

That Xerox ad is making me bored-cry and now I can't concentrate on anything fun.

mathnet (#27)

Did you know that Dr. Faye is on Law & Order right now!

mathnet (#27)

It's over. PSYYYYYCH

mrschem (#1,757)

Also, I could be wrong because I am too lazy to check but wasnt the announcer at the Clio's Jennifer Aniston's dad?

mathnet (#27)

OH! And it's not "Vick's," but "Vick Chemical Company," according to the dog whom Don Draper takes hunting and lets carry the carcasses in her teeth.

saythatscool – I thought that Roger was so drunk he did say "Welcome aboard" and hired Don rather than Don faking him out. I think it would
mirror how Don is too drunk to remember things or people like Doris (girl #2) now.

I thought that's what it was too. Like a 'blackout' hire

mathnet (#27)

But as Don's walking him out of the bar (at lunchtime), Roger says something like, 'And you're such a good fur man. I need you there.'

lilbeanie (#4,082)

I'm pretty sure that Roger didn't hire Don and Don just took advantage of the blackout situation and told him that the next day (note the little twinkle in Don's eye on the elevator-"It worked!"). The guy that Don is forced to hire because of his own blackout mirrors the way that he was hired, and offers the pretext for the inclusion of that particular flashback in this episode.

mathnet (#27)

Hmm. Easter Sunday was April 18th in 1965. And Stan was reading the April issue of Playboy, so I guess we'll find out about Anna next week?

mathnet (#27)

Oh PLUS! How fun was it to see Aniston's dad?


Trevor Jackson (#1,792)

You mean Victor Kiriakis? I recognized his voice before they showed his face.

mathnet (#27)


mrschem (#1,757)

whoops. as always, i am late to the party.

mathnet (#27)

You know what? When Joan breaks it off with Roger (Season 1?), doesn't he say something to her like, 'This has been the best year of my life' and/or 'Before, I'd been thinking about leaving my wife'? What I mean is, I'd always had the impression that it was a one-year-ish affair between the two of them, and that it had taken place in the early '60s. But so then why did we see the two of them together in the flashback to late '52/early '53?

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