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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Don Draper...I Owe You.

I may owe my career to Mad Men.

"But, why?" you ask...

The answer is simple: Advertising was dying in 2007. I mean it was a bloodbath. Budgets were getting sliced like deli meat and the wise guys in accounting were cutting costs and the media departments took the big hits first. Add to that the advent of TiVo which touted the ability to never have to watch commercials again and you have the perfect storm needed to switch careers and fast!

Enter Jon Hamm as the perfect Don Draper and, BAM!, you have an anti-hero that made advertising cool again in the very first episode:

"Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is OK."

The success of the show -- four straight Outstanding Drama Series Emmy Award win -- spread to the vices of the show. Lucky Strike, the preferred cigarette, saw its global sales soar 44 percent in the same period. Draper's favorite booze, Canadian Club, which had suffered seventeen years declining sales prior to Mad Men's debut, suddenly were looking to pay dividends with a 4.3 percent annual growth. Talk to any bartender and he'll tell you that cosmos are out and classic cocktails are in. Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and gimlets are suddenly popular again.

...and just like that, advertising was cool again.

Applicants at the big agencies in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago jumped, even tripled. Everyone wanted their share of creating the Great American Campaign. Agencies are now teaming with highly-specialized staff ready to solve any problem. It's a tense, dog-eat-dog environment inside those agencies and yes, it leaves many on edge. Ever wonder sets them off? Adweek's David Griner has the quintessential guide to treading lightly and the comments sure to provide spontaneous combustion:
  • To a Copywriter: "I hope you didn't make plans this weekend."
  • To an Art Director: "Hmm, it just needs, I don't know, more pop, you know? Like, more (makes waving hand motions) crackle to it. Cleaner, maybe. Oh and these partner logos need to be added, and brand standards require they run green on black."
  • To a Creative Director: "Oh, you mean like the thing Old Spice did?"
  • To an Account Executive: "Then tell the client they'll just have to live with it."
  • To the CEO: "Did you see that big article today about [rival agency down the road]?"
  • To the CFO: "So I was cleaning out my desk, and I found some invoices."To a Media Planner: "Can't we just take it from the discretionary budget? You guys always have a discretionary budget."
  • To a Media Director: "We're thinking full-court press: Mobile, social, TV, outdoor, viral. We really need to get everything we can from this $125,000."
  • To a New Business Manager: "How important is this pitch?"
  • To a Producer: "What do you mean we can't license the song? The client already approved the rough cut. Just make it happen."
  • To a Project Manager: (On the way out the door) "Oh that? I didn't get around to it."
  • To a Video Editor: "The client's son is in film school and has some ideas. He says you can just send him the raw files if you're not up to it."
  • To a Developer: "The client's expecting this to work across all the platforms: mobile, Android, Facebook, .NET, watches ... you know, all of it. Just keep it flexible and be mindful of the budget."
  • To a Production Director: "I'm pretty sure I would have noticed this kind of error on the proof. Surely they'll redo the print run if you tell them it was their fault."
  • To a Strategist: "But I'm a millennial/boomer/shopper/parent, and that's not how I feel about brand loyalty."
  • To the PR Director: "Then why didn't sales go up?"
  • To a Social Content Planner: "Man, I wish I got paid to play on Facebook and Twitter all day."
  • To the Receptionist: "You should smile more."

Before you give your well-meaning, head-in-the-clouds secretary who doesn’t always seem to understand the subtleties of the workplace, some more grief consider this: Meredith Explains Why She’s Don Draper’s Best Secretary Ever!

Sneer at the customer. Keep your colleagues on edge. Claim credit. Speak first. Put your feet on the table. Withhold approval. Instill fear. Interrupt. Ask for more. And by all means, take that last doughnut. You deserve it.

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Artist Steals Instagram Photos & Sells Them For $100K At NYC Gallery...yes, right now you can purchase someone's Instagram photo for around $100,000. The money won't go to the photographer, however, it will go to "artist" Richard Prince, who has blown up and made prints of other people's Instagram photos for his series titled "New Portraits."

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Imagine, in a season of racial division, imperialist deception, and capitalist malaise, the whole world gathered upon a hill sharing a fizzy brown drink. Well, they did (metaphorically) and "Hilltop" became one of the top commercials of all time. In honor of the real genius behind the ad, namely Bill Backer, the creative director at the real McCann-Erickson, here is this week's #TBT pick:

Read more about how this commercial changed the world of advertising...and the world:

What Coke Taught the World: The “It’s the Real Thing” ads were among the first to recognize the market potential of a multicultural America.