Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 307 – Seven Twenty Three

Mad Men continues to include real issues faced by advertising (and yes PR firms) in an incredible show. If I wasn’t in this industry, I’m sure I would still be a fan of the show, but for me I get a bonus. I get to watch situations I encounter all the time dealt with by others. Episode 307 “Seven Twenty Three,” signifying the date Don Draper finally signs a contract with Sterling Cooper is no exception.

There really are people who do business like Conrad Hilton:

For those not familiar with agency life it might seem odd that a man who operates a huge company like Hilton would decide to make a decision like giving control over advertising very important properties like The Waldorf Astoria on a seeming whim. It happens. Believe me.  Five years ago, I was called down to meet with a company’s executive team.  We, me and a colleague, made a short presentation, and then the CEO of the company said, “Ok, now get out for a second so we can talk about you (he said it with a smile).”

When we were called back in five minutes later he said, “We want to hire you, but I have to warn you, I hire fast and I fire fast.”  That relationship between the company and the agency ended up running for several years and even outlasted my tenure with the agency.

Later, I learned that the seeming “whim,” wasn’t really a whim.  He had done his research on me and on my employer.  Just because someone seems to operate without a net, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It just means you haven’t seen it yet.

There are no secrets in business:

When Don finally signs a three year contract with Sterling Cooper he says to agency partner Bert Cooper, “I don’t want any more contact with Roger Sterling.” This seems to be relating to Roger’s betraying the secret of Don/Dick Whitman’s true identity to Cooper. The lesson here is that there are no secrets in business that last forever.  Even if everyone agrees to not betray a trust, there will come a time, when something else is more important than that trust.

Other non-agency related lessons:

  • Don’t pick up hitchhikers
  • Don’t take drugs from said hitchhikers (OK, no drugs at all)
  • The Pierre Hotel has some pretty sweet suites
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4 thoughts on “Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 307 – Seven Twenty Three

  1. I love these posts!

    I viewed the comment about not wanting to work with Roger Sterling on a number of levels. Yes, one was in the betrayal of Don’s true identity to Cooper however there was more to it.

    Don seemed to have a pattern of having to clean up messes that Roger created, both internally (within his own family unit when Roger called Betty about the contract) and externally (Roger’s affairs, etc.). I saw the call with Betty to be the straw that broke the camel’s back and the comment from Cooper was just confirmation that the idea to not interact with Sterling was the right way to go.

    Keep up the posts! I find it changes the way I watch Mad Men, in a good way!

  2. It was Pete Campbell who blew the whistle on Don Draper to Bert Cooper when Don went to Cooper about hiring Duck Phillips as Head of Account Services. Pete was trying to land the postion himself and thought that his knowledge would be leverage against Don. Cooper didn’t care, but now when he needed Don to sign the contract, he had his own leverage.

    Roger definitely angered Don on several occasions as the two posters mentioned.

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