Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 310 “The Color Blue”

Image of Sterling Cooper 40th Anniv from AMCTV
Image of Sterling Cooper 40th Anniv from AMCTV

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.  This week’s episode, “The Color Blue,” was no exception. Two topics for this recap:

– There is little loyalty from a holding company; and

– If your team wins, you win.

Once a company has sold once, all bets are off

Lane Pryce (also referred to in previous posts as the representative of the British Overlords) receives word from London that Sterling Cooper is up for sale. He responds by saying that he can’t understand why as he has cut expenses and increased profits. It’s at that moment that he realizes he has answered his own question. Putnam, Powell & Lowell isn’t interested in serving their clients. They aren’t interested in doing great work.  They are a holding company that happens to buy and sell advertising agencies. Sound like anyone you’ve heard of?  Bottom line, once an agency starts being run by someone who doesn’t have blood in the game, it’s not the same.

If your team wins, you win

Paul Kinsey berates Peggy Olson for making him look bad by refining his idea. “Nobody’s keeping score,” she responds. “I am,” he says. “You do your work. I’ll do mine. Let the chips fall where they may.” (Note the previous paragraph is straight from the official recap. It was very well-written.)

Paul and Peggy are part of a copywriting team that is working on the best accounts at the agency. In their own dysfunctional way together they create great work.  If you find yourself part of a team like this. Drop down on your knees and give thanks. It doesn’t happen very often, and when it does ride it and make the most of it.

Through most of the episode, Paul seems to think that Peggy is piggybacking off his brilliance (which apparently only he can see), but I think at the end of the episode there is a flicker that he realizes that maybe she really is better than him and he should be a little more appreciative.

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2 thoughts on “Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 310 “The Color Blue”

  1. Still haven’t started watching the show (too many shows, too little time) but if I do it will be because of your posts.

    Your big high res photos are great too. You ought to be in PR or something.

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