Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 503 – “Tea Leaves”

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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.

The agency lesson for me from “Tea Leaves,” is given by Peggy Olson.  She is tasked with hiring a new copywriter for the Mohawk Airlines account, “someone with a penis,” according to Roger.  As Peggy is flipping through portfolios of applicants, art director Stan Rizzo suggests she just choose one, any one.  Peggy’s eye is caught by interesting work by Michael Ginsburg.

Ginsburg is annoying, uncomfortable to be around and…incredibly talented.  Peggy passes up many adequate candidates and chooses Ginsburg. Why?  She thinks he is better than her at writing.  That is a huge business lesson. Hire up.  With better people around you, you’ll create better work and everyone will benefit.



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