Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 701 – “Time Zones”

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Mad Men is entering its prolonged last season and 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. Mad Men continues to include real issues faced by advertising (and yes PR firms) in an incredible show. Throughout the course of the series I’ve written 23 posts about real world agency lessons from the show and here’s a few from “Time Zones:”

  • “Advertising might be a more effective if it’s better integrated into our business” – moving things in house. Change for change sake. “I was hired to be bold and I am prepared to make my recommendation.” This is what Joan is told when she meets with a current client who wants to bring all of their advertising in house. Joan ends up turning this around with a Monday morning phone call when she presents the client with reasons why an agency can do things he can’t do in house just yet. This could have been avoided if Joan had been adequately prepped for the meeting (and even if prepped sometimes you still get blindsided).
  • After Joan’s initial meeting with the client, who has an MBA, she goes to a third party expert, in education, for ideas and validation. We do this all the time and if you’re not, you should be.
  • We have apparently identified the exact moment when people moved from the handshake to the “professional hug.” It’s in the office, heck it’s onstage when someone meets the president, but we can point to this beginning when Pete greets Don in the coffee shop and Don sticks out his hand and Pete gives him what Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo would call a “firm embrace.”




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