Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 710 – The Forecast

Image by Michael Yarish from
Image by Michael Yarish from

Mad Men still includes 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 25 posts about real world agency lessons from the show and here’s one from one of the last.

There are two junior creatives who had a rough time presenting to a client. The work was not well received and they turned on each other in front of the client.  One of them approaches Don and asks him to go with him to make amends with the client.  Don instead gives examples of how he met with a similar issue and provides guidance on how to deal with the situation.

Well, the attempt at amends didn’t go well and the young creative flipped the words and scenario Don presented him, offending the client.  As an agency leader you want to empower your staff to take command and fix problems on their own.  The problem is that you need to be ready to deal with the consequences if it it doesn’t go according to plan.  In this case, he was fired.  This was a “teachable moment,” for the agency and Don could have moved the person off the account and helped him learn how to deal with situations like this. But he’s Don, he didn’t.