Entries tagged with “Mad Men”.

Don Draper opens up during a $234 bar tab conversation

Don Draper opens up during a $1,258 bar tab conversation

“Mad Men” has officially retired, but its star, Don Draper (AKA “Tricky Dickie Whitman”) is still alive and well. The suits he wears these days are sweatsuits, but he still cuts a handsome, if wrinkled figure in his walker outfitted with Penn tennis balls on the feet. The Lint Screen recently pulled up a barstool next to this advertising legend for a candid conversation.

TLS: Hello, Don. It’s good to see you.
DD: Enough of the chit-chat. Buy me a drink.
TLS: Sure. So, how old are you now?
DD: Don’t know. 89. 90. Something like that.
TLS: And how’s retirement?
DD: Retirement? From McCann? I wish. I’m freelancing now. Need some help?
TLS: No.
DD: I was a superstar, a legend. (TO BARTENDER) Keep pouring. and keep that bottle here– he’s buying.
TLS: We’re not looking for any freelance help right now.
DD: If you do, I’m your man.
TLS: What did you think of the “Mad Men” finale?
DD: What kind of a stupid question is that? It’s my story. It was incredible. Brilliant!
TLS: So, you really created the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” spot?
DD: Of course, you idiot. Weren’t you watching?
TLS: Well, some questioned the ending. It was a little ambiguous.
DD: The spot’s on my reel. What more proof do you need?
TLS: Was that a big moment for you?
DD: What do you think? The biggest commercial in the world, and I did it.
TLS: Was that the highlight of your career?
DD: Hard to say. I had a lot of great spots.
TLS: Such as…
DD: Apple Computer’s “1984” spot. Came up with that in ’78. I was that good.
TLS: Wow.
DD: Steve Jobs was an ass. He wanted a talking dog spot.
TLS: Any other big spots or campaigns?
DD: Nike “Just do it.”
TLS: You worked at Wieden & Kennedy?
DD: Who?
TLS: Wieden & Kennedy in Portland. I thought they created that campaign.
DD: It’s in my book. End of discussion, okay, weisenheimer?
TLS: Anything else?
DD: McDonald’s “You Deserve a break today.”
TLS: You did that, too?
DD: Yeah. The clients wanted to change it to “You deserve delicious McDonald’s food every single day.” I talked them out of it. Idiots!
TLS: Amazing.
DD: That’s nothing. I did a bunch of classic campaigns–– Volkswagen Beetle, Fed Ex, Energizer Bunny, Budweiser Frogs, Marlboro Man, Wendy’s “where’s the Beef?”, Mini “Let’s Go”, Rolling Stone “Perception/Reality” print campaign, ESPN SportsCenter stuff, Got Milk, Dumb ways to die. If it’s famous, chances are I did it.
TLS: That’s amazing, you created some of the most iconic ad campaigns of all time.
DD: Damn right. (SHOUTING TO BARTENDER) Another bottle down here! And bring me a couple more to go. The good stuff.
TLS: How are your contemporaries? How’s Roger Sterling?
DD: Dead.
TLS: Peggy Olson?
DD: Dead.
TLS: Stan…
DD: Dead.
TLS: Joan…
DD: Dead.
TLS: Pete Campbell?
DD: Dead. The weasel.
TLS: Duck Phillips?
DD: He’s alive. Sells digital ads.
TLS: Amazing. You’ve outlasted so many.
DD: Yeah. Still in the game. Freelancing. Need any help? I’ll give you a break on my day rate.
TLS: Uh, no thanks.
DD: If you ever do, remember the Don. Don Draper.
TLS: Will do.
DD: (SHOUTS) Barkeep, where’s my bottles?!

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens in "Justified" demands your attention.

After shelling out big bucks to see well over a couple dozen movies this past year, it finally struck me–– the big screen is getting trumped by the little one.

The creative output on broadcast television far exceeds the re-hashed plotlines, remakes, kiddie pablum, cookie cutter sequels, artsy-fartsy borefests and special effects-driven mindless fare Hollywood keeps churning out.

Here are 23 great shows you can see on air. Some are subscription based, but many are free, and almost all are available on Netflix or on demand. It’s a feast of storytelling and rich, complex character development.

Get a load of these:
Justified, Falling Skies, Mad Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Luther, Downton Abbey, Weeds, Hell on Wheels, Boardwalk Empire, The Daily Show, Game of Thrones, Louie, Portlandia, Dexter, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Homeland, The Colbert Report, Modern Family, Breaking Bad, The Middle, Treme, Californication and The Walking Dead.

That’s 23 terrific shows, everything from period pieces to fantasy to gritty drama to sharp political satire and commentary to gripping psychological character studies to absurdist humor to family friendly comedy to rich explorations into the human condition.

It’s no wonder some of the sharpest talent in entertainment has gone from the big screen to the smaller one. There is more freedom to create, to develop, to take risks, to tell truly interesting stories and to succeed.

In short, contrary to what our parents always told us, we should all be watching more TV.


What a long strange trip it's been.

What a long strange trip it's been.

Television teaches a lot.

To people outside the advertising industry, their view of our world was McMahon and Tate. What they knew of our profession was from watching “Bewitched” and seeing Darrin Stephens conjure up brilliant ideas and pitch them to clients as Larry Tate slapped them on the back and cheered Darrin on. Larry was no empty suit, no siree.

Oh, and “Bewitched” also taught that successful admen often marry witches and wacky hi-jinks ensued.

Today people have a new compass on TV to give some insight into our profession: “Mad Men” on AMC.

The time is 1960. The WASPy agency Sterling Cooper precedes the creative revolution of McMahon and Tate. Our main character is Don Draper, a brilliant adman who conjures ideas the old fashioned way: in thick fogs of cigarette smoke, bottomless tumblers of amber booze and tumbles between the sheets with women who cannot refuse his amorous pitches.

Don Draper doesn’t need his wife to twitch her nose. He sweats out his ideas, dammit.

He’s a man of mystery with a past as murky as beef stew in a black onyx bowl. He’s married to a beautiful woman and has two perfect children but his soul and conscious are MIA. Despite his flaws, Don is a corporate riser because he gets the job done dealing with weasels that populate his working life and charming clients endlessly. He’s smooth as a grease slick on satin.

These are the glory days of the agency business with big fat 15% media commissions and clients who not only seek their agency’s counsel, they actually heed it and are gratefully appreciative. It’s the days of account people who are so powerful they can hip pocket a hunk of business and carry it across town like a wounded bird, safely depositing it into a new agency nest.

It’s a time B.C. (before cable), there are three networks, no computers, no mobile phones, no modern day distractions like 5,000 daily sales messages. The public can be reached easily and they are not yet cynical or jaded–– people may actually believe what admen have to say! Imagine that.

Admen are the rock stars of the biz world. One bourbon breakfasts lead to three martini lunches stumbling into cocktail hours followed by slabs of beef, buttery baked potatoes heaped with gobs of sour cream and a few good belts of whiskey.

Order a couple nightcaps, weave your way home and hit the reset button. Tomorrow’s another bender.

The adworld of the early 60’s is a good place for a man to be provided he’s the right color, right religion, right educational background and he’s a real man’s man (there is a homosexual character who’s so closeted he probably smells of mothballs). It’s a time of narrow minds, open prejudice, open discrimination and sexual harassment galore. Women are objectified and nullified, unless they can type or take dictation. Sad, but true. We’ve all come a long way, baby.

Sterling Cooper is an old school ad agency. The Mad Men deride and mock the early Volkswagen Beetle ads being put out by the upstarts at Doyle Dane Bernbach. “Cute” and “creative” are code for ads that won’t work and ads that won’t sell. The Mad Men are miffed by ads that tell truth and poke a little fun at a product. But dinosaurs never see the meteors coming their way–– in fact, some agencies today are still wondering if interactive advertising is just a passing fad.

So why is “Mad Men” such a hit with fans and critics? Because it’s a slick period piece soap opera of a glamorous profession, well written, superbly acted and exquisitely produced. Yes, Virginia, advertising is still considered a glamorous profession to the outside world, and this show is a snapshot of the business in its most sumptuous and exotic time. The creative revolution is underway but the fat cats at Sterling Cooper have yet to feel the ripples. Rumor has it in season two that will change.

I love “Mad Men” and I hate “Mad Men”. It shows our profession in a glorious time as a business and an ugly time of society. But one thing’s for sure: people seem to have had a lot more fun back then. I’ll wager people were having a lot more fun when you first got into the business, too. Was it our youth, or has society just gotten less fun?

I believe there’s a drastic fun shortage in the business world today. Everyone’s over-worked, over-scheduled, over-connected. We mine our various screens for e-mails and messages and life slips by. I recently read where the average person laughs 15 times a day. Factor in sleep and that’s less than one laugh an hour!

How depressing is that? (Fortunately my wife tells me I laugh in my sleep, then again I also scream in my sleep–– maybe I need a new pillow.)

Catch “Mad Men” and vow to yourself that you’ll have more fun (without drunk driving or sexual harassment). This is advertising, after all, and if we’re not having fun then who the hell is?

When your friends, neighbors and Aunt Sue who watch “Mad Men” ask you about advertising and the constant drinking, perpetual smoking and incessant sexcapades, nod your head knowingly and tell them it’s all true–– except we don’t wear hats these days. That would be absolutely mad.