On this season of “Mad Men,” Don Draper and the rest of our favorite television ad execs have made some interesting choices in order to boost their business. We particularly found some of the themes about women in the workplace, industry competitiveness and internal sacrifice thrilling to watch – and, of course, we thanked the heavens Mad 4 Marketing is a skosh less dramatic than Sterling Cooper Draper Price!
First we saw the agency trying to prank and put down its competitors in order to help make their own business look good by comparison. There was some backlash when they placed an ad in the newspaper to make fun of their fellow advertisers’ recent setbacks and ill repute. This inadvertently led to the company hiring its first non-white member of the staff and making them seem forward-thinking … a role that we would get to watch them start to grow into through subsequent episodes, albeit slowly.
We also saw Peggy wrestling with interoffice competitiveness when she needed to hire a new copywriter. She wanted to get someone to work with who would be the best for the company, but she was criticized by her peers for not hiring someone less talented who would make her look good by comparison. Her decision to hire a male counterpart who was also strongly talented in her area did wind up causing her some jealousy and remorse later in the season – and this was underscored by watching her one genuine protégé quit the business just when Peggy thought she had found an ally. Thankfully, the results of choosing what was best for the company one too many times ultimately pushed Peggy to make a choice that was best for her instead the next time the opportunity arose.
Of course, the pressure to establish their burgeoning company and turn a profit caused more than a little conflict among the agency’s partners. While debating whether they’d earned enough to give out bonuses and expand their office space, they were forced to push harder than they’d ever had to before to land pitches. Joan is asked to make unseemly sacrifices for the sake of helping court new business as the agency tries to land its first car account, Jaguar. And CFO Lane goes so far as to steal from the company when money is tight, which turns out to be a debt he can never repay.
In the finale this weekend, we’ll see how the ramifications of these pressures and choices are playing out. All of our favorite characters pause to assess their lives and look ahead to try and see what it means for their respective and collective futures.
Given all that’s happened on this crazy, up-and-down season, what do you think lies ahead for our favorite fictional advertising agency?