MAD MEN 4.1: Public Relations

Not without some irony, MAD MEN entered its fourth season focusing on the freshman year of struggling start-up Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and the tale of how Don Draper got his groove back.

As part of a seeming hangover from last season’s sometimes-turgid storytelling, Don (Jon Hamm) began the story by laboring through an interview with a reporter from Advertising Age. Don’s trademark smugness and reticence to talk about himself (despite his rampant narcissism) led the writer to pen what the partners at SCDP considered to be a hatchet job – and sent clients running for cover. Not that SCDP had a lot of clients to begin with. And the bikini maker SCDP was courting wanted to come up with a campaign that made “two-piece bathing suits” more appealing to family audiences without “playing in the gutter.” SCDP was nestled in snug little offices without a conference table (chairs, yes; table, no). Pete (Vincent Kartheizer) cheered, “We’re the scrappy upstart.” Yeah, but, dude, your office doesn’t have a conference table! And SCDP will have to be plenty scrappy, since Lucky Strike cigarettes was their single major client. And, of course, Don was responsible for their one hit campaign, a commercial for floor wax that appeared to be almost indistinguishable from entertainment programming. (Hmmm, getting a little ahead of 1964, aren’t you, MAD MEN creator Matt Weiner?)
Continue reading