Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mad Men "The Other Woman"

One of the best things about our industry is the passing on of craft. In planning we don't just learn a set of skills or end up with physical products; ours is a craft of mind shape and form.

It takes brilliant mentors to master and then teach young padawans how to wade through intangibles and abstracts, how to find, shape and sharpen thoughts. It takes mad and passionate visionaries to show us how to weave logic and leaps of creativity into ideas that can be turned into words and pictures that start conversation, sell products, and once in awhile maybe even change how people do things.

I rarely feel like Mad Men acurately captures our industry. There isn't nearly that much alcohol, nobody dresses in suits, all of the AE's are girls and where are the planners? But Don and Peggy are a mentor-and-protegé that remind me of my teachers in our crazy world.

In "The Other Woman", Peggy finally quit. I can't say I wouldn't have arrived at the same decision as she would. But I can completely relate to the difficulty of venturing outside a place that, for all its imperfections is a comfort zone with a lot of potential. I had an idea once of writing a show about advertising and the pilot was going to be young account executives, creatives and strategists trying to quit. It is so hard to quit!

The most acurate part of Mad Men is probably having "Mad" in the title becuase it hurts so much to do what we do - the hours, the politics, the people-pleasing, the crappy bosses, the bad briefs, the low pay, the mental blocks. It is insane and it drives me crazy. But learning from the best has always been one of the best parts. I didn't always have good school teachers, but I've had great ad mentors.

Some bosses have shown me what it means to be a leader and not just a boss. Some have shown me how not to get screamed at by co-workers. Some have taught me how to think and leap harder, faster, better, stronger.

I love what I do and the playground that has been created for us. I love having found my life's work in a group of crazies. I hate that we need to move on sometimes, but there are always people we need to learn from and teach.

This episode was insane. Joan is crazy and awesome. There was a pitch! Megan asked Don about the strategy! Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce finally presented something at the client's office! They won. And Peggy got a job offer from another agency.

Mad Men maybe finally hit on something that is so innate to advertising, the fluidity of movement within our industry. I guess I haven't really maximized this myself, but I've seen it happen so much recently. Hello, Goodbye.


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