Mad Men, the Root of All Advertising
by Analorena Zeledón
Every time I mention that I work in Advertising, I am interrupted by a spewing of labels—“so you’re Peggy…No wait, you are definitely a Don.” This quickly changes when I elaborate that I am part of the account services team. “Oh, okay you are Pete Campbell.”
Peggy, Don, Pete—all characters that I am somewhat familiar with and to be honest, sometimes it’s easier to just sit back and allow an obsessed-fan to describe exactly what it is that I do via the Peggy, Don, or Pete reference. And I just smile and nod, trying to follow the flow of conversation and move it along to focus on someone else. Because frankly, the last thing I want to do at Happy Hour is only talk about work.
Then somewhere along the endless comparisons, I get lost and find myself caught—a deer in headlights, with hooves dripping with red paint… I make an attempt to clear my dry throat and explain myself. As I mentally shift through the endless excuses as to why I don’t watch the show and how I don’t know anything about these characters, like if they are good-intellectually-driven or if they are degenerates of the fictional 1960’s ad space—I am interrupted by a long exaggerated gasp…
“How do you work in advertising and not know THE Don Draper?! (Emphasis on ‘The’)”
“But Mad Men IS the foundation of advertising!”
I laugh it off—is this person for real? Although undoubtedly a great show, which has collected multiple Emmy’s, Guild’s, and Golden Globes within its 5 season-stretch—it is crazy and far-fetched to think of it as the pillars of advertising. I mean, AMC only gave birth to the show in 2007 and well, advertising was born around the same time as the printing press, which definitely proves a disconnect.
However, now that I am thinking through the many conversations I’ve had about this show and how it supposedly relates to my life, I realize that I have to give the loyal mignons some credit. After all, I would imagine that the same minds that created the script and nurtured Peggy, Don, and Pete must have at one point in time belonged to one agency or to another. Unfortunately, this results in a victory for the crazy fan, the obnoxious guy at the bar, or the frustrated drama-theatre nerd. His adamant opinion has planted the seed of curiosity and an urge to get informed. I realize that only after I’ve seen Mad Men can I determine whether its fans truly are buffoons or that I was misinformed.
Ultimately though, I just want to know…Am I a Peggy? A Don? Or a Pete?
Where do you fall in? Are you a Peggy, Don, or Pete? Or, are you, like me still trying to figure that out?