We’ve talked about it in here, and they talk about it more in the ‘best of’… how Pete really does have a nose for the future. He consistently either has or recognizes a great idea. Only no one knows it but him. And, well, us, because of how we know how it turns out.

In the pilot, he suggests the ‘death wish’ idea that Don had vehemently dismissed, and everyone is horrified. But really, what do we think the symbolism behind Marlboro Country is?

He pitches the very excellent Bethlehem Steel tagline, the Backbone of America.

During a discussion about how to angle Israel tourism, Pete says, “Maybe we should try and exploit the danger, instead of fighting it. Travel as adventure.” This idea, while not being actively shot down by Don, was skimmed over.

He was the only one who liked the Volkswagen ad, which pissed everyone off. He recognizes the hip factor of Kennedy, calling him Elvis. The way I saw that, he wasn’t comparing the people, but the potential (and eventual) phenomenon of Kennedy to that of Elvis.


he Times (UK edition) did a wonderful piece on Mad Men. As the show is rolling out in England, it’s nice to know they are receiving it as well as we have.

He talks about the appearance of the Volkswagen ad on the show and its effect on the characters:

Because Mad Men uses advertising as a metaphor for identity – are you how you present yourself to other people, or is the hard-sell just there to cover up your faults as a product? – watching Draper and co struggling to come to terms with a new type of advertising goes hand in hand with watching them face up to the climactic change that the 1960s was to bring.

And Weiner chimes in a lot. We love that.

“Dramatically speaking I liken it to the Titanic,” says Weiner. “Why do people watch that movie? Everybody knows how it ends. But there is some pleasure in seeing people struggling to survive when the catastrophe happens, and there’s also some intrinsic drama in people walking around talking about how safe the ship is. That’s really what I’m doing.”

As always, your life will improve if you RTWT™.

(Edit) And Deb adds this:

There’s another review in the London Times, linked on the same page, here. They call it “cancel-everything TV” (which I guess is British for “must see TV”).

And, (me again, RKL)… check out the super cool picture atop that second article.

Here’s an interesting article in Media Magazine on the phenomenon of the Baby Boomer. Not the Baby Boom, mind you, but Boomers; the people as an identifiable market, rather than just a statistical fact.

The article starts by talking about The Wheel, where Pete sees a future in products like Clearasil, because “there’s a surge in adolescence.” (It might also have mentioned the Elvis doesn’t wear a hat thing, but the Clearasil quote is better).

Our Mad Men guys were in the process of discovering the changing demographics of their world, which would develop into the notion of studying demographics as a way of focusing the market. Most articles about MM talk about how sex roles, clothing, social mores, and more are about to be transformed by the 1960s. But advertising itself also changed dramatically, as suggested in Marriage of Figaro, when the guys are looking at the Volkswagen ad; a brand new kind of advertisement, and by The Wheel, when Pete points out that a “surge in adolescence” has impact on the kind of products that sell.

Maybe some of you know about the famous write-in campaign to save Star Trek (the original). This was in 1968. What’s important about this is that the television networks weren’t studying demographics. They knew the show wasn’t popular, and didn’t know that the show was wildly popular among young males. Write-in campaigns are much less likely to succeed nowadays, precisely because the networks learned their lesson; they already know who’s watching.

The point is, demographic marketing wasn’t yet in its infancy; Pete Campbell’s statement is something like an embryo.

The Media Magazine article concludes with the fact that a woman named Florence Skelly, co-founder of the consumer research firm Yankelovich, coined the term “Baby Boomer” in the late 1960s.