This week's episode of “Mad Men” was probably the most chock full of lessons for our industry. From the way the agency handled the news of losing its biggest client internally and externally to the look inside the ways it tried to offset the loss (are funerals really a business development opportunity?), it seems as though there was almost too much to analyze. I'd like to say that's why it's taken me four days to actually write this blog, but really it's because as much as I'd like for writing about Mad Men to be my first priority at PRWeek, our team here has been insanely busy preparing for the upcoming NEXT Conference and working on the November issue (both are going to be pretty awesome!)
Back to the episode though: did everyone catch the mention of Ketchum toward the end of the episode? Actually, it was Ketchum, MacLeod, and Grove, which after some research I found out was the advertising arm of the global PR firm during the Mad Men era. After initially declining to do so, Faye finally tells Don that Heinz is “restless” and open to meeting with a new agency. Was Don right to have asked Faye to use her business connections for his professional gain? It's an issue that must clearly come up, especially today as women hold just as high-powered jobs as their male counterparts. It reminded me of what happened at Brunswick a few years ago, when partner Nina Devlin's husband was charged with insider trading for using the information she had access to on upcoming M&As for his own professional gain, without her knowledge.
For me though, this episode was all about communications. I have to admit, I was really surprised that the agency took such a transparent approach to disclosing the news to its employees about losing the Lucky Strike account. Considering how old-school Bert Cooper is, I fully expected that information to be disclosed via a memo with personal follow-up by Don and Lane, but he did the right thing. (Note to leadership at any company, no matter what the size: this is the way to tell employees about news that affects them in such a huge way. Memos or e-mails just don't cut it.) I did enjoy the speculation among the “three stooges” (seems as though Freddy Rumsen has replaced Joey) about what the news was going to be:
Danny: Lane Pryce isn't coming back
Freddy: They could've done that in a memo.
Stan: I've got five that says Cooper's retiring.
Freddy: No champagne? I say he's got cancer.
Before this turns into a novel, I just wanted to bring up one last point: client service. It's the most crucial part of any person in any professional service industry. Winning an account is not the end of the journey; it's keeping it that really matters. Roger Sterling learned this the hard way, of course, because he was resting on his laurels of having the Lucky Strike account for 30 years instead of working hard every day to keep it. I doubt Al Golin handles the McDonald's account the same way.
So, what do we think will happen in the final two episodes of the season? Do you find it interesting that after years of being with nothing more than a vapid trophy wife, Don has found not only one, but two, women with whom he can actually discuss his work? I do. Does Matthew Weiner think that any of us actually believe Joan went through with her abortion? But most importantly, what on earth am I going to blog about after this season is over?! Discuss.