Why Don Draper loves awards shows

Matthew Weiner is either an egomaniac or a psychic, but either way airing the episode "Waldorf Stories," which centered on Don Draper's win of the highly-coveted Clio, on the night that Mad Men picked up its third Emmy for Best Drama was brilliant timing.

Matthew Weiner is either an egomaniac or a psychic, but either way airing the episode "Waldorf Stories," which centered on Don Draper's win of the highly-coveted Clio, on the night that Mad Men picked up its third Emmy for Best Drama was brilliant timing. And if it wasn't planned, even better. (Total side note, you have to give the folks at AMC major props for inserting their congratulations ads to the cast and writers mere minutes after the  Emmy wins to get them into the 10 pm airing of the episode).

So, do industry awards really matter? It's a question we hear often at PRWeek, whether it's about our own awards or others, and it was one that permeated last night's episode as well. (Shameless plug: entries are open for the 2011 PRWeek Awards and the deadline is 10/8, so don't leave it until the last minute!)  Though the always-cool Don Draper tried to downplay the importance of them to Peggy and everyone else, once he won that little statuette for his Glo-Coat commercial there was no stopping his celebration, which, as we saw, had some serious consequences (bedding a waitress from the diner and telling her he was Dick Whitman? Yikes!). Even Roger's snide remark about the awards' meaning still couldn't rain on his parade—or anyone else's: "I know they give out 50 of these things, but for some reason, it still matters," the fellow ad guy said. And, as Roger said in the beginning of the episode, once Grey won their Clio, their revenue tripled. Or as Dr. Faye Miller, one of the few women to turn Don Draper down, told him, "Your face is now on a dartboard at Grey."

Certainly there has been a lot of debate in our industry about awards, and what value they really have. Some view them as self-serving and a waste of time. But those are the same people who think that talking about your agency is akin to bragging and not devoting yourself to clients. Certainly everyone knows that clients come first, but then again, your agency should be a client, too. Industry awards, whether the PRWeek Awards, Cannes Lions, or Silver Anvils are a marketing tool, pure and simple. I recently had a senior PR executive tell me that the reason why the industry was making such a big deal about the Cannes Lions PR category was that it's something that comes up among her CMO clients, as in, "Wow, these Cannes Lions are great, do you have them for PR?" Even Roger, who pretended to be nonchalant about the whole thing was in fact just jealous that Don hadn't thanked him for giving him the start.

That brings me to another big part of the episode: finally seeing how Don Draper came to work at Sterling Cooper. While putting his portfolio into the box with Joan's fur was probably not the best move career wise, we did see some of his Draper smoothness come through at the end, when he took Roger out for a liquid breakfast and then showed up the next day telling Roger that he had hired him, we saw that sneaky ad man. But are we to believe that Mr "the-cure-for-the-common" Danny is the next Don Draper or was it just to show Don that karma is a bitch? Discuss.

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