Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Mad Men a TV series to an example to follow in business

Jonathan Blum

In March of this year, Heinz announced that his new campaign would bring back the original idea presented by Don Draper during the sixth season of Mad Men. The idea was very simple and temptingly incomplete: “Pass the Heinz”. Yes, he was talking about the tomato sauce, but just saying “Heinz”, it was all said. The best thing about that campaign was not the slogan or the physical image but the imagination of the consumer.

Although, in that moment the idea was declined by the clients, because they considered “it needed something”, the company put it in practice this 2017, which coincides with the 10 years of the first chapter of the television show, the same that showed us how was the advertising business in the 60’s. It should be noted that the context in which the fourth chapter “To have and to hold” was developed, it was during the war in Vietnam, so television advertising had to be very careful, and customers would not accept any ideas.

Ten years after the first chapter, we know that Mad Men was more than a series about advertisers. It told us a lot of the business, the customers, the ideas and life itself. For seven seasons, the anti-hero par excellence, Don Draper and one of the pioneers of involuntary feminism in television, Peggy Olson, let us see that the best ideas are the simplest and in it is their complexity. To the above is added the research and teamwork: all contribute, no idea is good or bad, you just should find the most appropriate for each client.

Twenty-first century businesses have left behind the formality, starched shirts or suits wore by the employees of Sterling Cooper & Partner. Ideas are the ones that have the most value. However, customers are still asking for the same thing: sold their products; and to achieve this, we need to fight with more competition and more technology, both with its pros and its cons.

Nowadays, -if the companies want to sell- it is not enough to have a good product, it is necessary to define the market and the strategy, in addition to being aware that they are facing more aggressive competitors and that only the best idea survives. If something taught us Don, it was that advertising is not about selling products but selling ideas, also it is necessary to learn to say “no” to clients, they are not always right and to the extent that is achieved, the balance between all these elements it would be possible transcend.

Why do we still talking about Mad Men? That is simple, because it transcended. The TV series knew how to stand out from the pile: their characters are as complex as any human being, the sets in which it was filmed took care of every detail so that the 60s were portrayed and above all, because it gave us the yearning that all past time was better.