One of my favorite things about the series “Mad Men” is the fact it revolves around our industry during the time when media was coming of age. It just so happens during that same time… so was I! Because the series became so mainstream, those not in the profession actually got some insight into what we do… even to the point of drinking games featuring the Mad Men character with whom one most identifies.
Most males want to identify with Don Draper (John Hamm’s leading character), or maybe Robert Sterling, the agency partner. I enjoyed the quirkiness of Sterling Cooper founder Bert Cooper (the Robert Morse character). Most importantly, we no longer had only Darrin Stephens or Larry Tate in “Bewitched” as role models.
When one asked “What do you do?”, it can be a little challenging. It seemed a lot easier to just say “Oh, you know Darrin on Bewitched?...Yeah, that’s what I do.” One doesn’t have to explain your law, medical, engineering, business or architectural degree, but start discussing the metrics of psychographics, consumer attitudes and values… or media consumption in today’s culture and watch anyone’s eyes start getting glassy.
I talked previously about ingesting information and immersing oneself into an industry in order to help clients. An advertising agency pretty much gets hired to think about the client from another perspective both inside and outside of the office. We let the industry information (both ours and the client’s) ferment together for a while until the inspiration bubbles forth. It may not be as dramatic as the final scene of Man Men’s final episode when Don Draper’s inner peace provides the catalyst for his next “big idea”, but it feels pretty good when all the pieces fit together.... you knows…, just like Darrin in “Bewitched”.