Friday, July 30, 2010

Jantzen was right--Don's creative was lame

[OK, I think I've waited long enough to post after Sunday's season premiere of AMC's Mad Men so this won't be a spoiler.]

As you may know, I'm a huge Mad Men fan, but. Am I the only one who found Don's creative pitch to Jantzen as lame as a one-legged reporter? "So well built, we can't show you the second floor" Really? They're turning Don into a Catskills routine? C'mon folks! It's 1964! It's a creative revolution on Madison Ave! Down the street from Time/Life, DDB was winning awards for Alka Seltzer spots with Gene Wilder, running politically incorrect (even then) print ads for Jewish Rye and coming up with auto ads so inspired that an ugly little excuse for a car from enemy territory (consigned by Hitler himself!) started flying out the doors of factories in Germany. In November 1964, a man was elected president due in part to the TV creative of a copywriter (Tony Schwartz) whose spot ran only once, but remains one of the most controversial (and persuasive) political commercials ever made.

Given opportunities for creative cross-pollination with leading madmen of his era, wouldn't a hotshot lauded for talent come up with something more intriguing than a raunchy oneliner? I know show writers meant it to be metaphor for the new agency, but the concept should also have worked as an ad. Marty Puris was willing to do an intersticial for BMW; why didn't they ask him to help brainstorm on Jantzen. He could have told them that no shop in the history of start-ups has pitched a new prospect with a single, one-page print ad. Then again, given that the mustachioed gun-toter pictured right was the actual print ad Jantzen was running in 1963, perhaps writers can't be blamed for assuming anything they came up with would be an improvement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting if they turn Don into the guy who gets pummeled by the creative revolution, rather than the guy who's leading it.

That which is hot-shot one year can be old news the next.