Don walks into the elevator and there’s Roger.
It’s S3E07 (Seven Twenty Three).
“Ogilvy wrote a book… Advertising is already up there with lawyers as the most reviled, this is not going to help,”– Roger Sterling
Confessions of an Advertising Man is David Ogilvy’s ground-breaking book that makes up a lot of the meat in Mad Men. Creator Matthew Weiner admitted that he used it to pull plot points and motivation while crafting Mad Men.
It is the most important work of the period that shines light on the period.
Ogilvy gives readers a look past the curtain backstage, gives them a look into the butcher shop at how the sausage is made, and all the other metaphors you want to use.
He outlines tactics, concepts and theories that go into advertising. Ogilvy is regarded as the father of modern advertising, so yeah, relevant.
It’s a good book and holds up.
It’s the first of two of-the-era books referenced in the same episode. More on Conrad Hilton later.
It is essential reading for the nerds who need more. It’s the essential reading for the deep divers, the ones who don’t binge.
A thought or two on binging: When did this become not only accepted, but expected? I mean, I’ve done hours of a single show in the past, and looked back and forgot half of it just like anyone else, but did that make it better? Did I enjoy it? Did I get anything out of it?
One reason I started the Mad Men reading list project was because I like books. Another was that I wanted a little bit more out of the show than the plot lines, style, character appreciation and craving for cigarettes and bourbon. (I actually don’t smoke, so at least I avoided that one).
Do we want to understand the past? Or at least try to? Do we care?
Reading Ogilvy’s book or any of the works featured on Mad Men (Yes, even Ayn Rand) gives a broader understanding of the show, the era, the world, the characters and a bunch of other good things.
Okay. Ranting judginess over… for now.
Quick couple of thoughts on S3E07, which is one of the better ones.
The episode centres on an eclipse (perfect), while Don, Betty, Peggy and Pete have their eyes pulled from their centre. It is about the cosmos and the the sun and attraction and regret and nostalgia (as per normal).
The eclipse only happens once every 10 years, yet these themes seem to come around with a daily regularity in the show as the sun does.
Betty looks to Henry cautiously, Don looks to Sally’s teacher Suzanne (Abigail Spencer) adventurously, and Pete and Peggy are pulled by Duck’s job offer optimistically. Their attraction to the things they want tell us about their characters as per normal, as does how the episode plays out.
Peggy wakes up in Duck’s bed, Don wakes up on the floor drugged and robbed and Betty lounges on her chaise lounge (that does the opposite of tying the room together) and lusts.
The title of the episode is tasty: Seven Twenty Three.
7-20 was the date of the eclipse, and it takes place in 1963, so there’s that. There are also three love stories we’re following this episode: Don and Suzanne; Betty and Henry and Peggy and Duck, and I’m sure we can work seven into there somewhere (Pete makes it seven? Sure). There’s also the three-some at the end leaves Don on the floor and the newlyweds with his money.
Ah numbers, they can be so fun to play with.
I’ll leave the post with Don, drunk and drugged, talking to the image of his drunk of a father.
Archie Whitman (Joseph Culp) tells a hillbilly joke, and then looks straight and Don and calls him out (some of this conversation will show up in our discussion of Conrad Hilton).
Then, with cutting coldness, Archie calls out Don, David Ogilvy, and every Mad Men that every existed.