Thursday 26 April 2018

Transformations: Today’s Version of Mad Men

This week I participated in a “Would Mad Men Work in Today’s World?” panel at the Seattle Interactive Conference with fellow panelists Hillary Miller of Wunderman, Martha Hiefield of Zaaz and Maggie Boyer Finch of King of the Web .

“The theme for this year’s event is Transformations: Interactive technology has already transformed how we experience our everyday lives, both at work and play, yet there are profound new levels of transformation upon us — some good, some bad, and some yet to be determined.” (

Some of the questions this panel addressed included:

Do the same attributes of leadership from the Mad Men era still apply?

Don Draper’s finest leadership attributes may be his abilities to influence, anticipate stakeholder needs and drive a team toward common objectives. I would argue these attributes remain just as important.

Perhaps what’s different about today’s leaders is that many more are and will be female. Take, for example, Edelman. On his 6AM blog, Richard Edelman recently wrote:

“Women account for approximately two thirds of our total work force, but only 34% of our Strategy Committee and 28% of our Operating Committee. One of our four regional presidents is a woman. Of our sixteen Global Client Relationship Managers, five are women or 31%. Of our five large practice chairs, two are held by women. Our goal is simple—50% of those on Strategy Committee, Operating Committee, GCRM and practice leadership will be women by 2016. They will have earned the positions; there will not be a quota.

What lessons have we learned from Don Draper that we can apply in today’s hyper-analytical, online world?

Draper’s emphasis on the importance of emotional connection between a brand and its stakeholders remains as important today as it was in the 1950s; however, how we analyze who our stakeholders are and how we best engage with them is transforming as quickly as tools such as Facebook Insights, Meltwater Buzz (client) and others, enable insights to be refined like never before.

Draper may might not have been so successful with the “Lipstick” pitch today if he didn’t have the business insights to back up how his proposed campaign would generate the ROI necessary to move Belle Jolie up from number four.

How do the experiences that brands provide stakeholders today differ from what Madison Avenue helped provide in the 1950s?

The explosion of the Internet and proliferation of social media have certainly enabled brands to better interact with stakeholders. Edelman clients such as eBay, Microsoft, GE and Volkswagen provide innovative examples of online experiences—experiences that create emotional connections very much like the connections Don Draper would emphasize.

How do you think the marketing, advertising and PR industries of today relate/differ from the Mad Men days 60 years ago?

Article source: