Pete Campbell is experiencing the weight of more responsibility at the agency which is being exacerbated by stress in his home life. This pressure weighs heavily on Pete and manifests itself in displeasure with his status as a junior partner, despite being head of accounts. This pervasive and volatile mix of negativity and angst are creating distraction and disharmony that could curtail the agency’s growth.
Egos, Turf And Offices
Lane was doing everything he could to manage expenses at SCDP and that meant the partners had to give up some of the perks and personal attention they had become used to in more prosperous times. Today agencies thrive in open space, collaborative working environments. Mad Men thrived in isolated environments with personal secretaries and closed doors. The office was the symbol of power and status in the agency. When I was promoted to Vice President at DDB, in addition to the title and a raise, I was given a bigger office and a $5,000 decorating allowance. That was a big deal for me at age 26.
So, it is not unusual to see Pete Campbell’s issues with Roger Sterling come to a head over the size of his office. But the office issue is just part of a larger, more prevalent source of conflict around turf and client relationships. Personal success and stability at an agency often depended on who “owned” the client relationship. Account people worked hard to attach themselves to clients in every way possible. Sometimes this meant that personal relationships took precedence over agency relationships with clients. Pete sees Roger’s meeting with the Mohawk Airlines clients as horning in on his initiative to land them as an account and usurping his authority. Pete's veiled threats to not set up a formal meeting with Mohawk had its impact. While he didn’t get Roger’s office, Pete moved to larger quarters and he still stuck it to Roger with the phony 6AM Coke meeting. Healthy competition among account and creative teams are a natural, positive part of a successful agency. Negative and divisive relationships among partners are a disruptive recipe for failure. Pete and Roger must learn how to “just get along”.