The Chewing Gum Did It
At dinner Don and the boys quickly find out that the prospective client is not interested in a business discussion, opening the door for Roger to take over and get the party rolling. Of course it all goes awry when the client’s wife finds out about it and forbids her husband to do business with SCDP. The night out backfired. Roger, Don, and Pete chalk it up to the facts of life of the business. Lane is devastated and angrily confronts the partners. Rather than trying to calm Lane down and be sympathetic, Pete uses the moment to question Lane’s manhood and his worth and value as a partner. The “barbaric” boardroom brawl that results rocks the office and leaves everyone stunned. Moreover, it leaves Lane having even bigger doubts about his role and value and Pete humiliated and diminished in the eyes of his partners and the staff.
Peggy tells Ken that “Lane beat the crap out of Pete,” Ken declares that “Lane beat him to it” and Joan assures Lane that “ Everyone in this office has wanted to do just that to Pete Campbell.” This is definitely not the leadership image and perception the partners want for the agency’s head of accounts. Pete has a big hole to dig himself out of.
Emotions run very high in ad agencies given the client demands, pressures of deadlines, and the push for creative work. Shouting matches, name calling, door slamming, and throwing of objects were not uncommon. In my decades of agency meetings I’ve had water poured on me, a calculator thrown at me, and been hit over the head with storyboards….all in the heat of the moment. We eventually got over it. I’ve seen a lot of crazy antics but never have witnessed a brawl like the one between Lane and Pete. It will be very difficult for Pete and Lane to put this behind them and for Pete to recover from it. While the partners may not have to agree on everything, the well being of SCDP depends on their being able to be in the same meeting without throwing punches. Ouch!
After Hours Pursuits
The meeting between Roger and Ken concerning Ken's after hours activity as a fiction writer was interesting. Many of the people I knew in the business had weekend jobs, ocasional consulting engagements, freelance gigs, etc. While at B&B I played guitar in a band on the weekends ($30 a night). For most of my career I taught advertising at a number of universities. I always cleared my teaching with agency management since my position at the agency was part of my credentials, and I would often use work done at the agency in my lectures. Never once did I receive any push back and was always encouraged to do it. The cardinal rule is that you never let any outside activity seep into your daily work, get in the way of client or agency meetings, or be an excuse to not pull all-nighters or weekend work when needed. You simply made it all work.