Being Don’s wife helped Megan get in the door but she is winning praise and fans based on her talent, demeanor and ability to sell clients good work. Megan and Don are getting into a rhythm as an effective and charming team acting out and selling their “slice of life” tv ideas for Heinz and Cool Whip. Having a great idea is only half the battle. Selling it is just as important. Don recognizes and appreciates this dynamic, so Megan’s decision to quit leaves Don feeling awkwardly perplexed. He reluctantly accepts the reality, becomes supportive and even offers to get her a job at another agency. Don is just as awkward when it comes to handling her exit from SCDP with the staff. Joan brings it all back to reality by offering to organize a going away lunch with the “girls”. Megan may be a rising star copywriter, but within the patriarchal mindset of SCDP she is still just one of the girls.
Peggy’s reaction is mix of frustration, bewilderment and support. Peggy lets Megan know that she has talent, is respected and encourages her to stick it out. “There are people killing for this job.” Peggy is reminded again of her own struggles to break in, how much she loves being a copywriter and has a hard time grasping Megan’s decision to throw it all away. Stan’s take is that Megan recognizes the cold hard reality of advertising and doesn’t like what she sees. “You work your ass off for months, bite your nails, for what? Heinz baked beans?”
The struggle to reconcile one’s creative talents and aspirations with the commercial realities of advertising has always been part of the creative department psyche. Dick Anderson, one of the associate creative directors at B&B brought this into perspective for me many years ago. “You have some of the most talented creative people in the world selling soap to each other.” Angst and frustration are part of the game.
Music, Music, Music.
Music continues to play a role in the creative action at the agency and very often is the lens through which we view Don’s clash with the emerging cultural change in advertising. In Episode 3 this season we saw Don and Harry reluctantly go backstage at a Rolling Stones concert in an effort to secure one of their songs for a Heinz commercial. In a prior article on this subject I mentioned that in the mid ‘60s the use of music in advertising was evolving from the golden age of jingles to a new age of using popular music and music celebrities to connect brands with consumers. Don is still not comfortable with this new tune and asks "When did music become so important?"