Joan realizes that hiring new staff is a necessary expense that can be cut back as needed due to account losses or spending cuts. She also knows that office space expansion is a longer term, more fixed expense and an impulsive, imprudent move could seriously jeopardize the agency’s future. In 1985, as president of Geers Gross, I was saddled with an onerous lease on a multi-floor spiral staircase office in the Daily News building that threatened the agency’s survival. Joan does the right thing and convinces the partners to postpone the office space decision until June. It’s a pretty safe bet that we will see SCDP on two floors next season and office envy will continue unabated. As the partners survey the empty space, Pete’s comment to Don speaks volumes. “Look Don, I will have the same view as you.” Don congratulates him.
Peggy Flies Solo
At her new agency, Peggy is at her “Don Draper best” browbeating a creative team about a campaign idea. The tougher side of Peggy as creative copy chief is emerging and she likes it. Peggy’s new boss, Ted Chaough, appears in her office doorway and tosses Peggy the biggest opportunity of her career. The agency is in the pitch for a top secret “ladies cigarette” from Phillip Morris and he wants Peggy to be the lead creative. This will be a huge, high profile account with big media budgets and groundbreaking creative opportunities. When Peggy lets him know that she doesn’t smoke Ted shoots back. “Smoke it. Name it. Sell it.” Let the new business games begin.
The cigarette, of course, is Virginia Slims which was introduced with great fanfare by Phillip Morris in 1968. Phillip Morris selected Leo Burnett as the Virginia Slims agency and they created an iconic campaign that featured the line, “You’ve Come A Long Way Baby.” Virginia Slims was positioned as a fashion brand through extensive use of print ads, television commercials and outdoor billboards. An emerging, independent minded generation of women are about to get fashionably hooked on nicotine. It is ironic that Peggy’s big break comes in the form of a cigarette. Don’s bold New York Times manifesto declaring his “independence from tobacco” helped revive SCDP after the Lucky Strike loss. Now Peggy has the opportunity to make tobacco the platform for her success and notoriety.