This is my favorite clip from the Mad Men series. In this scene, Don Draper, a 1950′s Madison Avenue advertising executive, pitches a concept for a new Kodak slide presentation tray. I don’t want to diminish the experience of watching the clip by describing the concept, but the clip touches on a marketing phenomena that is rare and worth noting. Sometimes a campaign/brand is so successful that it becomes the defacto name for a category of products. For example, there are many brands of tissue, but they are universally referred to as Kleenex. And, in contemporary culture, to searchÂ has become synonymous with “to google” no matter which search engine we’re using … and sometimes, even if we’re not using a search engine at all.
The second reason I find this clip so compelling is the way Draper connects the dots between a few ideas that resonate deeply on a emotional level. And, while he does this, he manages to articulate a brand concept that sounds completely familiar even though his clients had never heard it before. Though this scene is set in the broadcast era, when brands were managed in a top down way, I think this ability is still relevant today. Marketers are still charged with articulating something that’s already out there, but which hasn’t yet been stated. The only difference today is that marketers are tasked to re-articulate what customers are saying back to the organization they work for. It’s as if the conduit of marketing has reversed direction.