Sunday, April 22, 2012

Public Relations – Mad Men Episode Summary 4.1

Synopsis: Don Draper’s interview with the journalist from Ad Age was a failure with unforeseen consequences for the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce agency. Pete Campbell works very hard to keep the agency afloat, and sees an opportunity with the Jantzen swimwear account. In danger of losing one of their very few clients, Peggy comes up with a stunt with Pete’s blessing that would make their client Sugarberry ham happy.

Episode Summary: Ad Age interviews Don Draper. One question left him stunned. Who is Don Draper? In true Don Draper fashion, he manages to evade having to answer the question. He claims to have come from the Midwest where people find it rude to speak of oneself. The journalist then moves to the subject that earned Don this interview, the Glo-Coat floor wax commercial. He explains his strategy that led to the much-acclaimed ad. Don wanted the commercial to be indistinguishable from the movie, and it was a great success. It was a short interview that ended with the appearance of Pete Campbell and Roger Sterling who wastes no time to promote his book. Continue reading...

The three meet with executives from Jantzen who are delighted to finally meet the legendary Don Draper. Jantzen has been interviewing various agencies hoping to find a way to increase the sales of their two-piece bathing suits. Roger mistakes their two-piece bathing suits for bikinis, which highlighted the concern the company has been having. Don astonishes them with a question they never thought to ask themselves. Does Jantzen want to expand their client-base and target the women who buy bikinis or do they just want to ensure that their existing target audience continues to choose two-piece bathing suits over bikinis? The answer is that the family-owned company would like to stay true to itself. They don’t want to enter the bikini market believing that their customers share the same wants.

Don, Roger and Pete return to the tiny yet stylish offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Don is in a surly mood, and Bertram’s complaint about the decision of choosing location over space only added to his annoyance. Having seen how the people from Jantzen were head over heels over Don, Pete could not think of an explanation as to how the creative director could be in such a bad mood. His annoyance stems from the fact that they were only one of the many agencies Jantzen has on their list. He thought the meeting to be a waste of his time sure that they are going to lose against the bigger and more established company Y&R. Pete sees the opposite. He believes that they have a fighting chance at winning the account for the simple reason that Don Draper is in their team.

Pete, however, does not have the same optimism he has on Jantzen with Sugarberry Ham, this after receiving a single canned ham in a cardboard box without even a note on it. He believes it to be a sign that their client is moving on to another agency. Peggy Olson does not see it much of a loss, finding Sugarberry to be a company with very little means. Pete argues that if their supermarket test was a success, the company could have gone national. Peggy comes up with an idea to bring Sugarberry into the spotlight. She suggests that they hire two actresses to make a scene at the supermarket. They are to have a vicious fight over a Sugarberry ham. It is Thanksgiving anyway; things do get ugly at the supermarket during the holiday.

Don meets with his accountant who gives him a little bit more than the financial advice he needed. He urges Don to get Betty and her new husband out of the house he’s been paying for, but Don couldn’t care less about the money if it means that he has one less headache to worry about.

Now that Don is divorce, he hardly seems to go out with women. Oddly enough, he has had more action when he was married. This is a concern to Roger and Jane Sterling who decided to set him up with one of Jane’s young friends. Roger’s concern may not be unfounded. Don comes home to his apartment where the only woman to greet him is his motherly housekeeper, and when the woman’s gone home he is once again left all alone. This did give him some time to admire his creative genius as the Glo-Coat commercial was on television. It showed a boy in a cowboy hat behind bars yelling for freedom. His mother caged him under the dining table to keep him from the newly waxed floor. Unlike its competitors Glo-Coat claims to dry in seconds. Don then spends his weekend morning looking over his portfolio. He did, however, agree to go on a date with Jane’s friend Bethany at Jimmy’s La Grange.

Bethany is a twenty-five year old who claims to have broken so many of her rules going out with a divorced man. She, however, agreed to their date as a favor to Jane who seemed to have made Don her personal cause. Don finds it laughable that Roger’s ditzy wife thought his lack of a lover to be a cause. Realizing the shallowness of her remark, Bethany quickly changes the subject to the more serious matter of the civil rights activist Andrew Goodman’s murder. Don, however, is not interested with this conversation, and segues to wanting to know more about the young woman’s profession. Ostensibly, Bethany is an actress currently working as a supernumerary in an opera whose only role is to fill scenes without uttering a single note or a word. With that, Bethany is back to her old, superficial self. Don brings her home, and the young woman plays hard to get, but was forthcoming about wanting to see him again.

Peggy and Pete meet with the actresses they paid to fight over a Sugarberry ham. Just as they wanted, the two made a scene where one actually hit the other. Pete informs them that the scene they made will make it on the Daily News. The woman who got hit seems to have developed a grudge against the other actress, and picks another fight with her. This causes another scene, which Pete and Peggy no longer needs as discretion now has become necessary lest the people learn that they were paid to get Sugarberry in the news.

Harry Crane returns to the office from Los Angeles in high spirits having sold the Jai Alai TV special to ABC. The first person he informed was Joan Holloway whom he also asked to keep the news to herself. Harry wants to be the one to make the announcement. There was no contest there for Joan was not even interested in hearing about it in the first place.

Roger sees Don at his office to speak to him about the Ad Age article “A Man From A Town With No Name”. He found it to be a missed opportunity for Don barely gave the journalist anything to write about. Don remains to be a mysterious mad man, and nothing else. The only fact that might have made him more real is the bit about him getting married, but that information is no longer true. So instead, the article portrayed him as a mysterious prick of an ad man.

There is, however, one article that gave Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce some kind of credit. The news about the fight over a Sugarberry ham made it to all the newspapers. Pete delivers the good news to Peggy and Joey who are equally delighted. Pete was not immediately delighted after getting a call from Sugarberry worrying about a lawsuit, but then when their client learned that it got all the press it needed; they had a change of heart. Sugarberry is ecstatic, and somehow is aware that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was responsible. Anticipating the additional media their client would want to buy, Peggy could not help running through various slogans for Sugarberry.

Pete barges in the meeting Harry called with the partners to announce that they have lost the Jai Alai account before Harry could even break the news that he sold the TV special to ABC. Apparently, Hoho got slighted upon reading the Ad Age article where Jai Alai was not mentioned disregarding the fact that no other client was cited. With Jai Alai gone, the agency will be heavily dependent on Lucky Strike, which would now account for 71% of their billings. This does not bode well for the agency. Bertram plans on getting Don an interview with The Wall Street Journal to which Don argues that it would not fare any differently as the first one. He believes that his work speaks for him. Bertram highlights the point that Don clearly missed. The man, new at being a major stakeholder at an agency, has not grasped that his job now required that he turn his creative success into business. Don Draper failed.

Thanksgiving has arrived, and it is the first one that Betty and her children celebrate with their new family. Clearly, Pauline Francis is not a fan of this new marriage. Sally Draper acting up in front of the Francis family only added to their dismay. Meanwhile, Don Draper has a non-traditional Thanksgiving celebration. He spends it with a prostitute. The woman, in a hurry to finish her work so she could spend Thanksgiving with her family, declares knowing what Don wants, and is anxious to get to it fast. She slaps Don on the face. He asks that she do it again and again, but only harder.

Later, Don is already fast asleep. The prostitute answers the incessantly ringing phone alarming Don. Luckily, it was only Peggy on the other line. She called Don to ask for bail money, but is hesitant to tell him whom it is for. Eventually, Peggy had to spill the beans about the Sugarberry ham stunt they pulled. Ostensibly, one of the hired actresses filed a lawsuit against the other resulting in the imprisonment of one of the women. Peggy is asking for money to bail out the actress, and some more to keep both women from exposing their stunt. Don agrees to the pay out, but not without verbally lambasting Peggy in front of her boyfriend who referred to himself as her fiancée. The young man labeling himself as such troubled Peggy more than Don’s tirade.

Betty and Henry were about to make love when they hear a creaking of a floorboard. Betty catches Sally on the phone trying to make a call to her father claiming her desire to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving despite seeing him the very next day. Betty is convinced that the child was looking to get her father’s sympathy over the scolding she got at dinner. Knowing very well that she was at fault too, Sally dismisses arguing with her mother after hearing her threat to tell Don her side of the story. When Betty got back to bed, Henry was no longer in the mood.

Don arrives to pick his kids up, but is surprised to learn that baby Gene was sent off to Carla for Henry and Betty made plans to spend time with each other. Although he wasn’t planning on bringing baby Gene home with him, Don claims wanting to see his youngest son. With the kids gone, Henry and Betty are left to themselves. Inside the car that is still in the garage, Henry passionately kisses Betty. The woman was pleasantly surprised, and the two makes love in the car.

The time has come to bring the kids home, but when they got there no one is home. Hours later, Betty and Henry arrive home surprised to see Don waiting in the dark. Henry is unaware that Betty did not inform Don of their being late, which seemed to be Betty’s plan all along to get back at Don for having her wait many times. Don decides to bring the matter of them moving out of his house, but Betty clearly has no plans of doing so. Seeing this, Don threatens to have them pay rent and offers the option of Henry buying the house from him. Soon after, Henry speaks to his wife taking Don’s side, but Betty is adamant about not leaving using the kids as an excuse.

With the Thanksgiving holiday over, all are back at the office. Peggy gives Don a can of Sugarberry ham. Given the success of their public relations stunt, Sugarberry is feeling a bit more generous after getting the bump in their sales. Don advises Peggy to stay away from such shenanigans telling her that they have to safeguard the image of their agency to which the young woman retorts that their image remains pretty much where Don left it. Don takes her off the Jantzen presentation claiming that having a woman in the room is not a good idea. Peggy could see right through it, and disappointingly reminds him that all of them joined their scrappy upstart of an agency because of him. Everyone is there to please him.

Henry pays a visit to his mother’s who informs him that Betty’s children are terrified of Betty. She subtly expresses her disapproval of the marriage believing that marrying Betty was unnecessary. Pauline finds her to be a silly woman not worth her son’s attention. Henry defends his wife, but not strongly enough.

Don pitches their ad to the Jantzen folks, and they are politely disappointed. Despite knowing that the Jantzens are prudes, Don decides to give them a vulgar ad that is far from what the client had hoped to see. Don states a fact that they did not want to hear, and that is they have to decide what kind of company they want to be, one that is comfortable and dead or risky and possibly rich. One thing is for certain, and that is the ad that Don just presented to them is clearly not what they want. Don walks out of the meeting. Roger runs after him asking the man to calm down, sharing his hope for Pete to convince the Jantzens to give them another chance. Instead of placating Don’s fury, it fueled it. Don returns to the conference room to throw the Jantzens out of their office, and tells his secretary to schedule an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Don Draper speaks with the journalist from The Wall Street Journal. When asked whether he is the man that defines the image of their agency, Don confidently agrees this to be the truth. To say that the man from The Wall Street Journal was captivated is an understatement. Don tells the man the story of how Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce came to be. According to him, Sterling Cooper was being swallowed whole. He had two choices to die of boredom or to holster up his guns. Don walked into Lane Pryce’s office and told him to fire them. Two days later Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is born operating at a suite at the Pierre hotel, and within a year they have taken two floors of the Time-Life building.

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