Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blowing Smoke – Mad Men Episode Summary 4.12

Don Draper writes Why I'm Quitting Tobacco
Synopsis: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce eyes an account with Philip Morris, but soon learns that they were merely used by the tobacco company in order to get a better deal with its current agency.  This resulted in Don Draper going on a public tirade about the tobacco industry and their former client, Lucky Strike.  Meanwhile, Betty Draper learns that her daughter has been spending time with Glen Bishop, and soon after decides to move her family out of the neighborhood.

Episode Summary: Don Draper meets with Raymond Geiger, the man in charge of marketing Heinz Beans, and learns that Heinz Ketchup has overshadowed the product that was popular during the war.  Raymond is clearly unsatisfied with his current agency for not having a campaign that will reclaim the thunder it once lost, and is delighted to hear Don’s delineation of beans from ketchup sharing his belief that beans are more substantial than ketchup for one is food, while the other is just a condiment.  Despite this, Raymond is unwilling to move his business to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce due to concerns in the stability of the agency.  Don finds himself in an unfamiliar position as he grovels to get the Heinz Beans accounts, but no amount of pleading could get Raymond Geiger to work with the troubled agency.Continue reading...

The agency’s finances have become a real concern so much so that the partners have sought the advice of the consultant Geoffrey Atherton to steer them away from financial ruin.  It is his belief that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce should sign on new business regardless of the size not only because their billings were cut in half, but also because not doing so would have them perceived as stagnant.  Moreover, he informs them that their ideal client would be one from the tobacco industry for that has become their forte.  He sees Philip Morris as their potential client knowing that the company is introducing a new brand for young women, and are seeking for a new agency to launch the brand.  The consultant has set up a meeting between Philip Morris and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  News of the agency’s financial troubles cast anxiety over the executives especially Lane Pryce who ascertained that their revenue will no longer be able to sustain their expenses; they have to reduce staff and seriously consider subletting part of their office in order to survive.

Sally Draper has shown interest in having dinner with her stepfather, Henry Francis.  This request pleasantly surprised Betty unaware that her daughter has become friends with the troubled boy, Glen Bishop.  In fact, it was Glen’s advice that Sally get on the right side of her mother to reduce the antipathy between them.  Sally leaves for her session with Dr. Edna who knows very well the young girl’s aversion towards her mother, and who has become proud that no matter how angry the child becomes she manages to have self-control.  Dr. Edna assures Sally that her mother’s behavior is due to the woman’s stresses and not of her wrongdoing.  Having seen improvements on the young girl’s behavior, Dr. Edna recommends reducing her sessions with Sally, but to her surprise Betty is against the recommendation probably because she is in more need of therapy than her daughter and has been using the time to deliberate Sally’s progress with the psychiatrist to discuss her own issues.  Seeing that this is the reason for Betty’s refusal to the reduction of Sally’s sessions, Dr. Edna refers Betty to her colleague that she too may undergo therapy.  Betty, however, seems to have grown attached to the child psychiatrist and is unwilling to see another one.  Seeing through Betty, Dr. Edna agrees to continue their unofficial sessions.

The starving artist Midge Daniels reenters Don’s life hoping to get a job at his agency unaware of its financial troubles.  Although living in the same neighborhood, the two surprisingly have not crossed paths until now.  Much has changed in their lives with Don now being a divorcee, and Midge now married to a fellow artist; a marriage she claims to be of convenience.  Midge persistence for Don to have dinner at her house pays off as he agrees to it.  Soon Don finds himself in a dump of an apartment where Midge lives with her playwright husband Perry.  Before long, Perry begins selling Don one of Midge’s artworks and then panders his wife to him.  Having bought Midge’s story of happening to bump into Don at the Time Life building, Don is more scandalize to learn that Midge has tracked him down.  The playwright, pimp, and ostensibly a drug addict as well leaves Don and Midge to themselves, and Don learns that his former lover is now a heroin addict.  Don buys Number Four for $120 in cash, and leaves the squalid apartment of his former lover.

Don nervously prepares for the impending meeting with Philip Morris only to learn from Dr. Atherton that the tobacco company has decided to give the account to Leo Burnett, the agency already handling Marlborough.  The sight of dismayed partners returning without the clients and having a closed meeting caused a stir in the office.  It is Don’s belief that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce wreaks of desperation causing potential clients to hand their accounts to other agencies.  Lane informs the partners that he has spoken with the bank, and its advice is for them to fund the agency out of their own pockets to stave off having to close shop in the next six months.  In addition, they are to reduce their staff drastically.  Seeing that there is no solution in sight and finding the meeting pointless, Don leaves the partners meeting.  Later, Pete Campbell learns that Philip Morris only set up a meeting with them to get a better deal from Leo Burnett, and that they have become a laughing stock at Leo Burnett.  This news he had shared with Don, as an opening to ask that the agency waive his obligation as a partner to contribute fifty thousand dollars to the company, did nothing for him.  There is nothing Don can do for him, but to be an ad man and to win their agency an account.  However, this undertaking is wholly dependent on accounts getting him a meeting with a potential client.

Pete arrives home to learn that the bank has called at his house about a loan making Trudy think that Pete has been looking for a house in the suburbs.  Trudy is shocked to learn that not only is Pete not looking for a house, but that he is to use their savings to keep his partnership at an agency that is in the verge of folding.  The following day he finds, like the rest of the people who read The New York Times, that Don has posted an ad that admonishes the public of the harmful effects of tobacco causing ire from several agencies including his own.  Don, an ad man, has failed to see that his criticism of the tobacco industry and their former client has done the agency more harm than good for no client would want to work with a firm who turns against their clients.  Don receives a call from Senator Robert Kennedy while being reproached by his partners only to learn that it was a crank call from Teddy Chaough; the call validated his partners’ fears.  Don’s gaffe was too huge to repair forcing Bert Cooper to throw in the towel.  He did earn a fan from one of the most inconsequential of employees, Megan Calvet.  Ken Cosgrove informing them that Don’s public tantrum against big tobacco had at least caused his clients stop talking about Lucky Strike showed some positive outcome of the scandalous ad, but Bert bidding them farewell quickly dashed any hopes of recovery.  Don calls for Peggy and becomes convinced that she is getting the boot.  She becomes relieved that she is spared; however, some of her staff are not as lucky.

Don clearly works on impulse.  He is reminded of this after learning that the company Faye is working for was forced to resign from Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce, because their association with the agency removes any chance of doing any business with a tobacco company.  However, both did not find this a total loss for this allows them to have their relationship out in the open, because Don is no longer Faye’s client.  Faye bids Peggy farewell causing the young copywriter to realize that Faye is the only woman she knows who has climbed up the ranks and gained the respect of her colleagues and clients.

Betty stumbles upon Sally and Glen, and immediately becomes upset at seeing the two together.  She unceremoniously severs her daughter’s friendship with the boy as she prohibits Glen from spending time with Sally.  Betty then uses the encounter as a reason for them to move out of their neighborhood shattering Sally, but delighting Henry who is unaware of the impetus for her decision.

In the next partners meeting, Don learns that his stunt did not exactly end their agency.  In fact, the call from the American Cancer Society he thought was a joke was actually legitimate; this they learned after they called Roger Sterling to set up a meeting about their agency running an anti-smoking ad campaign for them, a proposal Roger too thought as a gag, but apparently is not.  Pete and Lane still do not find this prospect enticing for public service ads do not make money, but the optimists of people believe that the bigwigs on its board might help them get new accounts.  Pete’s surly mood stems not only from their damaged reputation, but also from the exorbitant amount of money he is obliged to contribute to the agency.  He is later shocked to learn that Don has already paid his share.  Because the partners’ contributions will not be enough to sustain the company, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce begins the daunting task of letting go several of its employees.

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