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Mad Men: "For Immediate Release" OAD 5/5/13 ***SPOILERS***


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#1 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 12:15 PM

Vega-Ad01.jpg

So Don finally will sell his ad without the image of the product in the picture. Yes, this actually was a real ad run by Chevrolet.

But I'm ahead of myself.

This is one of those pivotal episodes of "Mad Men" when a dramatic shift in the primary story arc occurs. In this case it's a merger which is as significant as the decision that created Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. And that this re-creation episode was written by series creator Matthew Weiner is obvious.

Don takes charge again, with the help and encouragement of Roger, but overriding the plans of three partners. And with the behind the scenes help of his mother-in-law (it's Mother's Day, after all), Don was able to grab hold of his relationship with Megan who implements her mother's suggestion (though it appears the side-deal with Sylvia is dead, immediately because her son's back for an indefinite stay and because her husband has quit his job - they will have to move).

Pete is crushed by two dominant authority figures in his life, Don and his father-in-law, simultaneously destroying whatever advantage in life he thought he had gained. We see him literally stumble down the stairs yelling at Don for dumping Jaguar just before he learns dear old dad-in-law is pulling the Vicks account. What Pete doesn't understand about people would fill a book as he learns that his father-in-law is very comfortable risking embarrassment to protect his daughter, Trudy, who starts completing the task of getting Pete out of her life. And down the stairs Pete tumbles.

Peggy communicates to Abe that she doesn't like change and she wants things in her life to go back to the way they were. Lo and behold, they did in her work life. Her current firm Cutler Gleason and Chaough will merge with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. And Peggy was the one tasked with creating the image of the merged nameless firm - the episode title "For Immediate Release" is a reference to the news release we see her writing, alone at her typewriter, at the end. But how this assignment was handed to her was a perfect Weiner scene - Don shook Peggy's hand as he and Ted told the stunned under-thirty copy chief to go write up a press release describing the kind of company she'd want to work for. Again, her mentor Don has given her a crucial, highly responsible, task. (By the way, it's 1968, as we know a tragic year, so Weiner has her state she loves Bobby Kennedy....)

Roger is back in full-on mode. In fact Roger is in bed with Daisy, a 25-year old TWA stewardess, played by Danielle Panabaker (who we first got to know as Julie, the sometimes-wise-beyond-her-years teen daughter of James Wood's character defense attorney Sebastian Stark in "Stark." Roger is manipulating her to gain access to a potential client, it seems almost any potential client but maybe not. And in the end, we have to know that Roger's machinations created all the important stuff in this episode, some maybe inadvertantly - put Don alone with Herb to dump Jaguar, put Pete in the brothel with his father-in-law, put Megan in the position to seduce Don, put Ted together with Don to hammer out a joint approach to Chevy, put Peggy....

Joan. Sitting with the investment banker (this was before they were despised) she sees the possibility of wealth beyond her dreams as she, Bert Cooper, and Pete conspire behind the backs of the other partners to go public, good grief an IPO. Only Roger and Don have other plans, and Don wins when he takes charge. We have to remember that it wasn't Don's "creative" that ultimately got them Jaguar but Pete's whoring out Joan to the dispicable Herb. Losing Jaguar ends the chance for an IPO (though Pete's loss of Vicks had yet to happen).

 

Joan is as angry as Pete, but she doesn't fall down any stairs. She rages at Don: "Honestly, Don, if I could deal with him, you could deal with him. And what now? I went through all of that for nothing?"

His ego aroused, Don answers: "Joan, don't worry, I will win this."

“Just once I would like you to use the word ‘we’ because we’re all rooting for you from the sidelines, hoping that you’ll decide what’s right for our lives,” Joan angrily tells him, simulaneously standing up to Don and acknowledging that all of them are dependent upon Don.

And Don's good. But he and Ted are at the bar sharing their ad ideas because they are depressed - the big firm is there to push them out - they don't have a chance.

Ted said "they're going to take our creative and give it to the big boys.... This is General Motors ... they fight the war with bodies on the ground."

Don explains his idea:

"Just music, people's faces, all kinds, teenagers, dads, moms, different expressions of wonder, what could this possibly be, it's so new, this combination of technology, power, and comfort, that it's impossible to imagine, but not at Chevy, the future is something you haven't even thought of yet. You run that for a week, then you finally show the car."

The print ad above at the beginning of this post isn't exactly that, but by the time it ran the car design was completed. It ran without showing the car. The print ad below came a bit later, again not exactly what Don described but....

Vega-Ad02.jpg

With 20-20 hindsight we all know what happened to the Vega....

 


"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
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#2 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 01:26 PM

Kudos to Weiner for this week, one of his best! BTW, how long did it take the Vega to fail? I remember them flooding the market like confetti, and they were truly mechanical POS, but I can't remember if they held out sales-wise for a while or tanked early.

 

I love it when the eps are about the advertising biz! "I'll win this for you!"

 

chevy-vega.jpg

Here we see an old man propositioning a hotpantsed hooker from the commanding seat of a $1200 POS. Way to go Dick Whitman!


Edited by Maruuk, 06 May 2013 - 02:25 PM.


#3 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 01:34 PM

"The Chevrolet Vega is a subcompact automobile that was produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors from 1970 to 1977. Available in two-door hatchback, notchback, wagon, and panel delivery body styles, all models were powered by an inline four-cylinder engine with a lightweight, aluminum alloy cylinder block. Variants included the Cosworth Vega, a short-lived limited-production performance model, introduced in March 1975.

The Vega received praise and awards at its introduction, including Motor Trend Car of the Year.[1] Subsequently the car became widely known for a range of problems related to its engineering,[2] reliability,[3] safety,[4][5] propensity to rust, and engine durability. Despite a series of recalls and design upgrades, the Vega's problems tarnished both its own as well as General Motors' reputation. Production ended with the 1977 model year."



#4 OFFLINE   spartanstew

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:00 PM

I drove a Chevy Vega all through high school. Blue with Wood Panels. Peacock feather coming off the stick shift, tassles all around the interior roof, and lots of buttons and such on the visors (including one that said Chicano's make better lovers - of course, Cheech and Chong was all the rage then).



"Honestly, Don, if I could deal with him, you could deal with him. And what now? I went through all of that for nothing?"
"Joan, don't worry, I will win this."
“Just once I would like you to use the word ‘we’ because we’re all rooting for you from the sidelines, hoping that you’ll decide what’s right for our lives,”

 

Probably my favorite dialogue/scene in the whole series.


I'm sure Directv can't wait to get their hands on your unit.

 
Directv customer since 2000

#5 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:17 PM

With 20-20 hindsight we all know what happened to the Vega....

I didn't go beyond that statement as the first Vega's were sold in the fall of 1970.

 

It was strange. If you watch this video about the design of the vehicle, it seems like it should have been a winner. And it was, except for the flaws and production problems.

 

The real ad agency for Chevy was Campbell Ewald.  In 1911, Frank Campbell and Henry Ewald merged their individual Detroit companies to form Campbell Ewald, beginning with just six employees. Chevrolet became the agency's first major client in 1919, and by 1922, Campbell-Ewald was awarded all of General Motors' ad business. The agency has continued its partnership with GM for more than 90 years. You can see their work over the years here on their web site.

 

 

Popular Mechanics in 2010 ran a story How the Chevy Vega Nearly Destroyed GM but in fact this event was more significant:to the ad industry and if a small agency had bet its whole future on the Vega it could have destroyed the agency's future:

 

GM in September 1970 was crippled by a UAW strike, prompting the automaker to suspend most advertising. This immediately affected agencies. Campbell-Ewald slashed salaries by 10% (lower-level staffers) to 25% (upper-level executives). The agency in October instituted additional salary cuts and furloughed many employees. After the strike ended in November, Campbell-Ewald recalled workers and restored salaries.  


"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
My AV Setup
My Slingbox Pro HD Experience
My Blog: The Redwood Guardian


#6 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:49 PM

Also here's a commercial for the first Vegas:

 


 

 


"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
My AV Setup
My Slingbox Pro HD Experience
My Blog: The Redwood Guardian


#7 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 06:33 PM

My sister had an orange one with a black racing stripe. Always breaking down and she finally crashed it. It was worth more in insurance than it ever was in the real world.



#8 ONLINE   yosoyellobo

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:38 PM

Nice review as always Phrelin. By the way what was the name if the song that was playing at the end.

#9 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 04:49 AM

“Baby Jane (Mo Mo Jane)” by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.

 

BTW, the "powerful" Vega engines ran from 75-110HP. Real neck-snappers.


Edited by Maruuk, 09 May 2013 - 04:55 AM.


#10 ONLINE   yosoyellobo

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:53 AM

Thanks.




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