April 13, 2010
 

Season Two Mad Men Predictions

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In the last few weeks, the anticipation of MAD MEN's Season 2 has reached a fever pitch on Madison Avenue. We've all been wondering; what twists and turns does programming genius Matthew Weiner have in store for us? Here are a few of OUR own predictions. They're not in chronological order, so with a little imagination assume that some could be eiither flashbacks...or flashfronts!

1. Some of them are serious. We're almost certain they'll come true.
2. Some are just for fun. We'd be delighted if they came true.
3. And some are out of this world. We'd be as surprised as anyone if they came true!

The Sterling Cooper Agency
1. Daisy: Having backed the wrong candidate for president, Sterling Cooper decides to go with the democrats instead. They have a major influence in creating the "Daisy" ad, which helped Johnson beat Goldwater in a landslide, still considered "the" most controversial political ad in history.

2. Direct Marketing: The agency opens up a new division called "Sterling Cooper Direct" and begins to offer direct marketing to clients, led by Pete Campbell based on his passion and belief he could be its leader

3. Automotive: It will open an office in Detroit after it lands the American Motors account. The agency tries to borrow from the DDB/Volkswagen campaign by naming one of the automotive company's brands, The Rebel" to appeal to younger hipper drivers and the other one, "the Ambassador" to appeal to more conservative drivers.

4. The Pepsi Generation: The Herta Herzog-like researcher does a study on the "baby boom" generation, as it begins to have a noticeable impact on consumer spending patterns. Being a WW2 veteran Roger Sterling can't relate. Being Korean War veteran-age, Don Draper is resentful and feels the sense of order that he's used to run his life is challenged by the self-obsessed nature of "boomers". Pete and Peggy relate and use the research to help land the Pepsi account, coming up with the "Pepsi Generation." They caught Pepsi's attention based on the work they did for "Clearasil."

5. "Happy Birthday Mr. President": Using Marilyn Monroe's Madison Square Garden openly sexual song to Kennedy as an example of the new relaxed sexual mores, the agency decides to turn up the use of sex in all of its business development efforts. Peggy leads. It wins the Clairol hair color account with "Does she or doesn't she? Only her hair dresser knows for sure". With Jack and Jackie Kennedy in the White House, Sterling Cooper begins to understand the power of celebrity endorsers. They start referring to this trend by referencing "the Beautiful People."

6. The Wings of Man: The agency wins the Eastern Airlines account with this line.

7. The World's Fair: Given the impact that Sputnik has on the government, the agency realizes there is enormous money for profit by working with what Eisenhower called, "The Military Industrial Complex." It suggests to General electric that they use The 1963 World's Fair as a PR tool to generate consumer good will so congressmen and senators will avoid any backlash from awarding billion $$ contracts to the company.

8. Marlboro Man: It resigns its current tobacco account when it wins Marlboro with the iconic "Marlboro Man" campaign

9. "It Leaves You Breathless": Given the agency's culture of alcohol indulgence, it begins to realize that there are some drawbacks that heavy drinking has with consumers and themselves personally. They comes up with this line for Smirnoff Vodka to emphasize that drinkers can consume it and not worry about smelling like they have been drinking.

10. Color TV: Recognizing the emergence of a new "Upper middle class" group of consumers who have the spending power worth 100 average consumers, the agency realizes there is great potential in marketing niche-based products to a small segment of the population with super-premium products that offer marketers significant profit margins. Used successfully in the automobile advertising category, the agency recommends applying that same marketing segmentation to home appliances. The Kodak Carousel campaign has an enormous influence in generating success for the agency based on the agency's concept of applying human emotional reactions to how they marketing tech-based appliances.

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Don Draper
1. The last two years has taken a toll on Don. Due to the loss of his brother as well as the two women he was having an affair with, Rachel Menken and Midge Daniels who broke off the relationship, Don's confidence has taken a major hit.

2. With his shield of confidence down, he begins to have flashbacks of his past which creates an even greater sense of insecurity. We are introduced to his mother. We also see his experience in war time

3. These elements and more have made Don resort to drinking and smoking even more

4. In essence, he is a wreck and his position as the leader at Sterling Cooper has changed significantly.

5. Ordinarily he would have been pushed out. However due to the fact that he is a partner, combined with making some key roles in winning new business, he has managed to hang in there.

6. One of the reasons for this is that Joan Holloway and Don have become lovers. She is his fierce protector from those who are continuing to tear him down

7. His relationship with his wife Peggy has changed dramatically. They have reversed roles. Peggy now wears the pants in the family

8. Peggy pressures him to see a psychiatrist.

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Pete Campbell
1. Just as Don's position at the agency has weakened, Pete's has strengthened

2. He has found his stride, however his ego has grown out of control. People are afraid of him though can't do anything about it since he has found the magic touch. He has become the new business king and is not that far away from becoming president.

3. Just as Don's role in the creative department was weakened, Peggy's has grown tremendously. (More on this under "Peggy").

4. With Pete running the account group (and by extension the agency) combined with Peggy's rise as the creative star, they both find themselves working very closely.

5. They have found a way to reconcile their differences. The romance is over but the attraction is still there. It's a creative tension that works very well in new business meetings, which makes it all more frustrating to both when they are in private together. Tempted to reclaim their passion, in light of the pain they both experienced in Series one, they maintain boundaries and find comfort in the positive effect their chemistry is having at the agency and in their pocket books. They are beginning to see wealth grow in their lives.

6. Pete can't leave his marriage, though given his success he has become the stud muffin at the agency. He enjoys everyone kissing up to him and will occasionally have a one-night fling, though underneath his marriage and short affairs, he is very much in love with Peggy.

7. Pete's family background has had a huge impact on his rise at the agency. He has learned how to use his wife and his country-club connections translate into business at the agency.

8. His father suddenly dies which frees him from his past. He gets his inheritance. With it his brother enters the picture, who is the real loser of the family. No longer having to deal with his father, he finds that his relationship with his brother is equally contentious. The difference is that Pete has the upper hand.

9. Pete's great success at monetizing his upper class pedigree creates even more pressure between him and Don. He continues to use Don Draper in meetings, social occasions and for new business Opps though is losing patience with Don, since the upper-class trimmings only makes Don feel more insecure.

10. This creates even more frustration between the two. However Pete is not secure enough in his leadership to have Don fired, since at the end of the day he still respects Don and needs him to prop himself up, since he can't sell the agency to clients by himself.

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Roger Sterling
1. Given his health problems, combined with his excessive philandering, with the nudging from Pete Campbell, Bertram Cooper fires Roger and tells him he's out.

2. Roger leaves with major fan fare and joins another shop as president. He has tremendous hatred for Sterling/Cooper and does everything he can to steal accounts away from his old shop. He becomes the Bain of existence at his old agency; particularly with Pete Campbell who is essentially running it. He tries to steal talent from Sterling all the time, sometimes successfully

3. He wins some Sterling accounts and uses his experience at Sterling to take credit for work done there with business prospects his old and new agency are pitching. By taking credit for work done by Sterling Cooper he beats them and wins new business even though he had nothing to do with it when he was there

4. Roger still has respect and a good rapport with Draper and tries to woo him away to his new shop. Don won't. However, their still manage to have a good relationship, primarily due to the mutual hatred they have of Pete.

5. With the move, in this process he has gotten his act together and has become more philosophical. He is now much more sensitive to his daughter though his relationship with her has not improved largely due to her long term resentments to him.

6. His relationship with his wife improves, however his eye for women and desire to have affairs is still there. The difference is that few women are interested in return.

7. Joan ended their affair when Roger left and replaced him with Don, who she finds she has more in common than she did with Roger (more on this under "Joan").

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Joan Holloway

1. With Roger gone, Joan has lost some of her powerbase. This frustrates her to no end as she deals with the glass ceiling. She's become extremely jealous of Peggy since she is not cut out for the creative department. Plus, she is not taken seriously enough to become an account executive.

2. One of the reasons she cannot become an account executive is that Pete does not like her. They're relationship gets especially brittle.

3. Since she finds herself stifled in a job that interests her less and less, she relates to Don Draper's loss of position, pursues him and begins an affair with him.

4. Joan comes from a working class family so she relates to Don on this level. Together they fume over the fact that they cannot compete with Pete; who holds it over both of them.

5. With Peggy's ascendance, Joan cannot condescend to Peggy any longer and to some degree has to suck up to her, which she can't stand. However, under all the jealousy she still admires Peggy and even finds herself coming to her defense when a guy makes a sexist remark

6. Ironically Peggy finds herself quite comfortable hobnobbing with Pete's crowd. The agency staff becomes polarized in terms of having to choose what camp they are in. Are they in the Pete/Peggy camp or the Don/Joan camp.

7. With Don's relationship with his wife Betty becoming more mechanical, Joan finds herself as the dominant person in Don's life.

8. Joan falls in love with Don and wants him to leave his wife, which he will not do. This adds sparks to the relationship. They are caught in something they can't get out of. As a result it becomes fairly well known in the office that they are having an affair, which adds to their stagnation at the agency.

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Peggy Olson
1. Peggy has become an incredibly hot creative talent at the agency and in the business.

2. She becomes a spokesperson for the emerging feminist movement; however she can not reconcile this with her incredible guilt she has for giving her daughter up for adoption

3. At Sterling, she essentially has become the creative director and is now the "go to" person that Don Draper once was.

4. She runs the day to day business though Don still retains the title. She respects Don and will not push him out but she has no problem overruling him on creative strategies which embarrasses Don.

5. Since she has a very strong bond with Pete and is in love with him as he is with her, she has confidence her decisions will get supported.

6. Her confidence continues to grow though she does not know what to do with it, since she does not want to get married, gave up her baby and knows that Pete will never leave his wife for her.

7. As a result, she throws herself into her work endlessly and replaces the lack of romance in her life with her career. She gets a pet dog.

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Betty Draper
1. Finally shook off mourning of mother, Betty shakes off her in security by finding her mothers strength is alive and well in her

2. She has figured out that Don has been leading a double life. She has no problem chastising him yet she can't help but have empathy for him given the constant nightmares and fall from grace at work.

3. Plus, don is a good parent, which she respects. She loves her family so she would never seriously consider divorce even though the thought has occurred to her.

4. She chooses to be a "stay at home" mom, passing it off various career opportunities, choosing her family instead.

5. She is constantly pressing Don to stop drinking and gets quite emotional and emphatic for him to get his act together. She forces him to get into therapy

6. She has made up with Helen Bishop. They become very good friends. She is still traditional though is attracted to Helen's independence.

7. She does this also because she can't help being attracted to Helen's son who is now entering puberty. The physical attraction between them becomes a bewildering distraction.

8. They find themselves in each other's arms at least once during Season 2.

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Rachel Menken
1. Breaking off her short affair with Don, her father introduces someone to her that she surprisingly falls in love and marries him.

2. She is still in love with Don and sees him from time to time though won't allow herself to be seduced by him due to her loyalty to her husband.

3. Inevitably she begins to lose all respect for Don and uses all her connections to award advertising business to her husband's agency.

4. She gets pregnant and has a baby though does not let go of her management responsibilities of her family's department store. In fact she starts buying up small ones and gets intrigued with building an empire.

5. Her and her sister become at odds with each other since her sister thinks she should spend more time on her son, versus the family business.

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Bertram Cooper
1. Getting further and further away from the day to day business, Bertram tries to groom Don to become the next agency CEO. Since Don is not sure footed he has concerns of handing over the reins to him.

2. He has no intention of seeing all his hard-work fall apart due to the mismanagement of the next in line. He is proud to see that his choice of backing Pete Campbell as paid off though he has misgivings of making Campbell the next generation leader.

3. Don and Pete duke it out endlessly in front of Bertram who is essentially powerless of defusing the war between his two top execs.

4. Between Draper's lack of confidence and Pete's overconfidence, he decides neither is capable and so begins to call around to see if he could either merge the agency into another one or to take it public, which is something beginning to happen on Madison Avenue.

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More to come in the next couple of weeks! - The Editors

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