Monday, February 8, 2010

Was Don Draper the Mastermind Behind Those Super Bowl Ads?

Is it me, or did most of those Super Bowl ads seem to come straight from the playbook of Don Draper?

Yeah, GoDaddy, I'm talking to you. (And Dodge, it wouldn't hurt you to listen up, either.) Up until last night, I had been contemplating using GoDaddy for a website. If I'm to do so now, you'd better make it worth my while.

Because really, what's with the denigration of women? Was that necessary? One would have hoped we'd have moved beyond this 1960s mentality. But apparently we haven't. Because according to the ads I saw last night, we're still either objects to be ogled and objectified (much as the Mad Men crew does with the women in their lives) or we're the 2010 incarnation, vampire shrews snaring the men in our lives and slurping their blood - or at least, to render them eunochs in skirts.

You just know Don Draper was behind those ads, don't you?

I mean, can't you picture the scene in Don's office now? I can.

Smokin' Don behind his desk, facing Peggy and Sal (let's pretend for the purposes of this blog post that Sal is still on the team), Harry Crane and Pete Campbell. In my fantasy episode of Mad Men, Sterling Cooper has been handed the Super Bowl biz - they are the agency of choice for each advertiser during the Big Game.

Don, clearly getting out his frustrations with Betty, comes up with the Dodge "take a stand" ads. He's tired of being kicked around, and he's not gonna take it anymore. They all love it - everyone except Peggy, of course. Same with the GoDaddy ads. Just for humor relief, we'll say that one was proposed by Pete, the grand pooh-bah of GoDaddies himself.

You know the Google Parisian love story ad was the brainchild of Peggy. Simple, romantic, an emotional story that everyone can relate to. She meets resistance from the guys when holding up the storyboards for that spot.

"Google's paying us a gazillion dollars for an ad that damn well better be remembered, and that's the best you can come up with? Some sugar-coated sappiness?" you can hear the good ol' boys saying.

But Peggy holds firm to her belief that this ad is a winner - and of course, it is - and Don acquieses, but only if she works with Pete Campbell to deal with the firestorm that has erupted over the Focus on the Family/Tim Tebow ad. There are bigger accounts to worry about when one has been handed the entire Super Bowl ad campaign. Reluctantly, Peggy agrees.

Let us also imagine that Sal has been working on the Mancrunch campaign, only to be thrown under the bus in the staff meeting when Harry Crane announces that CBS has rejected his ad. Don will try to appease him, too, by giving him Motorola - with the condition that he works on it under the direction of Ken Cosgrove and Paul Kinsey. Sal is perturbed that this is beneath him, but he uses that as a chance to send a message when he includes the two guys.

And then there's Bert Cooper and Roger Sterling. (Because it's not a Mad Men episode without some good repartee between Bert and Roger.) Picture a scene in Bert's office. He's just gotten a call from his old flame, Betty White, who's having a hard time paying for her insurance premiums and is wondering if Bert can find some work for her. In the meantime. Roger's just gotten a call from Abe Vigoda, expressing similar sentiments.

"I thought you were dead," Roger deadpans.

Don comes up with the Snickers ad, keeping Bert and Roger happy and Betty and Abe employed. Cheers all around.

Back to Don's ads for Dodge. (He probably had a hand in the Dove soap ones, too.) He's so proud of them, convinced they are going to be the most memorable. And then, it's the day of the big game, and the Sterling Cooper team is gathered around a TV taking up an entire wall of Bert's office. They have their own version of a drinking game, doing as many number of shots as the time slot of the ad each executive worked on.

Meanwhile, Harry Crane has been monitoring Twitter and Facebook for real-time feedback on the ads. He struggles to figure out a way to tell Don that his sexist ads aren't scoring with the ladies ... and that Peggy's Google love story ad is le creme de la creme of the Super Bowl.

For it is the simple, the emotional, the heartfelt story of the underdog that will always, no matter the decade, triumph over brash, in-your-face tactics.

And then the game is over and the New Orleans Saints win for the first time, in their first appearance in the big game. With the images of Don's manly-men ads fresh in mind, the championship Hallmark moment with Baby Brees appears on screen. The men in Don Draper's office remain stoic, while Don demands that someone come up with a way to sign Baby Brees immediately.

Peggy wipes away a tear, glancing surreptiously at Pete.

Fade to black. (But not before the entire staff of Sterling Cooper breaks out some Bud Light and runs around the office in their underwear.)

Update: Some stats from Mashable! here on how online viewers who watched the ads on reacted as well as those who watched the ads in real-time. Interesting to see where GoDaddy falls on those lists.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Paula Krapf said...

Great post, and I agree. I was unhappy with the anti-woman tone to the commercials this year, but I hadn't made the Don Draper connection. Makes more sense now ;-)

Jenna said...

Amen! What is with all the objectification of women in ads? And what is up with all the ads that protray women as blood-sucking, man-hating, vicious b*tches?? I have always HATED advertising for these reasons... women are objects and men are stupid- seems like that is all we ever see!! GAG.

Oh, and now I want to watch Mad Men... I've been resisting jumping on the band wagon, but now I may just reconsider.

Care said...

Very good! Everyone at our party kept wondering why so many men in their underwear?