The New York Yankees were deep into a mediocre season, so this summer I started binge-watching “Mad Men,” the drama about an advertising agency and its creative director, Don Draper, set in the 1960s. If you haven’t binge-watched that series, I highly recommend it – you get so much more out of a well-crafted show the second time around!
Draper’s character, played by Jon Hamm in the role of a lifetime, sometimes said things that were relevant beyond Madison Avenue and applicable 50 years after the 1960s ended. Near the end of the show’s fourth season, in an episode entitled “Blowing Smoke,” the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ad agency faced a life-threatening crisis. Two departments, Creative Services and Account Services, were fighting over which should lead the agency out of its crisis.
As the departments waged a low-intensity conflict with each other, a member of Draper’s team asked him what they should do. “We’re going to sit at our desks and keep typing while the walls fall down around us because we’re Creative – the least-important, most-important thing there is,” he replied.
Now there’s a sobering thought. Every department in a company is, by definition, “important.” Some department has to be at the top and some department has to be at the bottom, right? What if Draper’s bitter comment were true? Let’s fast-forward 50 years and ask ourselves, “Are communications and marketing the least-important, most-important functions in a utility?” Read more »