When You Bring The Heat, You’ll Be Asked To Stoke The Fire

Again, the writing on Mad Men is penetrating and on point. In this week’s episode, the powers that be put the squeeze on Don after he brings a big fish (Conrad Hilton) into their deepening pond.
The partners want Don to sign a three-year contract to ensure he doesn’t just get up one morning and decide to walk, with or without said hotelier.
Naturally, Don resists and Bertram Cooper persists. As I said last week, “this guy Cooper, he knows things.”

Draper: What do you want?
Cooper: Sacagawea carried a baby on her back all the way to the Pacific Ocean. And somewhere that baby thinks that he discovered America. You Don, have been standing on someone’s shoulders. We brought you in. We nurtured you like family and now’s the time to pay us back. You can’t go any further on your own Don.

It’s interesting that Cooper would use the word “family” here. Don signs the paper and tells Cooper that he wants no further contact with Roger Sterling. Not exactly brotherly of him. Then again, Sterling did hit on Don’s wife and then attempt to use her to bring him around to the agency’s POV.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I think the show is really well-written, and the general character interplay is what makes it so appealing. The ad industry just serves as a more of a backdrop for me.
    Having said that, we never really see why Don Draper is considered such an indispensable creative genius. Other than the Kodak Carousel presentation, which was damn good, he’s never written, done or said much on the show that makes me think he’s some sort of terrific ad guy. I liken this show to “L.A. Law,” — which was also more about the characters than the lawyering. But they always put on a good courtroom show.
    Wondering if anyone else feels this way.