Jantzen In The Mad Men Spotlight

As of Sunday night, season four of Mad Men season is underway.
The first episode of the season is called “Public Relations” and it opens on a scene at a Manhattan restaurant where a wounded Korean War vet now working for Ad Age interviews a stoic Don Draper. Draper plays modest, and credits this feigned modesty to his Midwest upbringing.
Another interesting storyline in “Public Relations” is the use of Portland sportswear company, Jantzen. Draper, who just described himself as Midwest modest, has a real problem with the modesty he sees in the Janzten brand. In fact, Draper refers to the clients as “prudes” before throwing them out of the agency after a poor presentation. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is a stickler for details, so I can’t help but wonder how accurate this depiction of the Jantzen brand in 1964 is.
I also wonder about what kind of sales uptick the brand may be seeing this week, as a result of the Mad Men integration. Draper may have cast Jantzen out of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (SCDP), but I doubt real life consumers of the show (and swimwear) are taking his words to heart.
Let’s have a look at Janzten’s modern day offerings, shall we?
Available at Popina in NE Portland
Maybe the brand was prudish in 1964. I don’t know. But it’s sexy now.
Back to the Draper-tantrum for a minute. Creative people in advertising are known as hotheads–it’s a type from central casting. Even so, I bristled at Draper’s treatment of the two gentlemen from Portland, who came to him eager for answers to their marketing problems. Draper’s dismissiveness might play well on TV, but in real life, great creatives step up, not aside.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.