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The first Social Media Strategy meeting
September 27, 2011 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Don Draper invents Facebook. The video pulls from Mad Men‘s “The Wheel” episode — in which Draper conceives an ad campaign for the Kodak Carousel — and applies its dialogue to the Facebook Timeline. It was created by Eric Leist, a technology strategist with Allen & Gerritsen.
posted by sweetkid (51 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you for reminding me how fucking good that Mad Men scene was.
posted by saturday_morning at 6:05 PM on September 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


Thank you for reminding me how that was where Mad Men peaked, and it hasn't ever gotten any better than that one scene, which encapsulated the entire first season into an ad pitch.
posted by PapaLobo at 6:16 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, that was slightly cringe worthy.
“The most compelling elements of Facebook’s Timeline are the ones that made Kodak’s Carousel popular,” Leist explains in the video description. “Reminiscing is a social activity. It always has been and now Facebook is bringing that activity online.”
Does not get it. What was effective about the original scene is that those shots are Draper's private feelings about his family, which he capitalizes (effectively) on in order to sell the "nostalgia" angle. Having Sally Draper post in response about how embarrassed she is turns it into a wider public performance, which makes it not-nearly-as-poignant.

Reminiscing is not a social activity. It's private, personal, powerful. That was the whole point of Don's pitch. Ick.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:19 PM on September 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


That may have been the best scene on that show. I loved Don's pitches and that one was the best.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:20 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd be happier if they redid this with "It's Toasted"
posted by ethansr at 6:25 PM on September 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah, that didn't work on any level whatsoever. The original scene is a stunner and one of the best to ever appear on television, imo. This mashup or whatever it is neither understands the original or, seemingly, Facebook.
posted by dobbs at 6:28 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


'Facebook: The cure for the common social network.'
posted by kimota at 6:29 PM on September 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


I was not expecting an ad for Facebook to actually be an ad for Facebook, so now I'm kind of creeped out.
posted by katillathehun at 6:32 PM on September 27, 2011


This is kind of brilliant. The original scene was always deeply creepy to me – and the breathless love of capitalism people express when they talk about it has always bothered me in the same way that unhesitating praise of Facebook does. So they're perfect together, and in a way it's better this way, because it rips away the false object to which I think people's nostalgia latches on – photographs, slides, an archaic machine that displays them – and replaces that object with the current equivalent.
posted by koeselitz at 6:36 PM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Reminiscing is not a social activity. It's private, personal, powerful. That was the whole point of Don's pitch. Ick.

"Dude, remember that one time we went to San Antonio to see Dokken and you got all up in that biker's face and then he bought us a round of beers and we all got tattoos? Yeah, I remember it too, but since reminiscing is a private activity, we can't relive that shared memory. Kind of a pity, it seems like it might be a fun story to tell from time to time."

Reminiscing can TOTALLY be a social activity.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:45 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I had any video editing skills I'd add the client's response right after the scene ends: "Dude, you guys are tearing up looking at your Facebook profile? Really?"
posted by naju at 6:46 PM on September 27, 2011


Reminiscing can TOTALLY be a social activity.

It can be, but that wasn't the whole point of Don's pitch, so it's creepy seeing that message superimposed over the scene.

He's talking about the kind of reminiscing you do at 2 a.m. when you look up your junior high girlfriend or whatever. Those were the heartstrings he wanted the kodak people to tug on.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:49 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked it because it's unwittingly a parody of what Facebook is. Don Draper is a bullshit salesman, and he's a good one. The whole show (at least the first season) is selling you on Don Draper - self made lady's man with a gruff exterior and a heart of gold, and then slowly peeling away the layers to show that not only is there not much there, but what is there isn't very worthwhile. The thing is that people get sold on Don Draper, but never seem to understand that he's a shell. It's like rooting for the cops or the robbers on The Wire.

So here you have this bullshit artist, selling bullshit in the most convincing and insidious way possible: turning you very memories into a commodity that Kodak can sell. And, unironically, it's used as an advertisement for Facebook's latest way to turn your life into advertising data.

So I don't think it's well done, but I do enjoy it.

I'm a Facebook user, by the way.
posted by codacorolla at 6:52 PM on September 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


I agree, koeselitz, and I think the original scene is supposed to be a bit creepy, in part because Don is playing a part. He doesn't really have a time to go back to and reminisce on -- his childhood was a horrorshow and his current life is a whirlwhind of anxiety, ambivalence and regret.

Also, the reminiscing is absolutely social, especially because of the context we now think of the Kodak Carousel in -- people showing pics of their vacations to people at parties at their house, and whatever the Bouvier sisters always made the Simpsons sit through in the 80s.
posted by sweetkid at 6:54 PM on September 27, 2011


Nuts to this. Going to go rewatch the real thing.
posted by silby at 6:54 PM on September 27, 2011


Poor Harry. It never gets easier for him, does it?
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:02 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean the frequent sex vacations to LA seem to have cheered him up.
posted by silby at 7:05 PM on September 27, 2011


If Don is worried about getting caught he probably shouldn't put "Don Draper (Dick Whitman) " as his facebook name.
posted by delmoi at 7:06 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


He's talking about the kind of reminiscing you do at 2 a.m. when you look up your junior high girlfriend or whatever. Those were the heartstrings he wanted the kodak people to tug on.

Sure, but just because that's the original tone of the original scene doesn't mean that a mashup has to preserve that. As a piece of advertising, what's going to be most effective about this is that someone mashed up Mad Men with Timeline, and got people to think of Timeline in the same way people used to think about Kodak Carousel. It doesn't really matter what kind of reminiscing Don Draper does.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:07 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd be happier if they redid this with "It's Toasted"

DON: There you go, there you go. "Facebook: It's Online."

CLIENT: But everyone else's social network is online.

DON: No, everyone else's social network treats private information like it's a slightly distasteful bargain-basement commodity. Facebook is Online.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:11 PM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Here's the scene itself.

But yeah this "mashup" sucked. It did seem like an ad for facebook, but it failed. In that scene Don was selling earnest nostalgia but the images on the screen undermined that by being full of in-jokes, and of course for people who have seen the show it messed up by displaying stuff that don never would have (i.e. 'dick whitman', showing him in Korea, as a little kid. Stuff that he was not nostalgic for) . It was also lazy, because it re-used their screenshot.

I'd be happier if they redid this with "It's Toasted"

Facebook: Used by more doctors then any other social network. It's good for your T-Zone.
posted by delmoi at 7:17 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bye-bye privacy,
I'm gonna miss you so.
Bye-bye privacy,
Got targeted adds though.

posted by codacorolla at 7:25 PM on September 27, 2011


In that scene Don was selling earnest nostalgia but the images on the screen undermined that by being full of in-jokes, and of course for people who have seen the show it messed up by displaying stuff that don never would have (i.e. 'dick whitman', showing him in Korea, as a little kid. Stuff that he was not nostalgic for)

This didn't "mess up" by putting Dick Whitman (and other details) in there, it made a joke by putting Dick Whitman etc in there. It's not a bad idea for an ad/mashup for Facebook to show an inaccurate portrayal of how the fictional character Don Draper would use Facebook. It's just funny*, that's all.



*Lemme guess, it fails at being funny because it changes the original tone of the Mad Men clip.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:29 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It doesn't work for the reasons other people have said, but I did quite enjoy the mock up of Don Draper's Facebook timeline.

Peter Campbell: Look at us, Don. We're like two peas in a pod. A thing like that.

Don Draper: Shut up, Pete [16 people like this]

posted by orange swan at 7:30 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sure, but just because that's the original tone of the original scene doesn't mean that a mashup has to preserve that. As a piece of advertising, what's going to be most effective about this is that someone mashed up Mad Men with Timeline, and got people to think of Timeline in the same way people used to think about Kodak Carousel. It doesn't really matter what kind of reminiscing Don Draper does.

I don't know. That seems to be the opposite of the kind of earnest-seeming, inherently resonant advertising that we get in Mad Men. I don't think, "Timeline is like Kodak!" I think, "This comparison doesn't really make any sense, except on the most superficial level!" Statements by the advertisers underscore the fact that they both don't get the original clip and were reaching for a comparison to the Kodak carousel that wasn't really there to be made in the original clip (which is not about selling Kodak, but about selling a strategy for selling Kodak). And by inserting their obvious, shallow shilling, the facebook peeps here only succeed at making themselves look kind of bad in comparison.

Bad at advertising, I mean.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:59 PM on September 27, 2011


And by inserting their obvious, shallow shilling, the facebook peeps here only succeed at making themselves look kind of bad in comparison.

It's not by Facebook, it's by an independent creative agency.
posted by sweetkid at 8:05 PM on September 27, 2011


Watching, it didn't cross my mind that this could be anything other than a curmudgeonly critique of Facebook, contrasting its inanities with the nostalgia we feel for the carousel. All the 'jokes' seemed to corroborate that interpretation, especially Facebook forcing Don Draper to abide by its Real Name policy.

I'm shocked to see that the comparison was apparently meant in earnest.
posted by nobody at 8:34 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


“The most compelling elements of Facebook’s Timeline are the ones that made Kodak’s Carousel popular,” Leist explains in the video description. “Reminiscing is a social activity. It always has been and now Facebook is bringing that activity online.”

Seems earnest. Perhaps it's more canny then I'm giving it credit for.
posted by codacorolla at 8:37 PM on September 27, 2011


I've always wanted to see that scene without the musical score. A lot of my pitches would have gone great as well, if only I had a heartrending soundtrack.

Also, Sterling Cooper's creative for Carousel was horrendous.
posted by Scoo at 8:40 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A lot of my pitches would have gone great as well, if only I had a heartrending soundtrack.


Haha, yes! Totally agree.
posted by sweetkid at 8:49 PM on September 27, 2011


Scoo: Also, Sterling Cooper's creative for Carousel was horrendous.

I was all ready to be like "you shut up" and then I went back and looked at it.
posted by ericost at 9:03 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I had any video editing skills I'd add the client's response right after the scene ends: "Dude, you guys are tearing up looking at your Facebook profile? Really?"

As incredibly tempting as it is to be flippant (“You guys are tearing up on a telephone call? Really?”) I don’t want to pick on you specifically–but yours is a pretty good example of the attitude that seems most prevalent in this thread.

Facebook has truly moved me. As have, say, finding an old iPod; reading old text messages; seeing an old friend post new photos on Flickr; receiving good and bad news on Twitter; or discovering things I wrote as a child on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

I don’t want to take a stab at subtext and worry about whether I or the creators are missing subtle irony or meta-commentary in Draper’s original pitch in the context of the plot of Mad Men, because I don’t think it’s important: it’s a funny parody and sells Facebook no more or less well than it sells the Carousel.

Facebook is a warts-and-all corporation with a lot of warts these days, but the notion that it may one day make me cry is not only unsurprising but is at the root of the whole way I interact with technology. Isn’t that why we’re on Metafilter?

(By the way, the best joke was the Korea photo tagged “Don Draper with Don Draper.”)
posted by rafter at 9:16 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sentimental and poignant is one of Silicon Valley's favorite moods. Google did it for search and Google+. Apple did it for FaceTime, directed by Sam Mendes, and TechCrunch made the connection to Mad Men.

Facebook did it before for Places. The tone doesn't quite work with 20-something tech-bros narrating, because mostly they don't have the sensitivity to pull it off. It's also a bit weird for Facebook. A "facebook friend" is exactly the kind of person I wouldn't share a deep, meaningful moment with.

What makes it creepy is precisely that it's not bullshit. Your deepest, most authentic emotions are turned into "content" and monetized.
posted by AlsoMike at 9:38 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the original form of this scene is considered the "best scene ever" for Mad Men, then it confirms that I've been right to avoid the show! Go me.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:49 PM on September 27, 2011


but yours is a pretty good example of the attitude that seems most prevalent in this thread.

Totally right, rafter, my snarks seems silly now. FWIW - I was attempting to point out the weirdness of a room full of these 50's Type A "man's men" types basically crying in front of each other while surfing their Facebooks, and how odd that seems when you take away the music/backstory and just consider the situation.
posted by naju at 9:51 PM on September 27, 2011


(By the way, the best joke was the Korea photo tagged “Don Draper with Don Draper.”)

I thought it was the most annoying joke.
posted by delmoi at 10:54 PM on September 27, 2011


Don Draper would never be on Facebook, even without the Dick Whitman back story. Twitter, maybe.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:53 AM on September 28, 2011


I was attempting to point out the weirdness of a room full of these 50's Type A "man's men" types basically crying in front of each other

The backstory is that the guy who choked up and hurriedly left the room, was temporarily separated from his wife because he'd cheated on her and she kicked him out. He really wanted to work things out with her and all this talk about nostalgia really would have underlined what he'd lost and how he'd screwed it up.
posted by orange swan at 5:05 AM on September 28, 2011


So, the real advertisement for the Facebook Timeline is actually one of the most depressing pieces of advertising I've ever seen.

Within 3 seconds, you're immediately thinking "...and Andy Sparks died on ______."

The rest of the advertisement is spent, literally, hurtling towards the Andy's death.
posted by odinsdream at 6:24 AM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


I liked it because it's unwittingly a parody of what Facebook is. Don Draper is a bullshit salesman, and he's a good one. The whole show (at least the first season) is selling you on Don Draper - self made lady's man with a gruff exterior and a heart of gold, and then slowly peeling away the layers to show that not only is there not much there, but what is there isn't very worthwhile. The thing is that people get sold on Don Draper, but never seem to understand that he's a shell. It's like rooting for the cops or the robbers on The Wire.

People do understand that Don is being totally sincere in that scene, right? That those are real feelings coming out in good (if unpleasantly-motivated) work, rather than cynical manipulation? And folks to get that Draper's good at his job partly because both his private practice of scary hard-ass compartmentalization (w/attendant myopia and dangerous self-abstraction) and his genuine insights into the lives of other human beings (w/attendant slides into scary self-revelation as in the Carousel scene) are brought into constant, scary interplay in his advertising work...right?

The ever-more-popular reading of Mad Men as 'The "Don Draper Is a Jerk" hour, every week on AMC!' is a childishly defensive response to a show that's ambivalent and honest about its characters. Has everyone forgotten the goddamn Breakfast Club? The lesson is that we're all jocks and freaks and princesses and...etc., etc., etc.
posted by waxbanks at 7:49 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well we don't really know how Sincere draper actually was in that scene. But what it was was a performance. Remember [spoilers], earlier in the episode there was some strife with his wife, so he's presenting this lie of a beautiful happy family that doesn't really exit. So you can read the scene in two ways: He's creating a fiction of his own life and showing the "Image" of Don Draper: Loving family man, successful business man and 1950s archetype (This was in 1961, remember). On the other hand maybe he's working through his 'issues' by doing that and actually believes it. I think he does believe it but it's still a constructed version of himself.

And that's one thing people do on facebook, create constructed versions of themselves. So, that's one reason this video fails, because it shows the "real" stuff in Dick Whitman's life, including his name -- the Distinction between the real don and the constructed one is much greater then most people's and to see all his real personal stuff on there is very dissonant with the show. I realize they were supposed to be in-jokes for people who like the show, but to me they fell flat.
So, the real advertisement for the Facebook Timeline yt is actually one of the most depressing pieces of advertising I've ever seen.

Within 3 seconds, you're immediately thinking "...and Andy Sparks died on ______."
Well, now I am :P. I actually hadn't seen the video before reading your comment, so yea.
posted by delmoi at 8:06 AM on September 28, 2011


Well we don't really know how Sincere draper actually was in that scene. But what it was was a performance.

Really? In the context of Don's gradually unraveling marriage, in the context of being a man who has locked away every part of his soul in order to achieve "success", only to find that he is now empty, you think that "It takes us to a place we ache to go again," is insincere?
posted by kagredon at 9:29 AM on September 28, 2011


I wanted to like this, and I chuckled at some of the facebook jokes, but it felt like it didn't really understand what that scene was (and it's been better explained by a few people here); sorta like people who play "Every Breath You Take" at their wedding.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:22 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Really? In the context of Don's gradually unraveling marriage, in the context of being a man who has locked away every part of his soul in order to achieve "success", only to find that he is now empty, you think that "It takes us to a place we ache to go again," is insincere?

Absolutely. There is no real part of Don Draper. He's a fiction to himself as much as to every other character on the show.

This doesn't mean he's unsympathetic, and in fact he's a great tragic figure, but the tragic flaw that he carries is the inability to be anything other than a salesman, regardless of whatever trappings of a normal life he tries to surround himself with.

There's a real part of Don that's sad that his life is unraveling, but he then takes that and sells slide projectors with it. In a show that, on one level, is about the effect that advertising has on society there's a reason that Don is the main character.
posted by codacorolla at 10:35 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


He's good, needs to get better. And stop asking for things. Close the door.
posted by punkfloyd at 3:54 PM on September 28, 2011


Really? In the context of Don's gradually unraveling marriage, in the context of being a man who has locked away every part of his soul in order to achieve "success", only to find that he is now empty, you think that "It takes us to a place we ache to go again," is insincere?
Well, that's the thing. His marriage was in some sense a sham as well. He picked Betty because he wanted the 'perfect wife' (literally a model) to go along his image as a successful businessman
posted by delmoi at 12:01 PM on September 29, 2011


(That's not to say Don's relationship with Betty was just some kind of totally cynical ruse or whatever, but he was in love with the idea of Betty more so then the 'real person' or whatever)
posted by delmoi at 12:11 PM on September 29, 2011


In my mind, the pain of the line, "It takes us to a place we ache to go again," in that particular scene is that there's nowhere Don wants to go. He has a past that he's erased and a present that's tenuous, sad, and anxiety ridden. I don't think Don's soulless and shallow, but I think in this scene he's putting on a show of he knows people will want to feel in a presentation like this, because he wants to feel it, but there's nowhere for him to go and no reference for him to feel those things.
posted by sweetkid at 12:12 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, these are starting to sound like stereotypical traits of the socially integrated sociopath, which absent any hint of violence, is not the descriptor most people reach for when thinking about Don Draper (so far as I know -- I got tired of reading Mad Men pieces).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:30 PM on September 29, 2011


Durn, not to completely derail, but your comment made me remember this: The devil in Don Draper

Mad Men's' protagonist may look great, but he has no heart, nor capacity for truth. He's Satan in a starched collar.

I seldom get tired of reading Mad Men pieces. March 16, 2012 can't get here soon enough.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 1:45 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Don has a lot in common with those who, in the same era, "passed for white". In the mid-twentieth century there were a significant number of light-skinned people of black parentage or heritage who left behind their families and friends and moved to a place where no one knew them, sometimes changed their names, and "passed for white". In this way they could get jobs and housing and other opportunities that were not available to black people. Understandable in an era of open and legislated discrimination, of course, but they paid a terrible price for it because they had to sever all ties with their past: their families, their friends, their culture. I've heard stories of entire families moving somewhere to "pass", and leaving behind members of their family, sometimes even their children, who were too dark-skinned. And people who passed had to live in fear of discovery, and often had to avoid getting to close to anyone new. And no matter how perfect your act was, there was always the fear that if you had a child, it would be dark skinned and give away the game.

Don has done something similar, and paid a similar price. He lives in fear of discovery and can't bear for anyone to know his secret, or to be emotionally intimate with anyone. He rejected his brother and his brother hung himself. His life is a house of cards and he can't begin to really live, to really inhabit it, to really be honest about who he is and what he's done, because it all might come down around him.
posted by orange swan at 6:58 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


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