Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pete Campbell reads Ebony Magazine!

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I finally saw the latest episode of Mad Men and it was terrific! And what's more, Pete Campbell was skimming through an issue of Ebony Magazine from 1963! Amazing!

For readers who don't watch Mad Men: Pete Campbell is a young advertising executive in 1963 Manhattan. His job is to please the clients; he's an account man. He's also, most often, a weasel and generally unlikeable character driven by bald ambition. In recent episodes he suggested to a client that advertising to African-American (potential) costumers may be beneficial, only to be shot down by not only the client, but his higher ups.

In the pitch meeting, he pulled out copies of Ebony and Jet as well, and describes them as publications "for Negroes, by Negroes" in which ad space is available for much cheaper than in mainstream publications for "pennies on the dollar".

By George! Pete's on to something!

But, don't get too excited. This character is nothing if not persistent, but I wouldn't attribute that to any overwhelming progressiveness on his part. Peter Campbell would do ANYTHING to get ahead, including trying to blackmail his coworkers/boss.

Still, what a timely reference. If the writers allow this to progress, Pete has just moseyed into a gold mine. More than likely, it's another impotent attempt on his part to scratch at the rungs of the ladder of success.

Sometime, it's impossible not to feel bad for the guy. After all, he DID invent direct marketing:

"Direct Marketing. I thought of that. Turns out it already existed, but I arrived at it independently."

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