I was a day late to the Mad Men finale. Truth be told, I had to watch it without commercials. As my friend Daniel Stein once said, “advertising interrupts a good story with a less interesting story.” In fast forward mode I did catch a glimpse of Adobe’s Photoshop ad, which debuted on the Oscars, and for a moment I considered watching it on the big screen, but I really didn’t want to delay the climax of the better story.
Well my take is simple. While the pundits, none of whom ever worked in advertising or felt the powerful tug of a creative challenge, found it bleak (Time), underwhelming (NPR), disturbing (New York Times), or even a native ad for Coke, who of course didn’t pay for the for the use of their commercial, I found it brilliant.
Somehow Matthew Weiner actually understands the motives that drive creative people. The need to create. They can’t stop. They can doubt themselves. They can try to escape. They can question the value and purpose of what they do, but the never ending urge to make something creative that solves a problem never goes away. And when a good idea comes? You have to see it through.
Remember the phone call to Peggy? “Don’t you want to work on Coke?” That’s all it took. A gentle reminder that a problem, challenge, opportunity awaited. And for a creative, that’s all it takes to get the mind going.
Of course Don caught the next flight back to New York, rejoined McCann, and sold the spot. That’s what he does. That’s what we all do.