The ubiquity of PowerPoint has become unavoidable. You can’t attend a meeting without sitting through a “deck.” There are websites that preserve forever the presentations we’d rather forget. And now they actually teach it in grade school. No doubt my eight-year-old will soon be making his plea for a new video game using charts, graphs and images downloaded from the web.
It’s not that I have anything against PowerPoint. I just hate boring presentations. And sometimes I fear that the crutch of PowerPoint has made it too easy for the person holding the clicker to limp through his 40 or so slides instead of dazzling me with eloquence, dramatic pauses, or memorable story telling.
So in the spirit of bringing back more presentations we’ll actually remember, let’s revisit Don Draper’s pitch to Kodak. Yeah, he used slides. They just didn’t have pie charts. And he didn’t repeat the same thing we were already looking at.
(Note: Sterling Cooper is pitching Kodak. They have a new product, a slide projector with a “wheel” that sits on top. The wheel goes around in a circle dropping 35 millimeter slides in front of the bulb, which projects them on the screen. The assignment is to come up with an ad campaign to sell the “wheel.” )
Don Draper seals the deal — repositioning the “wheel” as a “carousel” — as he advances through slides of his family.
“Technology is a glittering lure, but there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job I was in-house at a fur company. There was this old pro copywriter, a Greek named Teddy. Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is “new.” It creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. But he also talked about a deeper bond to a product. Nostalgia. It’s delicate but potent.
Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means, ‘the pain from an old wound.
It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone.
This device isn’t a space ship, it’s a time machine.
It goes backwards and forwards.
And it takes us to a place where we ache to go again.
It’s not called ‘The Wheel.’ It’s called ‘The Carousel.
It lets us travel the way a child travels.
Around and around.
And back home again.
To a place where we know we are loved.”
And then Roger says to the client who’s on his way to the next agency,
“Good luck at your next meeting.”
Don’t you wish the next PowerPoint presentation you sit through is this good?