Top 5 Most Influential Don Draper Quotes and How they Relate to Digital Marketing

If you’re in marketing or advertising, you’ve inevitably heard Mad Men references a time or five. Chances are, it’s been a quote by none other than [fictional character] Don Draper. He is the focal point of the series that is in its final season. After binge watching the first few seasons on Nexflix a couple years ago, I became hooked, not only the show, but his character. The writing is simply brilliant. It forces you to pay close attention to subtle nuances and symbolism of events.

In honor of the upcoming series finale, I felt it appropriate to pay tribute to a show that put Madison Ave. advertising from the 50s, 60s, and 70s into perspective. So sit back, pour yourself a rye, neat and enjoy the poetic verses of the one, Don Draper.

“They’re Toasted.”

The full sentence was: “Everybody else’s tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strikes’ … is toasted.” How is this important? If you watched season 1, episode 1, you’ll understand the significance of this one-liner. In Don’s first pitch that we see, he’s trying to come up with a new tag line for Sterling Cooper’s largest account, Lucky Strike cigarettes. Fumbling and appearing to have no ideas or confidence in a strategy, he falls silent. As the meeting is about to be adjourned and tabled for another time, Don says wait, and breaks out a piece of chalk to start writing ideas. In an effort to differentiate Lucky Strike from all the other cigarette companies, because they all were fighting the same battle in that cigarettes were said to kill people, he came up with that a key differentiating factor: Lucky Strike Cigarettes: They’re Toasted. They’re all actually toasted during the manufacturing process, but Lucky Strike would be the only ones to advertise them that way.

How does this relate to digital marketing? In a copy-cat world, it’s crucial that we find a way to differentiate ourselves, our company, or our clients we represent. Service offerings, products, processes, etc. can all be very similar (if not exact) but we have to find that key element that sets us apart and makes us unique.

“Make it simple, but significant.”

Skip ahead to season 4, episode 6. There’s not much to elaborate on with this one. Sometimes the most powerful statements come in the simplest of ways. Take Apple for instance. Everything about their brand appears to be so simple. Their website, their products, their advertising… it’s clean and powerful. But most of all, it’s significant.

How does this relate to digital marketing? Strength in message is rooted in brevity. If you complicate your message, your audience will have a difficult time understanding the value. Which in essence loses all significance. Keep your message simple and brief, but powerful.

“It’s not a wheel. It’s a carousel.”

Don's best pitch -- and how it relates to digital marketing.
Back tracking to season 1, episode 13, Don and the team get tasked with naming a new product from Kodak. Don gives a pitch that is literally so inspiring that Harry Krane leaves the room in tears. There’s more context as to why he left so emotionally but Don’s pitch was flawless in delivery. He describes the photo wheel as a carousel that spins round and round taking you on life’s journey. It really is a moving scene.

How does this relate to digital marketing? All it takes is a change in the way of thinking. I don’t want to call out millienials here, but I feel like our generation tends to lack critical thinking and problem solving. Myself included. I rely heavily on other people a lot at times and go to the Google well quite often for answers. As Don says, also in season 1, think deeply about something – then forget about it and an idea will come to you.

“What is happiness, it’s a moment before you need more happiness.”

Classic and timeless Don statement. We as humans are constantly seeking happiness and it comes in many different forms. You can be happy in a moment and then it goes away and you’re back to seeking more happiness again.

How does this relate to digital marketing? Isn’t it obvious? We as marketers are constantly running campaigns to try and make people happy. We write and promote content with the hopes of somebody reading or sharing it with others all with the purpose of satisfying a need – which in most cases is happiness. HubSpot refers to it as delightion. What is your strategy for delighting customers? Because everyone is constantly seeking that next best thing that will make them happy. Are you going to be there at the right time?

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

This might be my all time favorite. Keep this stowed away in the back of your mind whenever you are in the middle of a conversation that’s heading in a bad direction. You have the power to change the tone if you don’t like what’s being said. Words are the most powerful thing we as humans have. Once we learn how to effectively use them, we become dangerous.

How does this relate to digital marketing? One use case I can provide for this quote happened very frequently when I was in healthcare marketing. Patients, if they have a poor experience, can lash out at their doctor via online reputation sources. The best way to combat all the negativity was to simply change the conversation. Ultimately we wanted it to lead to peaceful resolution. But with our words, we had the ability to respond and make sure the doctor’s reputation was not tainted as a result.

Let’s change the conversation

Digital marketing is an interesting beast. There are so many components it can become very overwhelming. The beauty of digital marketing and advertising is the ability to track and prove ROI. If you want to continue the conversation, let’s talk. Or, if you’d like to change it and talk about something else, we’re open to that, as well. Click below to get in touch with us online today.

Contact us today for your digital marketing needs.