What is the most important idea in advertising? As I’ve been reading about all the latest products being unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I was reminded of my all-time favorite scene from the TV Show Mad Men. In the episode titled “The Wheel,” Don Draper and his company is tasked with presenting a pitch for Kodak’s latest product, a projector which they have dubbed “The Wheel”. How Don Draper pitches the product (and its new name) is nothing short of incredible. Just watch:
Following is the text of Don Draper’s pitch for “The Carousel”:
Well, 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. This old pro copy writer. A Greek named Teddy. And 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 with the 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 spaceship. It’s a time machine. It goes backwards and forwards. 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. Round and around, and back home again. To a place where we know we are loved.
If you’ve never watched Mad Men and this clip doesn’t convince you to start watching it, nothing else will.