After seven seasons and 85 episodes, AMC's Mad Men is finally coming to an end and the first of the final seven episodes aired this week. We've seen the Sterling Cooper Draper gang go through highs and lows. Pitches, wins, client losses, scandals, takeovers, the arrival of the “supercomputer” and all the scepticism and paranoia that went with it ("That's the computer's plan: to turn us all homo!" - Michael Ginsberg).
It may be set decades ago, but it mirrors so much of what the industry still grapples with. Hopefully no real agencies have any stories of bloody nipples in gift boxes in response to the threatening rise of programmatic.
So when the final seven episodes draw to a close, what will we see happen to Don, Peggy and Roger? Is Don the silhouette falling to his death in the opening credits? Is it Pete who's finally gone over the edge? What will happen to Peggy and Pete's illegitimate child from way back in season one? Will Peggy finally get her own shop? Will Roger and Joan finally settle down together?
Anything could happen, but what do real ad men predict will happen to the Mad Men? We asked a few.
David Joubert, Executive creative director, GPY&R
Ok so Don is basically going to get caught out and his true identity will be revealed which will make him a much happier person as the lie he has been living will come to an end. He will retire somewhere warm and live out his days as a B grade film script writer, having sex with every wannabe actress that crosses his path. He will eventually die of an STD.
Roger is going to die and leave everything he has to Joan. Joan will buy a yacht and live in Majorca. Peggy becomes the boss and takes over the company. She becomes the first female millionaire in advertising. Writes many successful books and invents an early version of Facebook.
Grant Rutherford, national executive creative director at Publicis Mojo
As Mad Men nears its deafening crescendo (Mad-what? I hear some people ask) the fate of the beloved cast is made all the more exciting by a deal where AMC allows the characters to live on in new TV shows. This ensures a lifetime of downloads for generations to come or when a career in advertising is just a distant memory.
For Rutherford's full rundown of where the cast end up, read his full column: Grant Rutherford imagines what's next for Mad Men's ad men. There's Zombie comedy, meth addicted housewives and Celebrity Farmer wants a Survivor Bachelorette Wife. Now that's a show.
Micheal Rebelo, CEO Saatchi & Saatchi
I never really got into Mad Men, I think I watched a total of three episodes ... Breaking Bad was more my thing.
Adam Ferrier, global chief strategy officer, Cummins&Partners
In the final episode Dave Droga wakes up and it was all a dream.
Stuart Archibald, partner, Archibald/Williams
In the final scene of Episode 14 we cut to Don sitting at a bar dressed in a lilac polyester shirt with butterfly collar and bell bottoms. Free’s ‘Alright now’ is playing. He has sold his agency to McCann-Erickson and reflects as he orders a Tequila Sunrise (the drink of choice, 1970). A new apartment, wardrobe, watches and cars have until now kept his creative mind occupied. But wait! What about the other “trappings" that come with reaching this destination? Don now has a boss… ten of them, in fact. Some needing a shave, some wearing shiny cheap suits and all telling him how to run his business. Long lunches have given way to all day meetings. Staff away days to Miami have been replaced with ’training consultants’. They don’t want to know about his clients. They want to chat P & L’s, overheads, how much Don will be contributing to the new-fangled accounting system and whether he'll be joining the goons at the annual "team-building" session in Nebraska. As he orders another drink his future snaps into perfect focus; it's…an open window.
Bram Williams, partner, Archibald/Williams
Mate, have you used this opportunity to offer up yet another of your infamous life premonitions
Pat Baron, executive creative director, McCann Melbourne
Mad Men isn't so much about advertising as it is about how society has changed. I think looking at advertising is a great way to look at how we've changed, and how our values have changed. What I’ve enjoyed about the show is watching how the characters have grown, quite painfully I think for the female characters, as they've had to fight for equality. And then you've seen that reflected in the advertising. The single thing I have taken from the show is that so much has changed but you can still see some of that behaviour today. I think a lot of women and a lot of people would look at the show and say that still goes on. And that is uncomfortable.
I just wonder if any of them will ever leave that office. I see the show closing and they're stuck in that office forever: they're entombed forever and they're still there now. It's almost purgatory and I think that would be a beautiful ending for these guys. It's poetic justice. But I don't want anything mean to happen to Peggy: she's the character I’d like most to see win.
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