If you know me at all, you know I am a huge fan of Mad Men. Last night’s episode included the shocking departure of one of the more loved characters, Lane Pryce. Now, if you didn’t see last night’s episode, then please stop reading right now!
Good. Okay, for the rest of us … Oh. My. God. Was that not the best episode ever?!
As you know, these past two episodes have involved the auto brand Jaguar who had to come face to face with the not-always flattering portrayal of their executives and cars on the show.
On May 28th’s episode, after many of the guys at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce mocked Jags as lemons that never start, a sleazy Jaguar executive demanded sexual favors from the voluptuous Joan before signing with the agency. Joan finagled a partnership out of the tryst and the client win was beautifully paralleled with the agency’s campaign which portrayed the car much like a mistress, using the tag line: “At last, something beautiful you can truly own.”
Fortunately, the real-life execs at Jaguar took the prostitution portion of the show in stride, Tweeting: “Loved the pitch, didn’t love the process. We applaud Peggy leaving SCDP.” (The latter comment was in response to the character Peggy Olsen finally leaving the agency to strike out on her own with the competition.)
Well, last night’s episode upped the Jaguar ante as the financially troubled Lane Pryce’s embezzlement scheme was outed. Although Don magnanimously offered to keep the thievery quiet and let him resign with dignity, Lane had different plans, which began with an attempted suicide by C02 in the beautiful Jaguar his wife just purchased.
Oh the irony! Lane is the one who brought the auto brand to the agency and here is about to off himself in the very car that will save SCDP!
But, the writers had one more jab at Jag: the car wouldn’t start.
Lane, of course, ended up doing the deed in the office with a rope in what was one of the most dramatic and shocking reveals of the entire series.
Kudos to Jaguar for having a sense of humor, humility and fun with their portrayal in the show!
As David Pryor, VP of Marketing and Stuart Schorr, VP of Communications for Jaguar North America wrote in a guest post for Jalopnik about their brand’s interaction with SCDP, they vacillated between being elated by how sexy and cool the Jags looked in the show, “Perversely proud when Don Draper says a man getting out of a Jaguar needs a cold shower…The Jaguar XKE is pornographic” … and the potshots repeatedly being taken at the car’s lemonness, “We try to pretend didn’t hear shots taken at Jaguar’s reliability in the 1960s.”
And, as the sleazy prostitution request came into play, “For the first time, we go into a Mad Men episode with a Jaguar storyline, prepared for action. Our team of Tweeters is on call to discuss how to react. Excitement quickly turns to revulsion when Jaguar dealer has his own sordid extra-curricular interests for the account-hungry agency to entertain. Prostitution? Cleopatra? Ugg…”
As you might imagine, Jaguar did not pay for this product placement and the marketing team received a combination of applause and indignation from colleagues, “Everyone wants to know did we know what was going to happen (no), did we pay for placement (no). Others are indignant. “This is awful, What are you going to do about how Jaguar executive was portrayed?” This is going to be complicated. But our job is to promote the desirability of our cars, not the morality of our fictional executives.”
And, then, of course, last night’s episode brought things to a head with Lane’s untimely suicide: Going into second to last episode of season, we’re truly ready for ANYTHING to happen. As soon as we see the tailpipe with cloth in it, we know this is going to be bad. “It won’t START. The car won’t start!” We have never been so happy to see our car not start. How weird is this? Maybe he doesn’t know how to use the choke? We’re sad about the character’s death as it was Lane who first brought Jaguar to SCDP. Mantra for the day: “It’s a TV SHOW People!” We’re waiting for season finale with excitement and trepidation. This is must watch TV, for us at least.
Once again, I congratulate Jaguar for having a sense of humor about the brand’s portrayal. And, for the record, Jags are my absolute most favorite car on the planet because one does, indeed, need a cold shower after driving it.