Don Draper is known for pitching well in times of need. But when SCDP is on the brink of destruction, and they call all the employees in to let them know Lucky Strike is gone, what does Don say? He says:
Now, we’ve had a pretty good year. We’ve gained more accounts than we’ve lost, a lot more, because our work is thoughtful, and effective. Even Lucky Strike said so. Which means that nothing should change. Nothing will change. We’re going to push ourselves, shoulder to shoulder, and we’re going to overcome this, and we’re going to succeed ten fold, and it will be exhilarating.
That’s it. And that’s a heck of a lot of bootstrapping going on there. Suck it up. Don’t complain. It’s Don under pressure. But he’s not delivering the usual Don Draper magic. The employees of SCDP need to be inspired, not intimidated. He orders them that it will be exhilarating. He doesn’t tell them how it will or can be.
Peggy admiringly describes the missing element in a subsequent scene:
“…Don always has these little examples at the end, to explain to the client how big the idea is. And they’re always kind of poetic.”
Don is at his best when he uses insight instead of force. He resorts to force when he’s at his lowest, when he doesn’t know what to do. Whether it’s with his marriage, his estranged brother, or at his job. It’s one step above packing his suitcase. This is a sign that he’s trying to hold on to his status quo so hard, he doesn’t see the error of his ways.
I think he should have said more. I don’t know what he should have said, but he needed to garner more than just the anxious, tepid air in that SCDP office. What do you think he should have, or could have said to rouse SCDP and give them the confidence they need to succeed?