What if Don Draper was a PR pro?

The latest TV drama my wife and I are engrossed in? Mad Men. I know, I know, where have you been, Arik? We’re a little slow to the pop culture scene, at times.

But, we’re hooked now (currently just starting season 5).

Don Draper

Mad Men is a great show. I love the period references, clothing and language. But, what I enjoy most is the insider-baseball advertising/agency references.

The new business conundrums. The inner-office politics. The ineptitude of the partners (at times). The dynamics of an agency meeting. Love it all.

But, most of all: Don Draper. One of the most iconic TV characters of the last 10-plus years. Much has been written about Don Draper (heck, “Dear Abby”-like Tumblr blogs are devoted to him), but one thing continues to linger in my mind as I watch the show: What if Don Draper were transported 50-some years in the future and worked in the PR industry instead?

Well, I actually gave that some thought (yes, I do think about these things). Here’s a list of 15 ways Don Draper would be different if he were working in PR in 2013:


Ad man Don Draper drink of choice: Canadian Club, straight up.

PR man Don Draper drink of choice: Coffee (that’s an easy one).


Ad man Don Draper communication technology: Black office rotary desk phone

PR man Don Draper communication technology: Apple iPhone 5 (with Don’s sense of style, there’s no doubt he’d be an Apple guy–question is, would he use this case?)


Ad man Don Draper tagline: “I want 10 taglines for that ad by 5 p.m.”

PR man Don Draper tagline: “I want 10 ideas for that status update on the client’s Facebook page by 5 p.m.”


Ad man Don Draper afternoon pick-me-up: Afternoon siestas on what appears to be the most uncomfortable couch ever in his office.

PR man Don Draper afternoon pick-me-up: Starbucks iced coffee.


Ad man Don Draper exercise of choice: Swimming in the New York Athletic Club pool.

PR man Don Draper exercise of choice: Yoga.


Ad man Don Draper vehicle of choice: Ford Thunderbird

PR man Don Draper vehicle of choice: BMW 5 series


Ad man Don Draper agency location: New York City (the epicenter of the ad world)

PR man Don Draper agency location: San Francisco (close to Silicon Valley, and many tech and Fortune 500 companies and a wealth of creative talent)


Ad man Don Draper agency partners: An over-the-hill veteran, a raging alcoholic, and a over-organized Brit.

PR man Don Draper agency partners: Nobody. Don is definitely the kind of guy who runs his own firm–his way (and to be honest, I find it hard to believe he would put up with the partners he has for more than 10 minutes).


Ad man Don Draper holiday party: Held in the office, oodles of alcohol, key clients invited with the party going late into the night.

PR man Don Draper holiday party: What holiday party?


Ad man Don Draper management style: Strict, top-down and domineering style

PR man Don Draper management style: Open, empowering and collaborative (OK, this might be a little wishful, but still…)


Ad man Don Draper agency marketing tactic: Writing an op-ed letter to the New York Times declaring his agency is forever done with tobacco companies as clients.

PR man Don Draper agency marketing tactic: Creating a ‘viral video’ (Don’s fatal flaw–thinking he knows it all; it shows up big time here)


Ad man Don Draper office crisis: One of Don’s many girlfriends showing up in the office at the same time as his wife.

PR man Don Draper office crisis: Photos of Don’s “escapades” with one of his many girlfriends surfacing on Facebook.


Ad man Don Draper book to read: Olgilvy on Advertising, by David Olgilvy.

PR man Don Draper book to read: Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg (just kidding)


Ad man Don Draper client approach: Sell, sell, sell.

PR man Don Draper client approach. Listen, listen, listen.


Ad man Don Draper fashion statement: Skinny tie and the Fedora hat (tie)

PR man Don Draper fashion statement: Allen Edmunds shoes, Brooks Brothers suit (as much as I want Don to be a jeans and jacket guy, he’s just not…)


OK, what did I miss? Add your ideas in the comments below.

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10 comments on “What if Don Draper was a PR pro?

  1. NancyCawleyJean says:

    LOVE this post. My hubby and I are way behind too, having finished season 1. But I’m dying to catch up! And just from the first season, I’d say your take on Don Draper PR man of 2013 is right on. Loved this fun post, Arik!

  2. JenKaneCo says:

    Not sure I’m buying the yoga thing. That seems a little too “getting in touch with your feelings and finding harmonious balance in your life” for Don.
    I’d go with targeted kettlebell workout with a personal trainer — get in, get out, get ripped, then get drunk. Nice and tidy.

  3. jackharris000777 says:

    Looking forward to meeting you too. Maybe you can share a few examples about the “Don Drapers” you’ve worked with.
    <a href=http://www.evolutionwriters.com>EvolutionWriters</a>

  4. jamesparker000777 says:

    Looking forward to meeting you too. Maybe you can share a few examples about the “Don Drapers” you’ve worked with. To see more info please visit http://essayswriters.org/academic-writing/

  5. Nice post …

  6. pr pro is good.