Don Draper has had his ups and downs throughout the seven seasons of Mad Men, but the one constant has always been that Don knows how to pitch.
Viewers got a taste of Don’s pitchman abilities in 2007 on the very first episode of the show, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Don (Jon Hamm) is faced with perhaps the biggest challenge of all: cigarettes are dangerous and he needs to sell them. With the agency’s biggest client, Lucky Strike, concerned about new studies linking cigarettes to cancer, he makes a last-ditch pitch.
“If you can’t make those health claims, neither can your competitors,” he says. “This is the greatest advertising opportunity since the invention of cereal. We have six identical companies making six identical products. We can say anything we want.”
After learning that Lucky Strike “toasts” the tobacco in their cigarettes, Don suggests they create an ad campaign around that.
“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams the reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay.” The best advertising pitchman on television was born.
The series finale airs on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.