It’s Not a Carousel, It’s a Bikini

I’m not sure which is tougher: to go two weeks in advertising without hearing a reference to Don Draper’s famous “Carousel” pitch, or to play a round of golf without a Caddyshackism.

So it was natural, Sunday night, to get excited when Don began his pitch to Jantzen swimwear, a “family company” that didn’t want its two-piece bathing suits to get dragged into the social gutter with, gasp, bikinis.

I even stopped the DVR and rubbed my palms, waiting for the music to rise. But Draper delivered a clinker instead—a hack-looking print ad of a bathing-suit-clad model with her top obscured by the oafish headline, “So well built, we can’t show you the second floor.”

Mad-o-philes jumped to the conclusion that Don was prodding the prudish Jantzen execs to accept the reality of changing 1960’s morality. But the ad was way too sophomoric for that.

I believe Draper was deliberately mocking Jantzen’s inability to answer the tough question he posed at their exploratory meeting:

“Do you want women who want bikinis to buy your two-piece, or do you just want to make sure women who want a two-piece don’t suddenly buy a bikini?”

Everyone’s favorite “Mad Man” may have started Season 4 on the wrong foot. (Literally, if you saw the show.) But he got two things right: Great clients aren’t afraid to make tough marketing decisions; and you can only do great creative work for great clients.

Don’s profile in The Wall Street Journal may be the bait he needs to land more great clients for Sterling Cooper Draper Price.