Don Draper, Off His Game

“Dish soap works because people are obsessed with one thing: cleanliness. And you know what part of the body people want most to be clean? It’s the mouth. Imagine a pretty young woman in a polka-dot dress walking by the sink, picking up the bottle of dish soap, and swigging it. She gags, then doubles over, and then a single soap bubble appears at her lips, and she smiles. She’s the only one in the world who knows that the bubble is a result of cleanliness, rather than sickness. And that makes her–and, more important for you, gentlemen, your soap–special.”

“Now, look: there are very few people in the world who would argue that this so-called fast food that’s cropping up everywhere will actually affect the American family restaurant. Are people going to choose a quick-fix meal on the go over the diners they have come to love and trust? I don’t think so. Still, if you’re worried about the future of your family-dining establishments in light of this new threat, this should do it: We show a line of people waiting to eat at one of these fast-food places. They’re attractive people, but after they eat, they’ll get less attractive. No, we don’t show their future unattractiveness. We imply it. People will just know that they’ll get less attractive after they eat the fast food. Also, because it’s fast food, they’re rushed, and they haven’t had time to get completely dressed. The women haven’t buttoned up their shirts. No, no, that doesn’t make them look sexy. It makes them look lazy. So it’s a line of so-lazy-they-have-unbuttoned-shirts,  attractive-but-about-to-be-unattractive people waiting to eat this fast food. I know the effect that will have. If you don’t see it also, more’s the pity, gentlemen.”

“Every bank wants your trust. They use images of men in suits and ties, sitting behind big solid desks, their hair Brylcreemed, their expression stern but friendly. I think that your bank has to go in the other direction. What about an old man, crouched over a barrel of burning trash, warming his hands? And the slogan can be ‘Banking on Anything is a Mistake. But You Can Bank on Everything With Us.’ No, we don’t have to mention the bank’s name. Let’s let them figure it out. People like a mystery.”
“Celebrities don’t always work but when they do, it’s magic. I have four words for you: Barry Goldwater shower caddies.”
“Don’t look at me. Look at the chalkboard. I have written a simple phrase on it. ‘In vino veritas.’ You know what that means? ‘In wine, there is truth.’ So let’s not go in for this idea that wine is a social lubricant, or a badge of sophistication. Let’s show what really happens when people drink. A man on his back, shirt ripped, one shoe off,. Maybe in the next room, a wife crying and a child neglected. People buy products because of the effects they have, not the effects they don’t have. Oh, also, let’s add a puddle of something vile next to the man’s face. I’ll need a charcoal sketch by three.”

“Can we sell Vietnam? Sure we can. Vietnam is about America’s ideals, and America is about growth, so I’m thinking a meadow of long grass. We’re a country with a background of optimism, so we need a helicopter in the distance to represent the way that our ideals lift us. And we’re all about encouraging togetherness and community, so let’s have a bunch of villagers in the foreground and American soldiers poking guns into their backs. You know, for encouragement.”
Ben Greenman is an editor at the New Yorker and the author of several acclaimed books of fiction, including the new “What He’s Poised To Do.”