In Sunday’s Mad Men episode, within the industry banter of old colleagues Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove emerged a vicious reference to McCann Erickson, the firm that, last season, bought out Sterling Cooper (and was the impetus for the creation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce). Said Cosgrove of McCann: “It’s the worst agency I’ve ever seen. The worst. My mother was a nurse at the state hospital [ … ] and that was the last time I saw so many retarded people in one building.” It was a surprising blow to the real-life firm that, in the wake of its pivotal role on the AMC show, replaced their company homepage with a cheeky video compilation of the times its name was referenced onscreen; it also had taken out ads in trade publications Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek with the tagline, “Welcome, Sterling Cooper.” So what has McCann got to say about the surprising slight?
We contacted the firm, which — like the good ad men they are — sent over some options for comebacks:
• “The Mad Men premiere garnered 2.9 million viewers while the Jersey Shore premiere garnered 5.2 million viewers. Clearly, the ‘retards’ are the winning team.”
• “It is not appropriate to make fun of people with disabilities. You know, like TV writers.”
• “We watch Mad Men for the commercials. We skip through the actual show.”
All were provided by George Dewey, executive creative director of McCann NY.
AMC didn’t have a response as to why the show turned on the agency, nor did they want to comment on McCann’s reply.