Last Sunday’s ‘Mad Men‘ episode ended at the onset of 1965 with office manager Joan Holloway opening up a meeting of upper management early in the New Year with the words: “Gentlemen, shall we begin 1965?”
In this Sunday’s all-new episode of the AMC series about the Madison Avenue ad biz in the 1960s (10 p.m./9c), the arrival of 1965 appears to usher in a raft of new rules governing the advertising of cigarettes, as this preview clip for the episode demonstrates.
In the clip, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) are seen on a conference call with their biggest client, Lucky Strike (the one responsible for three-quarters of the agency’s billings), discussing the ways they plan to comply with new regulations, while also circumventing them whenever legally possible.
The two-and-a-half minute clip doesn’t reveal much about the episode, except that we do see that Don is increasingly distracted and unable to concentrate. He can’t even stay focused on the conference call, putting down the phone in mid-conversation to pour himself a drink (but complaining irritably when he finds the bottle of whiskey or scotch is empty). And when he gives the thumbs-up to a Pond’s Cold Cream campaign devised by Peggy Olson, it’s clear he never even bothered to review it. And what’s the meaning of the photograph he receives by mail from his other “family” in California? To them, he’s “Dick Whitman,” but this letter has come into his ad agency office where he’s “Don Draper.” As George Constanza once complained on ‘Seinfeld‘: Worlds are colliding!
In the real world of advertising in 1965, the new year ushered in the era of the “Surgeon General’s warning” on packs of cigarettes, the result of the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, passed in 1964 following the release earlier that year, in January, of the U.S. surgeon general’s landmark report on smoking and health. The “health warning” labels were required starting on Jan. 1, 1965.
If this preview clip indicates anything, it’s that the action on ‘Mad Men’ might now be shifting back to the ad agency, with staffers and executives returning to work now that the holidays which dominated the last three episodes are over and the new year has begun.