What if Don Draper were a PR pro?

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The latest TV drama my wife and I are engrossed in? “Mad Men.” I know, I
know, where have you been, Arik? We’re a little slow to the pop culture
scene, at times.

We’re hooked now, and just starting season 5.

“Mad Men” is a great show. I love the period references, clothing, and
language. I especially enjoy the insider-baseball advertising/agency
innuendo: The new business conundrums. The inner-office politics. The
ineptitude of the partners at times. The dynamics of an agency meeting. I
love it all.

Most of all: Don Draper, one of the most iconic TV characters of the
last decade or more. Much has been written about the character (heck, “Dear Abby”-like Tumblr blogs
are devoted to him), but one thing lingers in my mind as I watch the
show: What if Don Draper were transported 50-some years into the future
and worked in the PR industry instead?

Well, I gave that some thought. (Yes, I do think about such things.)
Here’s a list of 15 ways Don Draper might be different if he were
working in public relations in 2013:

Ad man Don Draper’s drink of choice: Canadian Club, straight up.
PR man Don Draper’s drink of choice: Coffee. That’s an easy one.

Ad man Don Draper’s communication technology: A black, rotary desk phone
PR man Don Draper’s communication technology: An Apple iPhone 5. With
Don’s sense of style, there’s no doubt he’d be an Apple guy–question is,
would he use this case?

Ad man Don Draper’s command to subordinates: “I want 10 taglines for that ad by 5 p.m.”
PR man Don Draper’s command to subordinates: “I want 10 ideas for that status update on the client’s Facebook page by 5 p.m.”

Ad man Don Draper’s afternoon pick-me-up: Siestas in his office on what appears to be the most uncomfortable couch ever.
PR man Don Draper’s afternoon pick-me-up: Starbucks iced coffee.

Ad man Don Draper’s exercise of choice: Swimming in the New York Athletic Club pool.
PR man Don Draper’s exercise of choice: Yoga.

Ad man Don Draper’s vehicle of choice: A Ford Thunderbird.
PR man Don Draper’s vehicle of choice: A BMW 5 series.

Ad man Don Draper’s agency location: New York City, the epicenter of the ad world.
PR man Don Draper’s agency location: San Francisco. It’s close to
Silicon Valley, many tech, and Fortune 500 companies, as well as a
wealth of creative talent.

Ad man Don Draper’s agency partners: A: An over-the-hill veteran, a raging alcoholic, and an overly organized Brit.
PR man Don Draper’s agency partners: Nobody. Don is definitely the kind
of guy who runs his own firm, his way, and, to be honest, I find it hard
to believe he would put up with the partners he has for more than 10
minutes.

Ad man Don Draper’s holiday party: Held in the office with oodles of
alcohol and key clients invited. The party goes late into the night.
PR man Don Draper’s holiday party: What holiday party?

Ad man Don Draper’s management style
: Strict, top-down, and domineering.
PR man Don Draper’s management style: Open, empowering, and collaborative. OK, this might be a little wishful, but still.

Ad man Don Draper’s agency marketing tactic: Writing an op-ed letter to The New York Times declaring his agency is forever done with tobacco companies as clients.
PR man Don Draper’s agency marketing tactic: Creating a “viral video.”
Don’s fatal flaw is thinking he knows it all. It shows up big time here.

Ad man Don Draper’s office crisis: One of Don’s many girlfriends showing up in the office at the same time as his wife.
PR man Don Draper’s office crisis: Photos of Don’s “escapades” with one of his many girlfriends surfacing on Facebook.

Ad man Don Draper’s book to read: “Ogilvy on Advertising,” by David Ogilvy.
PR man Don Draper’s book to read: “Lean In,” by Sheryl Sandberg (Just kidding.)

Ad man Don Draper’s client approach: Sell, sell, sell.
PR man Don Draper’s client approach. Listen, listen, listen.

Ad man Don Draper’s fashion statement: A skinny tie and a fedora.
PR man Don Draper’s fashion statement: Allen Edmunds shoes and a Brooks
Brothers suit. As much as I want Don to be a jeans-and-jacket guy, he’s
just not.

Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications in Minneapolis. He blogs at Communications Conversations, where a version of this article originally appeared.

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