Mad Men & Media Sales

I am a huge fan of the TV show Mad Men. It’s been running for 7 seasons and the series finale just aired on May 17th. For me, the combination of finely drawn characters, complex relationships, and a look at the advertising environment of the 1960s was the perfect television cocktail (no pun intended).

One of the pervasive themes of Mad Men is the ability of advertising professionals to sell a product, any product, with just the right positioning. Early in the series run, Don Draper (the lead ad man character) is charged with saving the business of a top client, Lucky Strike tobacco, after some dire research is released on the dangers of smoking. Don realizes that he needs to “change the conversation”- in other words, associate Lucky Strike with something OTHER than a fatal disease. He finally comes up with a new tagline- “Lucky Strike. It’s toasted”. The Lucky Strike execs balk, saying all tobacco is toasted. It’s just part of the process of curing tobacco.

“No”, Don says, “all other tobacco causes cancer. YOURS is toasted”.

Now, we all know that cigarettes are one of the biggest health hazards we face, and I certainly don’t condone marketing tobacco! However, there are some great lessons on sales in this Mad Men plot:

  1. Always focus on the benefit: Don knew that Lucky Strike needed a unique benefit, in order to separate themselves from the doom and gloom surrounding their industry. Toasting was just a regular part of the production process, but in positioning it as a benefit specific to Lucky Strike, he created a new and attractive selling point to build a sales story around.
  2. As a sales professional, before you focus on your product (in the case of media sales, your print publication or e-newsletter, for example), you need to understand your customer. Don knew that smokers would be fearful of continuing with their habit, and he worked to develop a message that would allay their fears by highlighting a new aspect of the product. When selling advertising, it is paramount to ask questions and truly understand a potential advertisers successes, challenges and overall goals before positioning a product.

It always amazes me that there are sales lessons to be had everywhere we look! Network Media Partners will be presenting a session on advertising sales at the upcoming Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting. We hope you can join us to learn more about advertising sales best practices!

Leave a Comment May 19, 2015

Associations are leveraging sponsored content. Are you ready?

Last week AM&P gathered association professionals for its popular Lunch & Learn series in Washington D.C., where all eyes were on current trends related to sponsored content and native advertising. Network’s very own Carrie Hartin was one of the two co-presenters focused on the larger topic of sponsored content. She walked attendees through some ideas and considerations related to native advertising.

Here is a view into some of the popular conversations that emerged during the session:

  • What does sponsored content mean for your organization relative to your trusted relationship with members and readers?
  • Will sponsored content detract from what your organization is already providing?
  • Will sponsored content compete with or complement what your organization is already selling?

Are you struggling with these questions too? If so, you are not alone and there is some good news- read on!

Here are what a few attendees had to say via Twitter:



There are a number of ways that organizations can integrate sponsored content while still maintaining the trusted relationship with their readers and making it clear if it is sponsored content. By design, native advertising is meant to be less disruptive than traditional display advertising. When associations leverage sponsored content, the goal is for the sponsored content to provide timely, relevant, and valuable information to the audience. This practice aligns with the way businesses are developing content to build and maintain a relationship with a customer or prospect.

Carrie and her co-presenter, Mike Winkleman, President and Chief Creative Officer of Leverage Media will be presenting their popular session again in Chicago on March 31st as part of the AM&P series and there is still time to register.

Interested to learn how your association can build, market, and increase revenue through native advertising? Contact Carrie Hartin at

Leave a Comment March 30, 2015

Top Takeaways from our CreativeMorning Field Trip

A group of designers from the Network design team recently headed to the The Walters Art Museum for CreativeMornings, a breakfast lecture series for the creative community.

Mary Mashburn, a letterpress printer, instructor and graphic designer, talked about the move of the Globe Poster collection to MICA, where she is working to integrate the tools and methods of a previous generation of printers into today’s culture.

Globe Poster Printing Corporation began printing showcards for vaudeville acts, movie theaters and carnivals in 1929, and became known for its bright and iconic posters for R&B, soul and jazz performers. When Globe closed its doors in 2010, MICA acquired more than 75 percent of the Globe collection of letterpress wood type, printing cuts and images, sketches, mockups and original posters.

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Here’s what the designers had to say about the experience:

I loved how Mary Mashburn guided us through her talk with life lessons. She really interacted with the audience and made us feel like part of the Globe Posters history of moving to MICA as she told it. My favorite: “Lesson #1: Find good people and trust them.” If you can’t trust your people and believe in them, what’s the point?
–Jenni Sweitzer

One of the biggest things that stuck out in my mind from the CreativeMornings talk was the fact that Globe posters, back in the day, were the modern way to spread news about shows, fairs, circuses and events, up and down the East Coast. Mary Mashburn equated the Globe Posters to Twitter and Bandcamp – an interesting idea considering that now we have that information at our fingertips! What I also found interesting was the essence of the Baltimore creative community, and the history behind Globe which MICA is keeping alive. Their letterpress cut and type wood block collections are huge, amounting to 16 full truck loads, bringing a lot of opportunity to MICA students to re-purpose. Seeing how students interpret the Globe style and process alongside integrating contemporary methods will be really interesting!
–Laura Walter

I really liked when they talked about the fact that the brothers didn’t take themselves as “artists’, that they were just doing what they loved to do. And with that, how they are completely humble about what they accomplished. Pretty amazing how something that was the norm for them has become such an iconic way of design.
–Jeremy Haag

Having grown up near Washington DC during part of Globe poster’s heyday it was common to see telephone poles and street lights shouting the music scene’s latest happenings in their familiar dayglo colors. CreativeMorning’s discussion of Globe Poster gave me the opportunity to walk down memory lane, as well as learn something I didn’t know about the company.
–Stuart Greenwell

I loved seeing pictures of old posters and getting to touch—and smell the ink on—some of the wood type and illustration cuts as they were passed around. It’s always great to get out from in front of the computer and be inspired by other creatives.
—Heather Winkel

Sound interesting? Head over to CreativeMornings to watch a recording of the talk!


Leave a Comment March 26, 2015

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