Manischewitz and Mad Men: A Reader Chat about the AMC Show and Kosher Wine

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
May 15 2012 11:30 AM

How To Pitch Manischewitz

John Swansburg chats with readers about Mad Men and kosher wine.

(Continued from Page 1)

Allen Strickland Williams: I don't think Don was maliciously trying to screw over the young talent. I don't think Don is really all that envious of Ginsberg's skills. After all, he has most of them. But he no longer has them at his fingertips. He's rusty. He was compelled to stay in over the weekend because he realized how little work he's done recently, and he forgot how much he genuinely enjoys it. He left the pitch in the cab not to kick Ginsberg in the dirt for no reason, but to get in the dirt himself.

John Swansburg: That's a very interesting interpretation. I can see Don thinking to himself: "I want to see if my idea carries the day" (as opposed to "I want to put that comer Ginsberg in his place").

Marc Naimark: Don has always had to paddle hard to keep up with his life. As long as he had a secret to hide, he was constantly observing, inventing, and remaining dynamic and fast on his feet. Now that he's got job security and no secrets from his wife and most of his partners (Pete, Cooper, anyone else?), he's lost his edge. Maybe it was poor Dick who had it, not Don.

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Latrice Davis: Interesting that you see Ginsberg as a younger version of Don, given that no one seems to like him. I sense that while Ginsberg has some talent, he's not as good as he thinks he is.

John Swansburg: Ginsberg is raw talent. Very raw! He clearly has a knack for coming up with clever campaigns. But can he sell the way Draper sells? That's always been part of the Draper mystique: He's good at ideas, and he's good at romancing the client. Ginsberg thinks his ideas are genius, and gets very irritated when that isn't recognized right away.

Latrice Davis: Ginsberg also has a tendency to shoot himself in the foot, as was the case when Don nearly fired him a few weeks ago. Yes, he has raw talent—with arrogance to spare!

Marc Naimark: Let's compare Ginsberg waltzing into SCDP with his fabulous portfolio and younger Don meeting Roger at the fur shop. Don has always had to work hard, and did it so well that he came to give off an aura of inevitability. But I disagree about Ginsberg not having Don's ability to sell: the Cinderella rape pitch was very effective.

Holly Allen: When Don was flipping through his portfolio pages seeing nothing but Ginsberg's name on the bottom, I was worried for Peggy. It never even crossed my mind to be worried for Ginsberg.

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June Thomas: I loved that crab rangoon line. To me it was an indication of Roger's intelligence, which usually comes out in his jokes. He starts off with the cheesy lines about the Jewish community and beautiful Jewish women, but when Jane flirts with Bernie, he brings up her love of trayf. A burn and a laugh line in one fell swoop.

John Swansburg: I do love a trayf-based burn! Did you also think it was odd how strong Bernie was coming on though? Who would moon like that at a client dinner, even if you're the client?

Marc Naimark: I don't think the crab rangoon was such a dig. A small one, but these are assimilated Jews (the boat), eating in a nonkosher restaurant.

John Swansburg: I thought it was interesting that Roger turned to Ginsberg for the Manischewitz pitch because he's Jewish. The idea he gets back isn't particularly Jewish, but it is perfectly pitched to a Jewish client who came over in steerage and wants to assimilate his product. The ad shows their wine appealing to the great melting pot that is the bus.

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Sheli Walker Saltsman: Sometimes I enjoy your recaps as much as the show. Here's your thank you.

John Swansburg: That's terrific to hear! Thanks for reading; it's so nice to hear folks enjoy them.

John Swansburg: OK guys, my "Shit I Gotta Do" folder is spilling over. Thanks as always for coming out to chat. Talk to you next week!

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