Ending of ‘Mad Men’ was so good for Coke, one might wonder…
…did the ending of Mad Men come as a result of a sponsorship? The answer is no. Now, let’s go ahead and give the obligatory spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen the final episode of the series, check out this amazing comparison between the Ram Rebel and the Ford Raptor.
Now, back to Mad Men. The finale was pretty unexpected in that it was everything that everyone expected. It had Don/Dick learning a lesson, reaching into his past, doing something we had never seen him do before in the form of testing a muscle car in the desert, and sleeping with another random girl, this time for money. It had Joan being strong, Peggy being smart, Betty preparing to die, Sally preparing to take over when Betty dies, and Roger being quirky. For some reason, we didn’t expect the unexpected, so the expected itself turned out to be unexpected.
Now for the surprises. Joan found the perfect man and situation that she described in the very first episode and decided to pass. In a way, it wasn’t really a surprise. Those who saw her hold her own in a man’s world knew that she couldn’t resist making it a woman’s world when the opportunity popped up. Peggy fell in love, or at least admitted that she was in love and oddly vulnerable. Pete got everything he wanted, something that few would have anticipated based upon his sleazy beginnings as an antagonist.
The biggest surprise (or perhaps anti-surprise) is that Don didn’t fall/jump to his death. It’s finally clear that the opening credits that kept us wondering for 92 episodes was a metaphor of his life.
Back to the original question: did Coke sponsor the show? Of course they didn’t, but they couldn’t have paid for this type of advertising. Those in my generation are reminiscing about the first time they saw the commercial if we can remember that far back. Those too young to know of it are researching to see if it was real (it was) and how it came about. Either way, Coke wins. Didn’t you want a glass bottle of old school Coca Cola after seeing it?
The implication is that Don found his inner peace, then took it back to the agency and came up with his tour de force of advertising mastery. It was the right ending for the show for those of us who have grown to love/hate Don Draper and everything he represents. Weak yet resilient, ignorant yet inspired, cursed and blessed. Well done, AMC. I’m going to have a Coke now.
Here’s the Coke ad: