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In Mad Men's season one finale, set weeks after Kennedy's election, Don is pitching Kodak with a campaign for their new slide projector, the "Wheel." He says:
Technology is a glittering lure, but there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash. If they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job I was in-house at a fur company. This old pro copy writer, a Greek named Teddy. And Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is "new." It creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. But he also talked about a deeper bond to a product. Nostalgia. It's delicate but potent. Sweetheart?
[An assistant switches off the lights in the conference room.]
Teddy told me that in Greek, "nostalgia" literally means "the pain from an old wound." It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship-it's a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards... it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called the wheel-it's called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels: around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.
During the second part of the pitch, Don flips through a slide show of him, Betty and the kids, at picnics and parties, grinning miles wide for the camera. The slides, with their iconic 50s casual and formal wear, are photographic evidence of a recent but definitely closed chapter of the American past—just like this show.
Watching a slideshow of his own homelife, Don forgets what he's just told the Kodak people: that nostalgia can be a bond to a product, that a good ad lies and says that this new product can finally salve that itch. (Don remembers all this after the meeting, when he returns to an empty house.) Good ads, ones appealing to the scrapbook editor in all of us, can even convince the man who once bragged, "What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons." Watching the Carousel scene now, with some knowledge of the intervening years, makes the itch even more painful, the pitch more falsely promising.