'Mad Men' creator muses on series and that Coca-Cola commercial

Reuters News
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Posted: May 20, 2015 11:54 PM

By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner offered insights in the creation of his acclaimed television drama about the dark side of advertising in the 1960s and explained the significance of the Coca-Cola ad that ended the series on Sunday.

In a talk with novelist A.M. Homes at the New York Public Library on Wednesday night, the writer and director of the Emmy award winning AMC drama said the final season was about an inward journey for the characters, particularly its star, Don Draper, played by actor Jon Hamm.

"The whole last season was the idea that the revolution failed and it is time to deal with what you can control, which is yourself, this turning inward," Weiner said.

"He (Draper) stripped it all away, that was the idea."

The final episode ends fittingly with a 1971 commercial, the multi-ethnic Coca-Cola ad "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke," after Draper, the troubled, hard-drinking, womanizing advertising executive, finds inner peace at a retreat in California.

"I like the idea that he would come to this place and it would be about other people and a moment of recognition," said Weiner.

But did Draper return to advertising as his colleague, Peggy Olson, played by Elisabeth Moss, pleaded for him to do and create the commercial?

Weiner thought the ad was an appropriate way to end the series and said he enjoyed the idea that some enlightened state, and not just co-option, might have created something that was very pure.

"To me, it's the best ad ever made, and it comes from a very good place," he explained. "The ambiguous relationship we have with advertising is why I did the show."

Weiner, 49, said he was grateful he had the opportunity to do the series about Draper's search for identity which also dealt with feminism, racism and equality during the turbulent era.

"I wanted it to feel like there was a vision and a point to the entire thing," he said.

Homes likened the series to a novel, saying it was epic in scale with so many varied stories and different lives and plots.

Weiner was flattered by the comparison and said he found television suited his purposes best.

"For me, series television, episode to episode, one season at a time and one story at a time, was a way to deal with everything that was on my mind," he added.

(Editing by Nick Macfie)