By Michelle Graff
Michelle-blogWith this wildly popular, and fantastically written, show drawing to a close (and with very few people likely to read this blog since it’s the Friday before a long weekend), I thought it’d be fun to talk about a few of business lessons I’ve gleaned from the episodes I’ve watched so far.

The millennials aren’t the first generation with a “you-don’t-know-how-to-advertise-to-us” attitude. This topic came up at least once during the show’s run. I connect it with the character Michael Ginsberg, a young copywriter in his 20s who first appeared on the show in the fifth season. I believe he said something to the effect of “advertising doesn’t work on us” about his generation to his older boss, Don Draper.

I know from hearing from jewelers that it’s tough to reach millennials today but it’s always important to keep perspective. This isn’t the first generation that feels like they don’t know how to reach younger people and also not the first to have to embrace new technology.

During the run of Mad Men, Harry Crane recognizes the advertising power of what was at that time still a fairly fresh medium and makes himself head of a new department for the agency—the television department. The employees of the agency must learn the best way to reach people through something that is not a billboard, radio or print ad.

Sticking it out with a company can be rewarding, even when times get tough. One aspect of Mad Men that I really enjoyed was watching the dedication the primary characters—Don, Peggy, Pete, Roger and Joan—have for the agency, through good times and lean, and various sales and mergers.

I was with National Jeweler when we had a magazine and a full staff and were owned by Nielsen. We got moved around on so many different floors on 770 Broadway that I lost count. We lost our magazine. We got moved downtown. Then Nielsen didn’t want us anymore and there was “Emerald Expositions.” Now we’re owned by Jewelers of America and there’s a digital magazine.

You just have to keep your head down and make it about the work.

Things always have changed and they always will. It was true at a Madison Avenue advertising agency in the 1960s and it’s true for businesses today.

Don’t allow smoking in the office. Also not advisable: smoking and/or drinking while pregnant, smoking in the presence of a newborn, smoking in the doctor’s office,  smoking in the movie theater, smoking in your closet while getting dressed, smoking at the dinner table, smoking in bed (especially after drinking) and smoking at church during an Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday.

OK, so I lied. These aren’t all lessons from Mad Men. This last one marks another TV milestone that happened in the past week, the retirement of longtime late-night talk show host David Letterman.

The funny man hosted his final show Wednesday night. In an interview that ran in The New York Times the day before, Jerry Seinfeld shared a bit of advice Letterman gave to him back in 1988, when Seinfeld had just signed on to do a new sitcom on NBC.

According to the Times story, Letterman told the up-and-coming comic, “Just make sure if you fail, you did what you wanted to do.”

Seinfeld did. He did a show about nothing, and had a bit of success with it too.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone. See you in Vegas!

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.