As Mad Men’s fifth season launches, we are again faced with the ongoing advertising exploits and antics of Mr. Don Draper, the “ad king.”  From the program’s inception, I found much embedded in the ad king’s name.

The advertising industry is often criticized and mocked.  That does not negate its complex efficacy.  Perhaps the average person sees the advertising industry as an attempt to dress up products and services in such a way they become enticing to the consumer.

Could we not say then, as an advertising executive, Don Draper is one who drapes products and services to appeal to consumers?  That draping can also imply concealing.  Many consumers claim they were deceived by advertising at one time or another.  And how many advertisements turned out to be false?

I find it an amusing and ironic play on words that in even using the name, “Don Draper,” the lead character had actually stolen that identity from a fellow soldier killed in action.  Upon his return to the United States, he assumed that name to cover up his past.

Finally, think about Don Draper’s morality.  As the series progressed and I observed Draper’s rampant infidelity, and the general manner in which he used and abused women, I thought of another aspect of his name.  I believe his name has been misspelled due to a slight punctuation error.  Indeed, I contend his correct name is Don D. Raper.

Your word is your bond.  Or is it?  It depends on who you are.  For a person of integrity, your word is your bond.  Your word means something because your name means something.

Tragically, for Don Draper, his word is not always his bond.  His name exposes him.  In observing Don Draper’s behaviors, I’m afraid he painfully lives up to his name in more ways than one.  In Don Draper, we find another all-too-common example of a person living his life without integrity.

My challenge, personally and professionally, to you and to me, is that we would live our lives anchored to a moral compass.  Our words must count for something because our name does.

What’s in a name?  You cannot decide for anyone else, but you can decide for you.  I can decide for me.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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