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Account Activity at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce


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#1

astrokng

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Posted Jul 30, 2010 @ 8:18 PM

I got to thinking about what accounts are at Sterling Cooper after rewatching The Wheel. It was such a compelling pitch that left the men from EK speechless. Yet it appears that SC didn't win the account. The main account we know about is Lucky Strike. We know they had Utz. And we've seen pitches about Western Union and others.

I'd like a thread that helps us to track the comings and goings of campaigns that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce are involved in. What happened to some of those great campaigns that were part of seasons 1-3. Did they just flame out? And what might we see in the future of campaigns that we know are at the agency?

What about upcoming campaigns?

Should be interesting to track what happened and upcoming account activity.

Thanks

#2

astrokng

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Posted Aug 1, 2010 @ 9:35 PM

What's interesting is that there have been 115 views and no one has bothered to comment on the advertising campaigns presented at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

I thought there would be people interested in commenting on the campaigns being presented in Mad Men.

#3

TWoP Mars

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Posted Aug 2, 2010 @ 12:36 AM

astrokng, it's not that interesting, and even if it is, it's boards on boards. If no one else commments in here, no one else comments in here. You are welcome to come back and start up another on-topic conversation after there's something else relevant to talk about, but it cannot be about the boards.

#4

astrokng

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Posted Aug 2, 2010 @ 4:44 PM

As someone whose father was a Creative Director of a medium size advertising agency in Chicago in the 1960's, I find the advertising campaings being developed and discussed a fascinating part of of Mad Men. I don't know who got EK and the carrosel projector, but that campaign by Sterling Cooper was excellent.

The story line with Conrad Hilton and Hilton Hotels was another excellent campaign.

If people don't want to comment about the underlying advertising stories in Mad Men, that's fine. But it's not commenting about the Board, it's commenting about the stories presented in Mad Men. JMO.

#5

Mappy Poo

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Posted Aug 4, 2010 @ 2:01 AM

Fast Company Article (c. 2009)

I know this is a little old, but still interesting to compare some of the on-screen campaigns/ideas with their IRL counterparts.

#6

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Posted Aug 4, 2010 @ 7:33 AM

We're probably going to see more on Pond's at SCDP this season (or maybe even other now-Unilever owned products):

http://money.cnn.com...oney_topstories

#7

astrokng

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Posted Aug 4, 2010 @ 9:39 AM

I love the Fast Company slide show. Funny how Lucky Strike was using "It's Toasted" WAY before Don Draper saved the day with that slogan. Well, it's creative. Still love how SC was tracking many campaigns from the 60's.

#8

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Posted Aug 7, 2010 @ 12:41 PM

To add to astrokng's post above, which of these 60's and early 70's era campaigns would you like to see SDCP take on?

I also appreciate that if you are under 30, you may never have heard of these campaigns, but these were cultural touchstones for BabyBoomers and the generation X after it:

So here goes:

1. The Alka-Seltzer commercials: The "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing" "You Ate it Ralph" series, and of course "Pop Pop, Fizz Fizz, Oh! What a Relief it Is!"

2. The Enjoli (perfume) ad: "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, never let you forget you're a man, cause I'm a WOMAN."

3. Clairol: "Only your hairdresser knows for sure."

4. Palmolive dishwashing liquid, featuring Madge the manicurist: "You're soaking in it now!"

5. And of course the cola wars: 7-Up, Coca-Cola's "I'd like to teach the world to sing" and the Pepsi Generation.

#9

Cinder63

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Posted Aug 8, 2010 @ 6:58 PM

When the series started, I actually thought it was going to be social commentary about the United States, societal change and the consumer culture going into overdrive, told by showing us the psychology, cunning and creativity that fueled real or fictional ad campaigns. Cigarettes that targeted women, the Coke anti-war ad, the way personal hygiene ads prey on insecurities, the burgeoning consumer market for toys like boats, motor bikes, campers, high-end electronics and other "toys" that really were only becoming common in the '60s. Cars with the names of jungle animals and celestial bodies instead of stately monikers like Roadmaster. Stuff like that.

Instead Mad Men is sort of a high-class soap opera set in an advertising office; it could just as well be in an insurance office or glossy magazine editorial bullpen. I'm still quite disappointed by that even while enjoying Don's antics and the aesthetics of the entire production.

#10

Inquisitionist

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Posted Oct 4, 2010 @ 5:32 PM

From the Chinese Wall thread:

Aside from the billings, lucky strike was like 88% of SCDP? Right?

LS was about 75% of SCDP when they formed in Ep. 3-13. IIRC, LS represented about $24 million in annual billings at that time and Pete was able to bring clients that accounted for another $8 million.

Earlier this season, when they were getting Ponds from Freddy Rumsen, the numbers bandied about suggested that LS had grown to about $49 million, with other clients representing a total of $20 to $22 million. So LS was down to around 70% of total, which is still a huge percentage. Last night, I thought someone said they had about $22 million without LS. They've taken on Samsonite, Vick, the tool guys and Mountain Dew (the last two courtesy of Ken), but lost Jai Alai and Ponds and probably others. It seems they have to do an awful lot of scrambling just to maintain ground.

#11

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Posted Oct 4, 2010 @ 8:41 PM

They have Ponds but had to throw back Clearasil.

Wonder how much Corning would bring in if they could get it -- didn't Harry say that Ken's fiance's father was CFO for Corning.

#12

NeonJungle

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Posted Oct 4, 2010 @ 9:57 PM

Last night, I thought someone said they had about $22 million without LS.


Yes; Joan had talked with Layne, and told the partners, "about $22 million, but he'll have to see them all in person to be sure."

I tried to read all the accounts on the chalkboard during that meeting, but the scene went by fast...I think the chalk board had three columns; one for clients that would definitely stay, clients that were questionable, and clients that were out the door.

#13

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Posted Oct 5, 2010 @ 9:17 AM

...I think the chalk board had three columns; one for clients that would definitely stay, clients that were questionable, and clients that were out the door.

The far-left column said Existing and included Glo-Coat, until the fateful phone call led Don to erase it. Others listed included Fillmore Auto Parts, Playtex, Secor Laxatives, Vick, Ponds, Sugarberry Ham, Life Cereal. So I took this to be the accounts they currently had and wanted desperately to hold onto. The other three columns I took to be clients they were courting or hoped to. I believe Belle Jolie was in one of those, so I assume they had not moved when SCDP was formed. Similarly, I think I saw Mohawk Airlines, which SC had cut loose to go after a larger airline. The far right column said something like Long Shots, i.e., the least likely to come on board.

#14

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Posted Oct 5, 2010 @ 10:09 AM

LS was about 75% of SCDP when they formed in Ep. 3-13. IIRC, LS represented about $24 million in annual billings at that time and Pete was able to bring clients that accounted for another $8 million.


So after reading it in a few threads, my understanding is that when Lane or someone says that Lucky Strike is 24 million in billings, that is how much Lucky Strike spends to purchase ad space in various mediums, and the SCDP's revenue is based on a percentage of that 24 million that they take as a fee. Now what I don't understand is why do they talk about their revenue in terms rather than just talking about what their yearly fee to LS is?

#15

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Posted Oct 5, 2010 @ 10:18 AM

Yes, the standard commission seems to be 15% of billings. I don't work in advertising, but I think that's just the convention that has been adopted in that industry, perhaps because the 15% figure is not set in stone. Didn't Don say that American Tobacco expected a reduced commission from BBDO in exchange for consolidating all of their brands there? Perhaps ad agencies adopted the billings approach for talking about the size of accounts because that is more or less public knowledge, while the exact commission they charge could be proprietary info?

Also, I seem to recall Paul Kinsey explaining the business to Peggy in her S1 secretarial days as "buying space," (airtime, ad pages) and the more you buy at once, the better rate you get. That would be determined by billings, I think.

ETA: The creative team at SCDP seems very small. The only people Don called into his office post-bombshell-announcement were Peggy, Stan, Freddy, and Danny -- and does Danny even contribute anything? Peggy was telling Joyce the other week about needing to hire more copy-writers. Seems like that should have happened a while ago.

Edited by Inquisitionist, Oct 5, 2010 @ 1:04 PM.


#16

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Posted Oct 15, 2010 @ 11:10 AM

For all Lane's moaning about cost control and cash flow, I have to conclude that the SCDP partners have not been stinting on themselves. How else could Pete have gone from from $75/week (less than $4,000/yr) and asking his FIL for the downpayment on his condo in 1960 to having $22,000 in the bank in September, 2005?

#17

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Posted Oct 16, 2010 @ 11:34 PM

Yes, the standard commission seems to be 15% of billings. I don't work in advertising, but I think that's just the convention that has been adopted in that industry, perhaps because the 15% figure is not set in stone. Didn't Don say that American Tobacco expected a reduced commission from BBDO in exchange for consolidating all of their brands there? Perhaps ad agencies adopted the billings approach for talking about the size of accounts because that is more or less public knowledge, while the exact commission they charge could be proprietary info?


But unless the commission is standard across the board for every account, saying an account brings in 4 million in billings doesn't tell you anything about how much money the account is bringing in to SCDP. Which makes me wonder why bother using those numbers. They might as well talk about how many commercials a client is buying is that would give them just as much information.

For all Lane's moaning about cost control and cash flow, I have to conclude that the SCDP partners have not been stinting on themselves. How else could Pete have gone from from $75/week (less than $4,000/yr) and asking his FIL for the downpayment on his condo in 1960 to having $22,000 in the bank in September, 2005?


To be fair here, Lane did say in I think the christmas episode that 1964 was a pretty good year for SCDP and he didn't start talking about cost cutting until after they lost Lucky Strike. And I have seen enough episodes of Dragon's Den to know that a money man like Lane, wouldn't say they had a good year unless he took into account the salaries of the executives. Since on Dragon's Den all the time you have people come in to pitch companies they own where they say the companies are doing really well and making a bunch of money, and then someone will ask if they are taking a salary and they say no, and it always comes across like a means of cooking the books to make your company sound like it is worth more than it is.

#18

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 8:39 AM

Resurrecting an old topic because I wanted to talk about company size. First, in the Mohawk presentation Pete mentioned how small they were. It's always kind of bugged me that you couldn't see where everyone was in the company. Now if you count the belly buttons in the room plus the obvious missing (Burt, Caroline, Clara), it looks like about 28. So let's round up to 30.

So, looking at someone's interpretation of The office layout it only accommodates seating for 15 people. So where's the rest. Since they mentioned the second floor gag, I'm wondering if the "rest" of SCDP (especially accounting) is on the other side of the elevators and fills out the rest of the 38th floor. Or maybe just another quarter and it's very cubicle like. They never go there but these people have to be sitting somewhere.

Also, this is the reduced staff. They dumped about 15-20 people post Lucky Strike. I think they had to have chairs too before they were dumped.

Anyone else curious about this? Theories?

#19

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 10:09 AM

Could they have people who are part-time or who subcontract or freelance? Like Joey the Misogynist last season?

#20

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 3:19 PM

I spent a lot of years in advertising. I didn't work during the sixties, but in the late 70s, 80s, 90s, the standard fee structures were 15% commission on media and 17.65% markup on production. ( which works out to 15%, as weird as that sounds). When I worked on Pepsi's field business, we structured a special deal that was fee-based, with the media commissions credited back against the fee. It worked for us and for Pepsi. They didn't have to worry about dummied up media invoices (I caught plenty of those when I worked on the client side, and have fired my share of agencies over it) and we knew exactly how to staff. The tricky part of running an agency profitably is that your inventory goes down the elevator every night. It's crucial for your account people to be able to manage the client so that the agency is not wasting valuable man hours and it's crucial to be able to write clear platform for creative and manage their egos so you don't wind up having them run off half cocked.

There are all kinds of fee arrangements these days. I imagine back in SCDP's time, it was still the standard media commission and production markup.

Edited by rogaine2233, Apr 6, 2012 @ 3:20 PM.


#21

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 3:51 PM

15% commission on media and 17.65% markup on production. (which works out to 15%, as weird as that sounds).

Not weird at all. 17.65/(117.65) = .15 or 15 pct. :-) Thanks for the background info!

I've been wondering about salaries. In S1 (spring 1960) Pete says he's making $75/week. In S2 (spring 1962), Harry is making $200/wk and learns that Ken gets $300/wk. Inflation was low in the early 1960s, so either salaries at SC jumped a great deal for other reasons, or Ken is valued MUCH more highly than Pete.

Then again Peggy earned $35/wk as a secretary in spring 1960, and Megan was getting $75/wk in Oct. 1965, when inflation was nowhere close to doubling prices in that time period.

#22

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Posted Apr 11, 2012 @ 8:44 AM

A post by SueB (with edits) of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's accounts as of Episode 5-3: "Mystery Date" 2012.04.08:

Pete brought:
- North American Aviation
- Secor Laxitives
- Jai Alai
- Samsonite
- Clearasil

Since SCDP has come over Pete acquired:
- Glo Coat
- Life Cereal
- Sugarberry Hams
- Playtex
- Vick's
- Mohawk (Pete, Roger is the Account Manager)

Freddy brought (specified that Roger be the Account Manager):
- Ponds

Ken brought
- Bird's Eye
- Filmore Auto Parts
- Mountain Dew

They lost:
- Jai Alai (upset about not being mentioned in the Ad Age article, stolen by Cutler Gleason Chaough (CGC))
- Clearasil (dropped due to conflict w/ Ponds)
- North American Aviation (Don's secret)
- Lucky Strike (reorganizing)
- Glo-Coat (bailed when Lucky Strike left)
- Ponds (stolen by Y&R)

Since the loss of Lucky Strike, we've heard:
- Topaz Pantyhose (Ken)
- Heinz (Faye gave Don the heads up)
- Butler Shoes (Ken?, not sure*)
- Chevalier Cologne (White Knight) (Ken, not sure*)
- Jaguar (Lane)

* not sure:
- Ken was getting the signatures for Butler Shoes and Chevalier Cologne but again, is he working the accounts under Pete? Did he bring them in or get passed them by Pete?


Updated as of Episode 5-5: "Signal 30" 2012.04.15

Edited by Tafatia, Apr 21, 2012 @ 3:52 AM.


#23

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 4:08 AM

Adding to the previous post the following is a breakdown on the formation and financial make up of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, this is also a carry over of a post by SueB (some edits):

Sterling & Cooper were still partners because they had the "name" and Roger brought Lucky Strike.

Don is still a partner because he's the big draw.

Lane got his name on the door and a partnership for firing Draper, Cooper, and Sterling so they didn't have a problem with their contracts.

Pete's deal was he had to show up with $8M in clients in his "satchel" by the Sunday that they were making their escape so they would have something other than Lucky Strike. The name on the door was listed as a "goal".

SCDP had a line of credit there and Lane unsuccessfully tried to get it extended in season 4, as a result the senior partners (Bert, Roger and Don) had to contribute $100K and the junior partners (Lane and Pete) had to contribute $50K. Don covered Pete's $50K.

#24

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 8:28 AM

Lane unsuccessfully tried to get it extended in season 4

I thought the capital infusion by the partners was a condition of getting the line of credit. Once the partners had coughed up their share, the LoC should be in place.

I have a question about how billing works/worked in this industry. They always talk about a 15% commission, so if Lucky had an annual ad budget of $25 million or so, SCDP's cut of that would be $3.75 million. Early in S4 (maybe after the phone call with Lee Garner Jr. in The Rejected), Roger says LS has figured out that SCDP is billing them for work done for other clients. Does a client like Lucky pick up the cost of the actual ad production, e.g., the actors/sets/director for shooting a TV commercial? What expenses come out of the ad agency's 15 percent? When SCDP lost Lucky, they fired a bunch of people, but would they also have saved money that otherwise would have gone into producing LS ads, or was Lucky picking those up in addition to paying the 15% commission?

#25

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 9:54 AM

Roger says LS has figured out that SCDP is billing them for work done for other clients. Does a client like Lucky pick up the cost of the actual ad production, e.g., the actors/sets/director for shooting a TV commercial? What expenses come out of the ad agency's 15 percent?


Lucky Strike picks up all of the costs related to the production, basically. SCDP likely pays for the small stuff like staples, paper, paperclips etc. But, otherwise, it most of the cost gets put off on the client. However, when a small company is trying to woo clients they will do so by offering to defer a lot of those costs. They can't afford to do that themseleves so they put it on a huge client like Lucky Strike who might not notice a few extra dollars here and there (but eventually accountants do).

I assume it is like a law firm billing. The client gets billed for all of the cost. Legal research, having copies made, man power (not just lawyers). Clients will negotiate this so a lot of the time that isn't really the case. But that is the generic agreement.

Edited by Cherith, Apr 21, 2012 @ 9:58 AM.


#26

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 12:15 PM

Cherith, am I right in guessing that if a client has a $4M advertising budget (for example) that the better the price point they can get the media, the more the exposure the client's product gets? So the in the example of $4M, it covers work plus media. In that case, it's only the accountants who can do the math to show that they're exposure/cost ratio is not aligned with reasonable expectations.

#27

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 12:57 PM

I have a similar question, can accounts be bundled / co-mingled for media buys in hopes of getting a favorable rate. The reason that I bring this up is that a point was made in the episode thread about media buys being a key element of success and I see that point, but from SCDP standpoint can they even compete that way and if not, IMO they have to rely on Creative and Account Management for its success.

#28

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 5:43 PM

I can answer a lot of these questions.

The agency typically takes a 15% commission on media. If Lucky Strike spent $1000 (to make it round), the agency would collect $150. Production and other collareral is marked up 17.65%, which is still 15%. Those two things are supposed to cover the hours put in by creative, account service, etc. when you work in an agency, you are a slave to the time sheet. It's the only way management can tell if the account is profitable.

Media is supposed to deliver the promised GRPs or a refund is in order. The post-buy analysis brought on lots of ulcers.

All other types of agreements have emerged over the years as competition became more cutthroat. We had a fee arrangement with Pepsi for its field business, with commissions rebated against the fee. Biggest advantage here (for me) was time for account service, creative, etc was built in so no need for the time sheet!

Other agencies bill by the hour. Account execs billed at X, creative at Y and so on. This was more typical for a client that did not have a huge media budget.

Sometimes agencies would take project work on spec. If the client bought it, then they'd bill it.

Around the early 1980s, it became common for the client to direct the agency to do an upfront media buy. This meant taking about 80% of your projected budget and shopping it around the stations in order to grind them down on CPMs and CPPs (cost per thousand and cost per point). I doubt any agency was that sophisticated back then. And I'm not in the business anymore, but I also would guess that billing methodologies have changed with the advent of the Internet. I know marketing strategies sure have.

As far as combining media budgets, yes. A smart buyer will use the combined dollars to bargain for lower CPP. But agencies have been known to play fast and lose in this area and I think I've mentioned elsewhere that when I was on the client side, I fired my share of agencies for dummying up the invoices. When an agency refused to give me the original invoices, that was a huge red flag.

All of this billing and budgeting would fall under Lane and Joan, so Pete is talking out his you-know-what when he says that Lane has no use to the agency anymore.

#29

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Posted May 10, 2012 @ 9:20 AM

From the episode thread:

I agree that the bean ballet sounds like a drug trip, but I don't see how it would possibly catch attention--aside from suggesting that perhaps the writers of the ad were high when they came up with it, which couldn't possibly be good for anyone involved. They're beans. There's nothing to see. The product is so thoroughly uninteresting and unappealing that focusing the entire ad on the product when this is the case is a shockingly stupid approach for Peggy and Stan.


MW has revealed the intentions behind the scene, and Peggy and Stan were not being stupid. As for why it would catch the attention, it's because it's an interesting visual image. People can look at something trippy in that way without connecting it to an actual drug trip. The point of the ad was to take something uninteresting, these little shapes, and spin them around so that they no longer just looked like beans, they looked like shapes floating in space. Artistically, this isn't a strange concept. Lots of things look ordinary when you see them the way they usually look but can look more interesting when they're focused on (tying it to drugs again, that's why all the people were staring at things like upholstery when they were high). It would catch the attention because it's an arresting visual image. The person watching the commercial would not at first be sure what they were looking at, then learn it was beans dancing.

Megan's idea is also good, but as others have pointed out, her success was also due to Don backing her up along with the guy's wife. And if we're just talking about being innovative, Peggy and Stan's ad was more cutting edge. Megan's was traditional and comforting. It was the September song the guys listened to in the office. The bean ballet is Tomorrow Never Knows--not comforting to older people, but intriguing to those college students the guy claimed he was interested in.

There was a lot of art and music in the 60s (and elsewhere) influenced by drug experimentation, but they don't rely on being high to enjoy them. (And it's not like either Peggy or Stan have used psychadelic drugs that we know of.) Someone can get high, get an insight or a new pov, and just reproduce the pov. You look at something that seems boring and realize it's beautiful.

#30

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Posted May 10, 2012 @ 10:45 AM

MW has revealed the intentions behind the scene, and Peggy and Stan were not being stupid.


Agreed. Peggy and Stan were definetly trying to get out of their comfort zone with the pitch. They wanted to give the clients something they hadn't seen before, new and innovative, and it went down like a ton of bricks. Given all the mentions to The Beatles in last weeks episodes, you could say Heinz wanted "I want to hold your hand" so to speak, but Stan and Peggy gave them "Tomorow never knows", something they were not quite ready for.Or Don for that matter.

Stan and Peggy shown working together, sharing a joint in last episode's montage to the lyrics "It is shining" from the aformentioned TNK was to me a clear indicator that they represent the future in advertisement.

Edited by Bawoman, May 10, 2012 @ 10:46 AM.