If McCann hoped its star turn on the final season of "Mad Men" as Sterling Cooper & Partners' majority owner would offer some fun moments of nostalgia and publicity, the show's writers haven't made it easy.
Portrayed during the midseason return as a bureaucracy staffed by dumb sexists, the kind of place where Joan leaves a meeting wanting to "burn this place down," the McCann of "Mad Men" has now hardened into an assertive villain. When a junior McCann exec insults Joan's client in the May 3 episode "Lost Horizon," a senior executive offers to help -- via a road trip for two that Joan doesn't want. "Hey, I'm easy," he says. "I'm not expecting anything more than a good time."
She's eventually bought out for far less than her stake is worth.
Harris Diamond, chairman-CEO of the real-life modern-day McCann, said the agency was caught a bit off guard by what has happened in the final season. "It was both fun and a little bit surprising," he said.
Neither AMC nor "Mad Men" writers asked McCann for input, according to the agency. "In fairness, I don't think they were looking for permission," Mr. Diamond said.
But the agency is taking it all in stride. Given how the previous half-season left off, McCann made ID cards for Don, Peggy, Roger, Joan and Pete ahead of the show's return, along with a welcome sign in the agency's common area. But without advance knowledge of the final arc, the agency's response since then has come in real time.