This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.
The Blog

Achieving Student Loyalty -- What Would Don Draper Do?

After I watched the season seven finale of Mad Men, I opened my laptop and stared at our latest yconic research on student loyalty. With the finale still fresh in my mind (SPOILER ALERT: the season ends quite dramatically after a rather strange dance sequence from an unlikely character who has an unfortunate fate) I started to think how might Don Draper pitch Burger Chef to win the loyalty of students today?

For those who don't watch the show, Burger Chef is a fictitious quick-service restaurant account that Don and his agency are trying to win. Below is how I envision Don handling the business meeting -- ensuring his agency builds trust with the new company while guaranteeing Burger Chef meets its marketing objectives.

Don stands up, walks over to the board room liquor cabinet to pour himself a stiff glass of Canadian Club Whiskey, his sixth glass of the day. He takes a sip before enjoying the last taste of his burning cigarette. He confidently exhales and blows his smoke to the side as he puts out the cigarette in the ash tray in front of him. He pauses for a moment to ensure he builds up the anticipation before his first words. Now that he has everyone's attention, he is ready to begin.

"Burger Chef used to be the place for families to gather, share stories, share their day and share a meal. But that is the old Burger Chef, during a time when families weren't so connected to information, on the move and on to the next task. It is clear, Burger Chef needs to find a new customer and a new way of working with this customer. But who is this customer, what do they look like and what do they need?"

"Ladies and gentlemen, that customer is the student, and they need and want your help. Burger Chef is going to be the place that will give a portion of the proceeds from every burger sold and will put it towards a student scholarship fund. Not only will this provide thousands of students the opportunity to help fund their education, but eight out of 10 of those student customers are going to reward you with customer loyalty because you have demonstrated your willingness to help. What is even better, a great majority of those students are going continue to buy burgers long after graduation -- they don't forget those who helped them through the difficult financial times that come with being a student."

"Back in the 60s we would normally recommend an elaborate media and television campaign; however, that is not going to work with this generation, nor will we need such a campaign. You see, our new customer is going to refer us to their friends who will further respond to our products and our commitment to help. They don't want ads and in no way will advertising generate any form of loyalty, which as a lifelong adman, is difficult for me to say. But I felt it was important for me to be honest and genuine with our pitch to win your business and trust. Why? Because winning a student's business and trust requires the same approach."

Don confidently walks back to his office bar and throws the rest of his drink back. As he starts to walk out of the room he looks over to Peggy, his lead creative and says, "we're no longer needed here."

Suggest a correction
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact