Peggy Olson’s Burger Chef Speech–Almost As Moving As the “I Have A Dream” Speech

On the semi series finale of Mad Men, “Waterloo,” Peggy Olson makes her swan song of a sales pitch to Burger Chef–all set against the backdrop of the July 20, 1969 moon landing. Her appeal to the emotions trumps just about every ad campaign idea Don’s ever delivered, barring, of course, the Kodak one. Food puns aside, being “starved for a connection” was apparently as much of a concern in 1969 as it is now.

Peggy gets emotional on the mid-season finale of Mad Men
Peggy gets emotional on the mid-season finale of Mad Men
The dramatic nature of the entire event is compounded by Matthew Weiner’s strategic use of slow motion, a technique that really doesn’t get as much play as it should anymore. As Peggy watches Pete and the Burger Chef executives yuk it up, a serene sense of calm washes over, solidified by Don’s confident glance in her direction.
Peggy and Don: A tortured mentor/mentee relationship
Peggy and Don: A tortured mentor/mentee relationship
Peggy greases the executives’ wheels with the dexterous, careful ability of a mechanic. First, she goes for the heartstrings by saying, “I certainly can’t tell a better story than the one we saw last night. I don’t know if it was the technological achievement or the fact that we were all doing the same thing at the same time. Sitting in this room, we can still feel the pleasure of that connection. We were starved for it. We really were.” Then she goes for the jugular by reminding them of who their business enemy is: “I don’t need to charge you for a research report to tell you that most television sets are not more than six feet away from the dinner table. And that dinner table is your battlefield.”
Peggy to Burger Chef: I have a dream
Peggy to Burger Chef: I have a dream
While many other momentous events occurred throughout the episode, the most uncomfortable being Bert Cooper dancing, it was Peggy’s moving speech and her complete ownership of her talents as an ad man that made it so unique.