Bert Cooper: Mystical Guru or Advertising Genius?

Bert Cooper is known as one of the two names behind Mad Men’s main advertising firm Sterling Cooper, but what is the one thing Bert is notoriously known for? His beliefs of a shoeless office and well-groomed bonsai tree. An avid philosopher, Bert Cooper is known as the calm of the many stormy days in the advertising office. He is one of the most paradoxical characters of Mad Men because he has the highest position in the firm, but most of the time we don’t see Bert doing actual work to benefit the company. Maybe his inner spirits have prompted him to relax and let the others run his business. Or maybe we don’t see many of Bert’s actual efforts because the absence of drama in his personality could make his duties seem boring and unexciting.

Subsequently, there are many cases in today’s society that a spiritual mindset in the work place makes a more successful worker. Since Bert is “running” an entire business, it can be odd to find him acting so calm at the most unnatural times. In the article, the parallel between emotional intelligence and Bert’s persona in the office exemplify his management style. His “self-awareness” is displayed in his confidence like refusing to smoke or drink heavily. Bert rarely talks down upon people, so when he does, there is more of an effect behind his voice. He calls out Roger about his about his excessive smoking in episode seven “Red in the Face,” and how “it’s a sign of weakness.” Weakness is a characteristic that Bert obviously doesn’t have or refuses to reveal.

Bert also possesses very high relationship skills. He values hard workers like Don and this is seen in his spontaneous gesture to give him a generous bonus in episode eight of season one, “The Hobo Code.” We also barely see him yell and pick fights with the people who consistently focus on the “bad.” A good example of this is when Pete Campbell tries to unveil Don’s real identity in episode twelve, “Nixon vs. Kennedy” and Bert practically blows Pete off. He tries to manifest Don as a good man, even though he may not be who he says he is.           

The Bert Cooper aura of socks and Ayn Rand provide a sense of peace in the office. His spiritual ways can prove that being a “chill” manager can be beneficial in a high-paced business. Maybe one modern 1960s hippie is what the “mad men” need in order to prevent each of them from destroying the business with their day-to-day petty ordeals.



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