‘Mad Men’ and Five Other Moments of the Jaguar as Pop Culture Icon

Chances are, your friends who watch Mad Men still haven’t stopped talking about how amazing / intense / dramatic / Drapetacular (a new adjective created by Mad Men fans solely for the purpose of describing this episode) this past week’s episode was. But one fan of the episode is pretty surprising: David Pryor, the Vice President of brand development at Jaguar USA.

The episode, “The Other Woman,” centered on the team at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce trying to land an advertising account with Jaguar. One particularly sleazy Jaguar exec tells Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove that he will vote for SCDP to take the account if he can have an evening with office manager Joan Holloway Harris.

Pryor told Advertising Age that he’s “a big fan of the show and it was gratifying to see our brand portrayed,” adding that his team would have probably taken Don Draper’s route of focusing on the best campaign and not trying for anything above board, but he’s confident that people know the situation was embellished and the lecherous exec was a fictional character.

The Mad Men exec and the slogan decided (“At last, something beautiful you can truly own”) may be fictional, but Jaguar’s position as a cultural icon within works of fiction is very real. Here are a few examples of how the luxury car has appeared in popular culture.

The Italian Job
The original heist film, from 1969, was all about cool cars and sweet action, including an appearance from Jaguar. Shenanigans and explosions abounded.

“Jaguar” by The Who
This driving garage-rocker even salutes the “grace, space, pace” slogan the car company used in the ‘60s. Appropriately from their album entitled The Who Sell Out.

Harold and Maude
The ill-fated drive in the last few minutes, the freeze frame, the roar of the engine juxtaposed with the strains of Cat Stevens’s “Trouble.”

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Jaguar was the symbol of “grace, space and pace” in the 1960s, so it only makes sense in a movie that takes a cartoonish, kitschy look at the 1960s for the Jag (a ’61 E-Type, to be precise) to get a similar makeover. Mike Myers’ dentally impaired British spy drives one with a massive Union Jack painted across it and the license plate “SHAGUAR.”

Aimée and Jaguar
This one actually has nothing to with cars, but it is a compelling film depicting a love story not often told through the lens of WW2-era Berlin. The “Jaguar” here refers to the code name of German Jewish Resistance fighter Felice Schragenheim (Maria Schrader) in her love letters to Lilly Wust (Julianne Köhler), the wife of a Nazi officer, “Aimée.” You should watch it. 

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