|Portrayed by||Ben Feldman|
|First appearance||Tea Leaves|
|Employer||Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce|
|Parent(s)||Morris Ginsberg - adoptive father|
Michael Ginsberg is a copywriter for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
In summer 1966, Ginsberg's portfolio is noticed by Peggy Olson, who despite discouragement by Stan Rizzo, resolves to interview him for a copywriting position. Ginsberg in his interview strikes her as abrasive and bizarre. Later in his follow-up with Don Draper, however, he has toned down his brusque manner and is welcomed to the agency. He is as of January 1967 the only Jewish copywriter in SCDP.
According to the story he relates to Peggy in the episode "Far Away Places", Michael was born in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. His mother later died there, and he was taken to a Swedish orphanage where his foster father, Morris Ginsberg, adopted him when he was 5 years-old. Ginsberg lives with him in New York City.
Ginsberg quickly establishes himself as a talented and ambitious copywriter, and is seen leading the presentation for Butler Footwear in "Mystery Date". Even though the presentation is successful, he can't stop himself from telling them the rejected idea, which they found "too dark". The client ends up picking the rejected idea, which annoys Don. In "Lady Lazarus", Ginsberg is seen pitching another successful idea to Chevalier Blanc. Roger, who is chasing the Manischewitz account, approaches him for ideas and implies that he will get the account if they ever get the client.
There is a strained relationship and implied rivalry between Ginsberg and his creative director, Don. One night, Don finds a folder on Ginsberg's desk named "Shit I Gotta Do". Ginsberg has composed a series of ads for Sno Ball, playing on the anti-authority attitude of children showing authority figures such as an Indian chief, teacher, and policeman getting "hit by a Sno-Ball". (Michael also had one idea of Adolf Hitler getting hit with a snowball, but that was a throwaway for his personal amusement and clearly inappropriate to pitch as an ad). These inspire don to try to pitch his own idea for Sno Ball. Ginsberg's "snow ball in the face" joke is favoured over Don's "not a Sno Ball's [sic] chance in hell" and Peggy's cartoon idea by the SCDP staff. Don is compelled to bring both ideas to the client and pretends to forget Ginsberg's folder in the taxi. Even though the presentation is successful, Ginsberg is beside himself with anger and storms out of the room. When they confront each other in the elevator, Michael tells Don that he feels bad for him, Don retorts, "I don't think about you at all". But as he walks to his office, he looks troubled.
Later in "The Other Woman", Ginsberg is seen working on the creative team for Jaguar. He comes up with a concept for Jaguar (after his former colleague, Megan, visits her husband at work) and a line, "At last. Something beautiful you can truly own". Don is shown speechless, and the idea ends up winning the Jaguar account. It is expected that after Peggy's departure to Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough, Michael will take over Peggy's accounts and assume the role of copy chief.
Ginsberg become increasingly unstable when the computer is moved into the office. He becomes paranoid and believes that the computer sends out signals that make men engage in homosexual acts. He professes his love to Peggy and gives her a gift box containing his severed nipple. Ginsberg is taken away on a stretcher and he warns his colleagues that the machine will replace them.