Thursday, March 22

Mad Men Premiere

This is certainly not the first television hit about the advertising industry.  I grew up with Darrin Stevens, and attribute much of my fascination with marketing to him and his 60's office.  And let's not forget about "30 Something," back when I was 30 something.  So it should be no surprise that with the style and plot line of "Mad Men," that we'd have another television hit about marketing/advertising on our hands.

But it is a bit of a surprise, because no one could have predicted that it would become both the cultural and marketing phenomenon that it has.  It started out slowly, just like how the episodes run.  But then when the promotional sponsorships started kicking in, so too did the audience.  Then the awards and accolades put it over the edge.

The new season is about to premiere, after a 17 month hiatus.  Most brands would worry that they'd lose their audience in that amount of time, but not Mad Men.  Their audience is salivating at the chance to view the cast of characters, and their audience is also gobbling up every morsel of pre-hype that it can.

Like the now traditional tie-in with Banana Republic for the clothes and the incredible coverage from Newsweek this week ... featuring a cover story and a whole line up of vintage advertising throughout the publication.  Estee Lauder even did a Mad Men cosmetics collection.  Did you know that fan-demand made the creators re-do the opening music, to keep it more in line with the period?  It's near hysteria ... OK, that's a little over dramatic, but in a world of no-appointment television it's fun to have a new event to look forward to, and to watch live as it unfolds.  No spoilers here.

Which is exactly why I am hosting another pop culture Twitter party to follow the marketing during the Premiere ... at #MadMenExp.  We've been doing it for all the pop culture events so far this year, so why not this one?  It's a blast to follow along and comment on all the marketing, especially when the marketing is just as much a part of the show as the show itself.  Like with #SuperBowlExp or #OscarsExp.

So join us Sunday night, 3/25, at 9:00EST on AMC and tweet along with the show to comment on all the advertising, promotional tie-ins, product placements, and historical brand mentions.  America is obsessed with Mad Men and we are obsessed with marketing.  Or at least I am.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect and The Experience Effect for Small Business
Professor, NYU


  1. Mad Men is a favorite of mine too. One of my designers was fortunate enough to bid on Don Draper's chair from Seasons 1-3 and won it!

    @CasertaDesign is using it to raise money for charity... maybe that's not so Don-like! Don's chair will be at the AdClub in Boston on Sunday for the premiere. Visit @AChair4Charity and @TheAdClub for details.

  2. Great article from the New York Times on Mad Men brand tie ins: