When it comes to advertising, it is best to follow one golden rule. Ask yourself, “What would Don Draper do?” Well, (and we’re talking to you, AMC) Don Draper would certainly not inadvertently reference the most horrific terrorist attack in recent history in an attempt to market the upcoming fifth season of the wildly popular series Mad Men.
For several weeks now, white billboards have been hung over highways, stuck onto skyscrapers, and placed in clear sight of pedestrians. These billboards have nothing on them but the black silhouette of a falling man, the fictional protagonist Don Draper, and the words “March 25th.” To those who are familiar with Mad Men, the falling silhouette is an icon of the intro theme, a metaphor for the lack of control Don Draper has over his own life. But for the unknowing bystander, the image can be read as a tasteless reference to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the iconic photograph of the “Falling Man.” Check out a comparison below:
AMC defended its advertising snafu by commenting that “The image of Don Draper tumbling through space has been used since the show began in 2007 to represent a man whose life is in turmoil. The image used in the campaign is intended to serve as a metaphor for what is happening in Don Draper’s fictional life and in no way references actual events.”
Still, it’s just not the best image to hang on a New York skyscraper.
The final image in the intro theme, the silhouette of the back of Don Draper’s head and shoulders as he lounges on a couch with cigarette in hand, would have served the marketing campaign far better. Not only is this image more identifiable, it also wouldn’t piss anybody off. Sterling Cooper shakes it head at you, AMC.
Anyway, the four-time Golden Globe and fifteen-time Emmy winning series, Mad Men, about sex, alcohol, hot office temps and an advertising agency is coming back for a fifth season starting on Sunday, March 25th. We highly suggest you tune in—between Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks, there’s someone for everyone to salivate over.