As an advertising professional, I can’t help but fall in love with the AMC original show Mad Men. It is fascinating to see what not only the advertising industry, but business (and the world) in general was like in the 1960’s. So much has changed. Yet at the same time, the show is filled with advertising-related charm that makes you realize, the core of the advertising industry hasn’t changed at all. Creatives fighting with account people, account people fighting with clients, agencies struggling to throw together a top-notch pitch for a piece of new business.
It’s somewhat reassuring to know that these problems existed back in the heydays of advertising. I think that’s what makes the show so special for those who work in the industry.
However, the show isn’t exclusive by any means. Anyone could be captivated by the story-telling of the life of Creative Director Don Draper, or drawn in by the drama at fictional Manhattan ad agency Sterling Cooper. The non-stop drinking, smoking and sexism alone is enough to catch the casual viewer’s attention, at least for a moment. The Golden-Globe and Emmy Award-winning show is a huge success, inside and outside of the advertising community.
In order to promote the show’s new season, AMC has taken a viral approach. The Mad Men Yourself web application at the Mad Men web site lets fans ‘Mad Men’ themselves by creating a 1960’s cartoon character and spreading it through social networks. Allowing fans to easily share their character on Facebook in order for it to spread virally is the most important part of this strategy.
For an example, here is the Mad Men version of me (the one in the middle):
The idea of generating your own character based on a hit-TV show isn’t groundbreaking. The Simpsonize Me application comes to mind as another viral promotion used for The Simpsons Movie in 2007. However, it does seem to be spreading the word. I’ve already come across countless friends on Facebook and Twitter who’ve Mad Men’ed themselves. And as each person shares their character, the more it grows.
So go ahead and try it, Mad Men yourself!