Golden Meanie

Mad Men 23 Jul 2007

I just checked out the first episode of AMC’s Mad Men. I was reeled in by the ad with the great soundtrack. I’m not sure if it will become a regular for me, but I’ll stick around for a few episodes to see where it goes. I did really like the portrayal of creative paralysis. The protagonist, Draper, is sitting in a meeting still not knowing what he’s going to say when the boss segues to him. Gut wrenching.

The show opens with a title-card explaining that “Mad Men” is a term coined by Madison Avenue ad men, to describe themselves. It stuck out to me as a bit odd at first, but it turns out to presage the interesting thing they’ve done with the ad breaks for the show. Each spot is preceded by a title-screen in the Mad Men visual style. So as you are fast-forwarding though the break you see little blips of “real” content. In this case they are about the company featured in the campaign you are about to see a part of. Clever. I almost stopped to watch them.

I’ve been wondering when and how advertising would really start to deal with the presence of DVR rather than just pretend they don’t exist or try to break them. It seems like we’re headed back towards product placement a la “boy this Ovaltine™ sure is good!” Tailoring branded intros for the ads is an interesting take on it that seems appropriate for a show about the people who make them.