Brands And The Advertising Industry: An Ode To Mad Men


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Last week marked one of the most dramatic and anticipated television series finales with the end of the hit series Mad Men.  It’s the end of an era, so we found it fitting to take a look back on the iconic AMC show centered around advertising, how it showcased product placement as a plot line, and how advertising has changed over the years.

The Evolution Of The Advertising Industry

“Don likes strangers. Don likes winning strangers over. He likes seducing strangers, and that is what advertising is.” - creator Matthew Weiner

While we can agree that the advertising industry and other means of brand marketing have evolved quite a bit since the Mad Men era, the show perfectly captured this relationship between brands and people in society. The plot set in an ad agency allows brands to play a natural key role, which acts as a bonus for entertainment marketing strategy today.


Infographic Source: Velocify


The Influence Of The Show

The May 17 series finale garnered 3.3 million total viewers, with 1.4 million coming from the target 18-49 demographic – all highs for the AMC network.

Mad Men garnered a level of cult following with instant episode-review message boards, soundtrack guessing games, outfit critics, and more from what used to be a passive consumer audience. The impact of the series lies in this drive for viewers to be active, connect with one another, and want to replicate the iconic lifestyle designed to mimic the period in which it was set. This became a perfect vehicle for clothing and accessories, liquor, and other lifestyle brands to become synonymous with the characters. People tuned in week after week to see what would happen next with the agency, or the failing relationships, but also to see the scene of the next corporate party for what Don would be drinking, what Joan would be wearing, or what Sally would be listening to.


Spoiler Alert...

While the finale incorporated all the traditional key ingredients of character development (Don, Joan), romance (Peggy and Stan, Roger and Marie), and family tragedy (Betty), the true star of this episode was Coca-Cola. The iconic hilltop commercial marked the culmination of Don Draper's work and was reinforced as a marker of the era. Having this commercial as a lead role shows both the influence of the advertising industry during that period and the timeless influence of a truly strong brand in society.

Continue The Conversation

Check out our website for the Hollywood Branded case study on our Canadian Club integration - Don Draper's drink of choice - with Mad Men over the years.

Before you spend another dollar on traditional advertising, consider the use of product placement/brand integration in your entertainment marketing strategy. Watch our video to learn techniques to conquer common advertising challenges!


Learn solutions to 5 common advertising challenges