If you just got around to watching the Mad Men
finale and need a minute to compose yourself, I understand. Like many of you, I was a diehard fan in the beginning (before I knew I wanted to work at a marketing agency), trailed off around Season 5 and 6 and came back for the final season. Mad Men
was my first look into the advertising world and I was hooked from the start.
Although Mad Men
was set in a time well before the Internet (let alone smartphones and drones), I’m fascinated by how brands integrated the show into their real-time social media marketing. As one of the hottest shows on TV in the past decade, brands that are mentioned get free publicity and some have capitalized on it with great social posts. Let’s break it down and see who did it right and who failed at integrating Mad Men into their social media.
The real-life, 113-year-old advertising agency
plays the antagonist role as the agency who buys out Sterling Cooper in the show. As millions of fans saw McCann as the bad guy, the real-life agency took advantage of the publicity and interacted through Twitter and Facebook during the season. Whether it was creating Mad Men
employee IDs or a snide tweet, I give McCann an A+ on their real-time engagement for sticking with the personas portrayed on the show.
Pabst Blue Ribbon
wouldn’t be the same without all of the booze. Even if Don prefers an old fashioned, you can catch him sipping a beer once in a while. Pabst did a wonderful tribute to Mad Men
during the season finale that really pulled at the heart strings. Although they weren’t a client of Sterling Cooper, they did a great job of harnessing their small 10 seconds of fame with Draper himself.
Never mentioned in the show, Kahlua plays an important role in Roger Sterling’s favorite drink. For those that wanted to watch the finale in style, Kahlua shared the perfect White Russian recipe on Twitter. While it was a great tweet, I wanted more from Kahlua. More content, much more of a creative approach and use of the trending #MadMenFinale to get themselves a bit more reach.
Heinz Ketchup and Hershey
Remember in school where you would just get points for putting your name on a test? Heinz Ketchup and Hershey (along with other clients on the show) didn’t even do that. When Don pitched to Hershey and revealed his sad childhood, I remember that Twitter blew up that night and the next day. Hershey received over 702 million media impressions
from that episode alone but yet the brand did nothing through social media to capitalize on the exposure.
Heinz Ketchup didn’t say a peep either. Going back to over a year ago when the brand was first mentioned on Mad Men
, Heinz hasn’t done any Mad Men
-related social posts. Lesson learned: If Don Draper tries to help you, you take it. Sorry boys, you failed.
It’s been stated by many brands that they didn’t know they were going to be featured on the show, or knew with little notice. But that’s the blessing of real-time marketing: you don’t need a week or month’s notice to create great social media content. Even if a brand was featured in the first season, a thank you to the Sterling Cooper gang during the finale would have benefited them some just by joining the trending topic on Twitter.
I’m not saying goodbye to Don, Peggy, Joan, Stan or the rest of the cast just yet. I’ll be binge-watching every season, but also learning from real-life advertising greats through documentaries, books and anything else I can dig up. The history of advertising thrills me just as much as the future, and I love being a part of it. So thanks, Mad Men, for not only introducing me to the world of marketing, but helping me find my passion.