After years of proudly saying, “I’m am not addicted to any TV shows,” I must humbly admit that I am now hooked on a show. Yes, it’s Mad Men.
Besides the great writing, always-developing characters, and nostalgia for the years I was in diapers, I’ll admit to a warm feeling of schadenfreude watching ad agency execs make asses of themselves. Stupid Super Bowl ads in 2008 can trace their genealogy back to the ill-conceived, liquor-lubricated advertising guess-work of 1960 portrayed on Mad Men.
AMC TV is now running a “You Could Be On Mad Men” contest. The wonderful irony is that a television show about the origins of one-way, brute-force, mass-market advertising is using an up-to-date Web 2.0 forum to engage Mad Men fans in a community of obsession. Viewers have submitted videos of themselves doing one-minute monologues from six of the show’s characters. With tons of creative videos and hundreds of comments on these entries, I suddenly have a window into what other fans are thinking about the show. These demonstrations of admiration from other “customers” beat any ads for the show that the crew at Sterling Cooper could ever come up with.
The entrants didn’t stop at gender boundaries, with men portraying women and vice-versa. This is also ironic, since the show highlights the anachronism of office sexism so vividly. Here’s a creative example of a woman playing the male lead, Don Draper and another of a man playing Don’s wife Betty.