Tag Archives: advertising controversy

Did the mad men of Mad Men deliberately provoke New Yorkers?

3 Mar

I was sorry to read that some families of the victims of 9/11 have been hurt by the latest out-of-home ads promoting Season 5 of Mad Men.

Falling man from controversial Mad Men Season 5 ad

As you can see, the ads depict a man in free-fall down the side of a building. This is a familiar image to fans of the show as it is essentially the narrative thread of the show’s opening sequence.

It is also a familiar image to people all over the world who watched men and women jump to their deaths from the burning towers.

9/11 falling man and falling man from Mad Men ad Season 5I do understand that people who had lost loved ones in that massacre would feel jarred by the sight of this on a building in New York. This is unfortunate for everyone involved, advertisers and audience alike.

The buzz out there is that the Mad Men promotions team was somehow looking to capitalize on New York sensitivity and could not have been unaware of the impact of this particular execution.

There are some ads out there that are deliberately designed to needle. This one for Benetton would fall into that category.

Unhate campaign by Benetton with Obama and Chavez kissing

But would the mad men of Mad Men feel it necessary to skewer the deepest sensitivities of New Yorkers on purpose like this? Or was this just an unfortunate miscalculation?

I’ll let you decide.

(Mad Men photos courtesy AMC)


People for the Ethical Treatment of Advertising

17 Feb

The latest advertising campaign for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a classic case of the idea drowning out the message.

In this love-it-or-loathe-it TV spot, a woman in a neck-brace walks gingerly home while a voice over tells us she suffers from a case of BWVAKTBOOM – Boyfriend Went Vegan And Knocked The Bottom Out Of Me. Watch the video and then let’s talk…


If you’re in the mood for more advertising hijinks, there is an associated website with tips on how to manage all this new-found virilty.

Meanwhile, the Internet is rife with opinions, supporters and haters.

Does anyone believe that becoming a vegan turns you into a coke-fuelled porn star in the sack? Of course not, but sexual guffaws is a strategic direction PETA has been steering down of late.

The critics are pounding PETA for a perceived cavalier attitude towards the physical abuse of women, and the proponents want everyone to just freakin’ lighten up.

They both miss the point here. The problem is that the campaign won’t have any impact on peoples’ attitudes towards animals.

It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.